The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Jake Ryan, fifth-year senior safety Jordan Kovacs and senior end Craig Roh. Three received first-team honors, but not on defense: redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan, fifth-year senior right guard Patrick Omameh and junior punter Will Hagerup. • The winner of the Michigan-Michigan State game would represent the Legends Division in Indianapolis. The Wolverines proved victorious, ending a four-game losing streak to the Spartans, but that win did not propel them to the title game. It turned out, the matchup between U-M and Nebraska was the deciding bout. Had the Maize and Blue won that game, U-M would have played for the championship, but by virtue of beating Michigan, the Cornhuskers went instead. Way off: USC's Matt Barkley, Michigan's Robinson, Oklahoma's Landry Jones and West Virginia's Geno Smith would head to New York to contend for the Heisman Trophy. However, on Dec. 8, not one of them was present. The finalists were Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (winner), Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. At different times, Barkley, Robinson, Jones and Smith were favorites, but that status didn't last. • Carving out his niche in 2011, fullback Stephen Hopkins would score more touchdowns than junior Devin Gardner, who was adapting to wide receiver. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Gardner had four TD grabs at wideout before moving back to QB, where he proceeded to score seven rushing touchdowns. Hopkins didn't even touch the ball in his junior year before splitting town for good before the bowl. • This year's beef with the BCS system would belong to West Virginia after the Mountaineers would go 11-1 but be passed over in favor of another SEC opponent. If there was a claim, perhaps Oregon had one after finishing 11-1, but then, the Ducks didn't even play in the Pac‑12 Championship Game. And which team would they have replaced? Notre Dame was undefeated and earned its berth. Alabama? No one would make that case after UA steamrolled the Fighting Irish for its second consecutive NCAA crown. This much is certain — West Virginia had nothing to crow about after finishing the season 7-6. • And lastly, that U-M would produce three first-round draft picks this April. Technically, this could still happen, but one was supposed to be Lewan, who has declared his intent to return to school, while Robinson and defensive tackle Will Campbell were projected to be the others. Robinson may be a late first-round pick, but more likely a second- or third-rounder after he transitions to receiver, but Campbell isn't even on draft boards following a rather pedestrian senior campaign. The 2013 season is more than seven months away, and one thing is certain — Michigan will play for the Big Ten title. For whatever that prediction is worth. ❑ Associate Editor Michael Spath has been with The Wolverine since 2002. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Spath_ Wolverine.

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