Week 2: Oregon

When: September 8th, 3:30PM
Where: Ann Arbor, MI

Overview: After a not-so-worthy opponent in week 1, its time to start the march to New Orleans. Oregon will provide the wolverines with a very potent offense. They have a pretty balanced attack...one which was the #14 overall rushing offense last season. But thanks to graduation, players leaving, and a brand new offensive coordinator, things will be a little different this season.

For those Michigan fans who are still a little bitter about the 4-point loss in Eugene in 2003, this Oregon team is a far cry from this squad. Michigan is far more balanced, faster on defense, and lets not diminish home-field advantage. The big house is twice the size of Autzen Stadium. But the Ducks play in a tough conference, so don't expect too much shock on their part.

I'd break down the offensive output vs. different uniform color combinations that Oregon uses, but frankly, without knowing what combo they're going to use this year, there's no point. in 2005, they sported 9 different color combinations. But lets just say for the record that I actually like (some of) their uniforms. The classic white on white is a good look. But lets just hope they don't show up on the field with the awful yellow on yellow. I just don't think I can handle that.

What to watch for: Oregon actually has a surprisingly effective pass defense. Thanks to their speed, but what they have in speed, they lack in size and strength. Its like playing USC's 2nd string. Yes, I know, USC is great...blah blah blah. So look for Michigan to play its typical slowdown offense. Hart will get a ton of carries, but he'll also get his fair share of screen passes in the flats. Look for short routes by the receivers. It may be tough for Manningham to break one open down the sideline or across the middle. But Oregon is young, and playing on the road...so mistakes are sure to happen. The key for Michigan is to make them pay for those mistakes as often as possible.

Special teams will play a big factor in this game. This will be both teams' 2nd game, so the kinks should surely be gone by now. So look for play makers to step up here. I really like Arrington (hopefully he'll be around) or SaVoy to be bring punts back...I love the idea of #86 back there, but fear of injury could keep that from happening. It is imperative that we keep him healthy as a deep threat this season.

All in all, it will be a good game. Actually it could come down to being on of the best early-season non-conference games in all of college football this season. But...lets hope not.

Prediction: Michigan 37-21

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