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College Football 2013: Week 11 Recap
Sunday, 2013 November 10 - 12:23 pm
It's looking like a lost season for both Michigan and N.C. State at this point. Michigan loses to Nebraska; N.C. State loses to Duke.

Michigan 13, Nebraska 17
In the fourth quarter, the game is tied 10-10. Michigan, after a sack on third down, punts the ball; Nebraska returner Jordan Westerkamp fumbles and the ball is recovered by Michigan. Michigan's next three plays: rush for 1 yard, rush for -2 yards, scramble for four yards. Michigan kicks a field goal to go up 13-10.

On the ensuing drive Nebraska scores the game-winning touchdown.

That series is emblematic of Michigan's season: an inept offense failing to take advantage of opportunities provided by the defense and special teams. We are very realistically staring at a 7-5 or 6-6 season; Northwestern still might be winnable (maybe), but Iowa's defense will strangle us, and Ohio State will obliterate us on both sides of the ball. This season is lost.

Michigan ended with negative 21 yards rushing on the day. Excluding sacks it was still just 22 yards on 29 carries... an abominable 0.75 YPC.

Even the most die-hard Lloyd-ball fans and RichRod haters must surely be yearning for the days when Michigan had a top-10 offense. To put things in some perspective, Michigan's running game this year is averaging 135 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry. Under Rich Rodriguez in 2010, it was 238 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. Even at what we might consider the nadir of Michigan football, in our 3-9 season in 2008 we had 147 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry. The running game is in steady decline.

Some might blame Rodriguez' poor offensive line recruiting in 2008, but "the previous guy left the cupboard bare" didn't seem to be enough of a reason to save Rodriguez' job after three seasons. And oh yeah, Michigan went 11-2 with Rodriguez' recruits in 2010.

I'm not saying Brady Hoke should be fired. But I think Al Borges has proved that he isn't as smart as he thinks he is, and that he can't put together a coherent offensive scheme. He's been soundly out-coached the last two weeks; even casual observers are starting to notice that formations are tipping the play calling. Do we even have more than ten plays in the offensive playbook?

Offensive line coach Darrell Funk also probably needs to go.

In the depths of Rodriguez' 3-9 season I always still wanted to see Michigan play to see what new offensive wrinkle they'd pull out, knowing that someday, all the pieces would be put together and Michigan would turn into a juggernaut. I don't have that same hope with Borges. These days it's like it was under Lloyd Carr and Mike Debord, where every game I'd pray that we'd try something different.

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, for his part, is doing a heroic job.

Heroes: Michigan defense, Devin Funchess, Jeremy Gallon (as usual).
Goats: Al Borges, interior offensive line, Al Borges again (as usual).

Next game: at Northwestern.

N.C. State 20, Duke 38
N.C. State led 20-17 in this game with 6:37 to go. Then Duke scored on a 79-play touchdown drive with 3:31 remaining. On the next play from scrimmage, Brandon Mitchell is intercepted for a touchdown. On the next play from scrimmage, Pete Thomas is intercepted for a touchdown. State turned a lead into an 18-point deficit in the course of 30 seconds.

State is now 0-6 in the ACC. This season is an unmitigated disaster. The remaining three games are winnable, but the likelihood that State will not implode in at least one of them seems small. 5-7 with no postseason seems like the probable outcome.

I dunno, man. State's been wracked with injuries this year, and it is just the first year of a coaching transition, and the quarterbacks are young. I'm inclined to give coach Dave Doeren the benefit of the doubt here. I think the play-calling is adequate; the key will be how good his recruiting is over the next couple of years.

Next game: at Boston College.

Other Notable Games
#3 Oregon lost to #5 Stanford 26-20. Oregon was completely shut down for most of the game but made the score respectable as they scrambled madly in the fourth quarter; they recovered an on-side kick at one point, keeping their hopes alive. But Stanford's defense proved to be formidable, and their power running attack would be enough to make Brady Hoke salivate with envy.

#6 Baylor demolished #10 41-12 after a slow start in the first quarter. Consider me impressed with Baylor; I'm moving them up in my rankings.

#1 Alabama handily defeated #13 LSU 38-17. I'm a bit surprised that the game wasn't closer.

#2 Florida State coasted past Wake Forest 59-3.

#9 Auburn crushed Tennessee 55-23.

Virginia Tech easily defeated #11 Miami 42-24. I hope we've thoroughly dispelled the myth of Miami's excellence this year.

#15 Texas A&M outscored Mississippi State 51-41. It's a good thing Texas A&M has Johnny Manziel, because they certainly don't have a defense.

#19 UCLA beat Arizona 31-26.

#23 Notre Dame was upset by Pitt 28-21. At least Notre Dame isn't good this year either.

#24 Wisconsin got by a good BYU team 27-17. Wisconsin is grotesquely underrated this year; if not for the fluke loss to Arizona State, I think they'd be looking at a potential at-large BCS bowl.

#25 Texas Tech was upset by Kansas State 49-26.

Minnesota beat Penn State 24-10. How on earth did Michigan beat Minnesota so badly?

Vanderbilt crushed Florida 34-17. Vanderbilt is a surprising team this year. Meanwhile Florida has been battered by injuries and is looking shell-shocked. With games remaining against South Carolina and Florida State, a 5-7 season seems likely.

Ken's Top 10
1. Florida State 9-0
2. Alabama 9-0
3. Baylor 8-0
4. Ohio State 9-0
5. Stanford 8-1
6. Auburn 9-1
7. Oregon 8-1
8. Missouri 9-1
9. Clemson 8-1
10. Texas A&M 8-2
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