Oregon State Preview

Saturday, September 12, 2015  •  Michigan Stadium (107,601)    Ann Arbor, MI

Time TV Announcers Weather Line Series Last Meeting
12:00 ET
Sean McDonough
Chris Spielman
Todd McShay
Partly Cloudy
Winds N 10-20 MPH 
UM -15.5 
UM Leads
UM 31 OSU 12

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Up Next: Oregon State
B1G Power Rankings: Week 1
Opponent Watch: Week 1

Reasons to be Concerned
If there's one thing from the Oregon State side worth being most concerned about, it's OSU QB Seth Collins. He put up pedestrian numbers through the air against lowly Weber State last week, but his real contribution to the offense came on the ground with 152 yards rushing, where he's the most dangerous. He has a certain spark that seemed to help ignite the offense...such as it was. Collins won the starting job with his performance last week.

Under former coach Mike Riley, the Beavers were a pro-style offense. But now under Andersen, Oregon State has transitioned, rather quickly, to a classic run-first spread. This should play very nicely into Michigan's hands given their success at stopping the run, but OSU will want to spread Michigan out as much as possible...something that proved successful for Utah a week ago. Expect a lot of zone reads with Collins keeping the ball more than he hands it off.

When he does hand it off, it will most likely be to RB Storm Woods...probably one of the best names Michigan will face all year. Woods ran for 63 yards on 15 carries a week ago. Again, not big numbers, especially against a bad FCS opponent.

Oregon State's win over Weber State wasn't exactly a good barometer for how good or bad this Beaver squad can be. In a way, that makes them a little bit of an unknown...which if history is any gauge, could spell trouble for Michigan. How many times have relatively young and untested QB's come into the Big House only to leave with a signature win under their belt? In year's passed, it's happened all too often. There's a x-factor at play that even I can't explain. Average offenses have had banner games at Michigan for reasons passing understanding. If anyone is feeling overly-confident about tomorrow, look no further than Akron or Nebraska in 2013...or Minnesota or Maryland in 2014.

Reasons to be Confident
Well, first of all, the game isn't west of the Rocky Mountains in primetime on a Thursday night. Thanks Dave Brandon. Super fun!

Actually, if we're being completely honest...I liked opening in Utah, I just didn't like the timeslot. I thought it was a good test for this team. I'd much rather play a honest-to-goodness non-conf opponent than some MAC or FCS cakewalk.

Either way, this one feels much more familiar. Noon tilt...State and Main. Let's go.

Oregon State has 9 new starters on defense this year. If that doesn't give Michigan's offense at least some sense of comfort, I don't know what will. Word is RB Drake Johnson might be back on the field this weekend. That would be a welcome feature for Michigan's running game.

Also playing into Michigan's favor is Oregon State freshman starting QB Seth Collins is making his 1st ever start for this Beavers this weekend. Collins split time last week with fellow freshman QB Marcus McMaryion.

Typically, college football team's see their biggest improvement from week 1 to week 2. Nowhere would that be more welcome for the Wolverines than along the offensive line. Pass protection was stellar last weekend, but run blocking suffered significantly. I expect big improvement from guys like Kyle Kalis and Ben Braden. I truly hope the Utah game was not an indicator of future performance. I don't think it will be.

Give Rudock a solid running game and this Michigan offense could really begin to take that next step.

Really, Michigan should roll in this game. Right now UM is a 15.5 point favorite...one of the larger point spreads I've seen in Michigan's favor in a long time...especially against a P5 opponent. For much of their game against FCS Weber State last week, a team which finished 2-10 in the Big Sky Conference last year, Oregon State was barely ahead...6-0 about halfway through the 3rd quarter. Maybe some of that could be first game cobwebs, or something deeper.

Oregon State, like Michigan, is adjusting to a new coaching staff. But unlike Michigan, Oregon State is transitioning from one type of offense to a whole different one. Either way, as far as P5 non-conference opponents go, this one is squarely in the "should win" column.

If Michigan loses...

If Michigan wins...
Well, it depends. If Michigan covers the spread and this thing is over before the 4th quarter, then it's all good. That means a lot of things went right for Michigan and wrong for Oregon State.

But if Michigan squeaks out one of those marginal victories that actually feels kind of like a loss because Michigan turned the ball over 3 times but Oregon State missed 2 field goals so Michigan won by 3 but it was in doubt until the very end because Rudock was running for his life mainly due to the running game being non-existent, yet again, because the offensive line looks like a really really accurate remake of Lord of Flies but it still wasn't enough because Oregon State defense is comprised mainly of Beliebers with names like Tyler and Carson and Liam and Mason...

...then that might diminish things a bit.

5 Predictions
• Inexplicable Harbaugh Achievability Factor (IHAF)
• Michigan ends the game on the positive side of the turnover ratio.
• Michigan gets over 100 yards rushing from somebody.
• Butt Touchdown.
• Michigan 27 Oregon State 10

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