Monday, December 12, 2011 Updated: December 14, 2:17 PM ET
Denard's 2012 Heisman chances
By Chantel Jennings WolverineNation
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Yes, those months when college basketball and football bowl game preparations overlap is truly wonderful. College football awards have been doled out, basketball players are making names for themselves, No. 1's are being taken down by nobodies, and Tom Crean still hasn't come out of shock.
It's a great time for college sports, and we're sure there are plenty of questions.
We love hearing from our readers and answering what questions you have. The mailbag, though, is only as good as what you ask. Questions for next week's mailbag can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Could Denard Robinson hold a similar celebration at the Downtown Athletic Club next season?
Now, on to this week's questions.
Jen, Southside of Chicago: What are the possibilities that Denard Robinson is in New York as a Heisman finalist next season? Should he have been there this year?
A: It depends on how well this offseason goes. If his passing progresses as well as other quarterbacks under Al Borges then I think it's a possibility. The bigger question is: Can he stay healthy for a full season? In 2010, he had to be pulled because of injuries most games because he was taking so many hits. And we just found out that in 2011, he dealt with a staph infection, abdominal pains and wrist issues. So, can he stay healthy for a full season and improve his passing? Absolutely. If that happens, does he make it to New York next season? Perhaps. Does he beat out the Honey Badger? No way.
No, he shouldn't have been there this year. Look at the other quarterbacks. Winner Robert Griffin III threw for nearly 4,000 yards and rushed for 655. He played a part in 40 touchdowns for Baylor. Runner-up Andrew Luck passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns. RG3 had a quarterback rating of 192.3, which was best in the country. Luck had a rating of 167.5, which was good enough for fifth. Robinson's numbers just don't compare. Robinson doesn't even crack the top 35 in that rating system.
Bob via Twitter: Can Michigan make a Final Four run this year if everybody stays healthy?
A: Anything is possible, but I don't see it happening. The Wolverines don't have a strong enough inside presence. When they do face bigger teams, they tend to run the 1-3-1 zone defense more, but you need to have some bodies inside if you're a Final Four-caliber team. Plus, they're still a bit young in places. In Michigan's 90-80 win over Oakland, the Wolverines allowed Grizzlies fifth-year senior guard Reggie Hamilton to drive at will and then bailed him out with fouls. And offensively, there's just not enough consistency coming from the scorers. Sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. needs to put together two halves of basketball. Either senior guard Stu Douglass or junior guard Matt Vogrich needs to start knocking down shots and being a reliable sixth man. And at the end of the day, there's no one to back up Trey Burke. My guess is they make the Sweet 16.
Benjamin Kohl via Twitter: Willy the Wolverine? Is that happening?
A: The proper question would be ... did it already happen? And the answer is: Why yes, yes it did. In the 1980s three University of Michigan students came up with Willy the Wolverine, a costumed Wolverine mascot that was fierce but still wore a blue sweater. "What can be more annoying than watching some overgrown ball of fuzz named Willy run around Michigan Stadium, acting like a buffoon? In Michigan Stadium for crying out loud -- where Bo works," Rich Eisen wrote in the student newspaper. Before the 2011 season started, there were whisperings about athletic director Dave Brandon introducing a mascot, but he had said only that mascots are good for the younger demographic at Michigan football games. But fear not, I don't see Michigan having a mascot anytime soon.
Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @chanteljennings.