I really don’t know what to make of this investigation into stealing signs from the University of Michigan.
Let me state here that I have never been a Wolverines fan; in fact for most of my life I was very a “hater” — I root for Michigan State instead.
I’ve softened that stance over the years, especially since switching allegiances – at least in football – to the North West nearly 30 years ago.
Right now, there’s a dark cloud hanging over all three programs, at least in football.
But I feel kind of neutral about the approach to this whole issue.
Just from my reading of what you also have the chance to read, it was an eye opener for me just two days ago when an anonymous official, purportedly from a rival Big 10 school, said that he — or I guess he could yes she—had evidence of making lists from other schools.
These were lists of the same type that the Wolverines are accused of putting together.
This didn’t really surprise me, given that the rules for all this intelligence come from an antiquated time, the 1990s, a time I of course remember quite well, and I’m guessing many of you reading this do too. you remember
But when it comes to technology, and certainly information gathering, that was light years ago. Well, sort of, since a light year is actually a measure of distance, not time.
But without beating the crap out of you, now anyone can take their smart phone and sit in even a nosebleed seat at Michigan Stadium and shoot video of what teams are lighting up on the sidelines next to their players on the field.
Back in the 1990s, you had to find an entire camera crew and videotape to record it all. And who knows how good the quality would be.
I feel like a lot of big – and not so big – programs in college football are doing exactly what they accuse Michigan of doing, feeling that if they don’t do it, pretty much everyone else will.
It just seems like the Wolverines got on it, or maybe more accurately, someone with an ax to grind wanted to beat them up.
He still doesn’t get it right, but I’ll be interested to see how widespread this practice is and if U of M has taken it to another level or if the Wolverines are just typical of at least what big programs do in their scouting.
Okay, since this only very peripherally has anything to do with the NFL, let’s take a look at this week’s games:
Today, 8:15 p.m
Carolina at Chicago – God, what an absolutely terrible game to start the week. But that’s why it can become one of the funniest. I see Bears quarterback Justin Fields could be back, depending on how sore his throwing thumb is. But considering Chicago was more competitive last week without Fields than Carolina was, plus it was at home, I’ll take the Bears, 20-16.
Sunday, 9:30 p.m
INDIANAPOLIS IN NEW ENGLAND — Now this is looking more like the typical kind of game played outside of the good old USA. One is a struggling team without their young QB and the other is the Patriots. Indy took care of the aforementioned Carolina Panthers last week, while New England just keeps scrambling around trying to find a way to win. Keep fighting, Bill Belichick. Colts, 17-11.
Sunday, 1 p.m
Cleveland at Baltimore — This looks like a trap game after the way Baltimore handled the Lions and Seahawks the past three weeks. But credit to NFC teams not knowing how to handle Ravens QB Lamar Jackson running like the wind. The Browns, with a Super Bowl-caliber defense, are a division opponent that sees Jackson twice a year every year. The difference should come down to Baltimore’s stout defense handling Cleveland’s lackluster offensive attack. Ravens, 27-19.
Houston at Cincinnati — While QB Joe Burrow is pretty healthy, I don’t see the absence of Cincy’s star receiver Ja’Mar Chase being that consequential for a week or two. Bengals, 31-27.
San Francisco at Jacksonville — Intriguing matchup — The 49ers are hurting after losing their last three after starting the season 5-0. Both teams split, but San Fran is supposed to be getting stronger, including with its passing game, bad news for the Jaguars’ questionable offensive line. 49ers, 24-16.
New Orleans at MN — Brand new QB Joshua Dobbs did a miracle for the Vikings last week by joining the team, I think it was Tuesday, without taking any reps in practice because he wasn’t supposed to play right away, then he was forced to entered the game Sunday, even as he introduced himself to his hitter while in the huddle. And then he went 20 of 30 for 158 yards in a comeback win! I will get a leaflet that at home he can do it at least about this week. Vikings, 29-23.
Green Bay at Pittsburgh — Good news Packers fans, I didn’t pick your team last week either and look what they did. I have to go with the buttoned-up Pittsburghers who care about all the unsettled things that Jordan Love & Co. they seem to leave it on the field every week. Steelers, 28-22.
Tennessee at Tampa Bay — Seems like another silly game like Panthers-Bears until you remember that both teams battled before losing by four points (Tennessee) and two points (Tampa Bay) last week. It feels like the Bucs have more quality tight ends on their team, while the Titans primarily have Derek Henry. Probably not quite true, but since Tampa is at home, Buccaneers, 20-15.
Sunday, 4 p.m
Atlanta vs. Arizona — Although Atlanta lost this game to Minnesota’s emergency backup QB, the Falcons did force 21 QB hurries and had five sacks on the Vikings’ various signal-callers. And what does Arizona have? Oh yes, lots of sand right outside the front door. Falcons, 24-17.
Detroit at Los Angeles Chargers — Many see this as a trap game for the Lions or, failing that, the start of a Chargers revival. Why would that be? I don’t know, this Los Angeles team has a terrible pass defense (3rd worst in yards) and that doesn’t begin to account for all the bad coaching decisions this team makes, especially late in games. As long as they play a smart game, I like the Lions, 33-27.
New York Giants at Dallas — Remember what happened the first time these teams met? The Cowboys won 40-0 in Week 1 on a Sunday night that felt like 80-0. And that was when the Giants had some semblance of a professional QB under center. Now they are looking at Matt Barkley or Tommy DeVito who I am told are NOT the sons of Charles Barkley and Danny DeVito. Eh! Cowboys, 33-4.
Washington at Seattle — The Chiefs won last week while Seattle was blown out in Baltimore. If these were robots, it would be easy to take over Washington. Since it’s not BattleBots, I’m taking the Seahawks, 24-19.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m
New York Jets at Las Vegas — The Jets really need a bye week (even though they’ve already had one), and if these were the Josh McDaniels Raiders, they might treat this game as a bye. But now that Antonio Pierce is the main man, Las Vegas can make some noise. And that’s the perfect team for them to face. Raiders, 33-17.
Monday, 8:15 p.m
Denver at Buffalo — Denver has a bye after just beating the Chiefs, while the Bills lost a close one Sunday night in Cincinnati. I try to throw mine “recentness bias” glasses on the ground, but actually “reverse impulse” it agrees with my heart and head. Give me the bills, 36-19.
Last week — 9-5, 64 percent. Season – 83-53, 61 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is [email protected].