Did The University Of Michigan Win Their Football Game Yesterday College Football Week #10: Where Is Frank Solich?

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College Football Week #10: Where Is Frank Solich?

Have you ever wondered what happened to Frank Solich?

You remember that guy: he was the head coach at the University of Nebraska for six seasons. He was the loyal lieutenant who took over Tom Osborne’s Cornhuskers, proof positive that he’s never good at being the guy to replace The Guy. After compiling a 64-19 record as Nebraska’s leader, Solich was cruelly and controversially fired in favor of Beau Bridges. (Okay, no, it wasn’t Beau Bridges; it was Bill Callahan, who looks just like Bridges.)

Solich took a sabbatical and then, in 2005, took over the moribund football program at Ohio University (which, if I digress, is pretty far in prestige, if not geography, from Ohio State University). Ohio). Jim Grobe turned Ohio into a good, not great, MAC team after taking over an 0-11 program in 1995, but Grobe jumped to Wake Forest after the 2000 season (and let’s face it, he didn’t exactly have the best record in Ohio: 33-33-1). Between Grobe and Solich came four years of Brian Knorr, who undid almost everything Grobe did, going 11-35. Solich took over last year and went 4-7.

Things have been better in 2006. Ohio is 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the always exciting MAC, currently tied with Kent St. in the MAC East (and they own the tiebreaker, having defeated to the Golden Flashes on the last visit). week). It’s not a great team by MAC standards, but it has won a conference-high four straight, including an upset win at the University of Illinois just three weeks ago. The best thing for the Bobcats has been their defense: They currently rank 15th in the nation in terms of passing yards allowed per game, and they have intercepted seven passes to eight touchdowns allowed. Ohio has traveled to Rutgers, Missouri and Illinois (plus a silly game against I-AA Tennessee-Martin); if you only count the team’s five conference games, they have allowed just over 15 points and 278 total yards per game. In the typically high-flying MAC, that’s pretty good. The Bobcats have eight starters returning on offense, and they seem to be working there, too, especially on the ground: During this four-game winning streak, Ohio is averaging 26.5 points scored and 210 rushing yards per game. At the same time, they have the 108th best passing offense in Division 1 football; this really is a mini-Nebraska around Three Yards And A Cloud Of Dust.

On the road against eastern Michigan this week, I think it will work. The Eagles rank 106th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (181), also allowing 4.9 yards per carry. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a blinking red light. East Michigan allowed 178 rushing yards to West Michigan last weekend, 175 to Toledo before that, 159 to Bowling Green before that, 179 to Louisiana-Lafayette before that, 176 to Central Michigan… oh Heck, you get the point. This huge run defense number is not an outlier: The Eagles are challenged on the defensive side of the ball. Also, on offense, Jeff Genyk’s team has scored a MAC-worst 16 points per conference game. Three different quarterbacks have started for Genyk: Andy Schmitt, Tyler Jones and Dontayo Gage, but the team’s sacks and interceptions outpace its touchdown passes. Overall, Eastern Michigan is 1-7 and 1-4 in MAC games.

Ohio has probably been better at home than on the road, though its only conference loss came in Athens. Eastern Michigan has only hosted two games so far this year, and will play three of the next four in Ypsilanti. This line opened in Ohio at 4.5, but quickly increased to 6.5. But the trends are looking good for the Bobcats, too. They are 4-0 against the spread during this modest winning streak and 4-1 ATS in their conference games this year. Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, is 1-4 ATS against winning teams and 2-5 ATS as a home underdog. Most of all, I like Solich’s running game, with the pace of Kalvin McRae and his 11 touchdowns, to dominate the clock and score against run-defense-challenged Eastern Michigan. The march to the MAC title game continues this weekend, and I’ll take Ohio (-6.5) over eastern Michigan.

Last week: Ohio State didn’t even bother to make it interesting against Minnesota, shutting out the hapless Gophers, 44-0. Taking the Buckeyes and giving up the 27 points was the right thing to do, and so I’m very glad I recommended you do it. That coverage puts us at 6-3 against the spread so far this year.

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