Helmet numbers will stick around

The Michigan football team is undefeated, bowl eligible, and ranked heading into this weekend's rivalry matchup with Michigan State. The Michigan men's basketball team is starting practice this Friday.

So naturally, there are questions. You, the fans, always have questions.

Remember, the 'Bag is only as good as what you ask. So feel free to send questions to us every week. All we ask is you throw at least your first name and hometown in the question. With that, let's get to it.

Kevin: Whose idea was it to wear the helmets with the numbers? I can tell them the history behind them, and why they wore them against Notre Dame. Just have no idea why they are still wearing them.

CJ: The numbers first appeared during the "Under the Lights" game with the throwback uniforms against Notre Dame. Apparently, the players really like the look, and the seniors approached Brady Hoke and coaches after the game saying they thought it'd be a nice way to honor the players who wore those numbers before them. The coaches discussed it and agreed, so you can expect to see those numbers on the helmets for the rest of the season. It'll be interesting to see if they continue the tradition moving into next season, or if it will just be a "Team 132" thing.

Steve: What is the mood this week so far for the football team? Are they treating this game more like facing Northwestern, or a big rivalry game like OSU? I know they are hyped up for every game, but just wanted to know if they are treating this one a little differently with it being an in-state rival game and that we have lost three in a row!

CJ: Ryan Van Bergen said the Michigan State game is a measuring stick, just like any other game is a measuring stick for the Wolverines. But, he also said each class's legacy is based on Rose Bowls, Big Ten Championships and rivalry games. So I'm going to go with the latter Van Bergen answer on this one and say, yes, they are treating this like a huge rivalry game. Mainly because, well, it is. Since Hoke has been at Michigan, there has been a countdown clock on the wall in Schembechler Hall, counting down the weeks, days, minutes and seconds until kickoff in East Lansing.

I think it's hard for the players not to look at this like a big rivalry game. Several of the players are from here, and having grown up in Michigan, I can tell you that schools everywhere are torn between the universities. I remember how the Friday before the game everyone in my high school and middle school had to wear blue or green to show which team they supported. Not to mention, these football players get recognized all over campus, and students have told them since the beginning of the season that they need to beat the Spartans.

Thad, San Diego: I was wondering how you think the Michigan basketball offensive scheme will change this year. Last year the team relied a lot on (Darius) Morris dribble-penetration ability to create offense, and without a pure point guard, how do you think that will change? Also, which returning players that didn't see much time last year do you expect to take a bigger role this year?

CJ: Thad, the short answer to your first question is that the offense is going to funnel through Tim Hardaway Jr. rather than Morris, as it did last year. WolverineNation will have more on that on Wednesday.

Moving on to No. 2. I'm putting my money on Jon Horford to have a breakout year. He didn't contribute a whole lot last year, because he was undersized and looked a bit overwhelmed on the court sometimes, but he gained a ton of weight this summer and is starting to fill out to look more like his older brother, Al. He has a pretty good outside shot, so he is the complete post package that John Beilein is looking for. I'm hoping to see a bit of the pick-and-roll offense out of the wing with Hardaway Jr. and Horford. I think that could create a lot for both players, but also, whoever is on the opposite wing.

Jack, Alexandria, Va.: If Morris had stayed at Michigan and not gone to the NBA/lockout, do you think we'd have a better shot at [Mitch] McGary and some of the other top recruits in the country?

CJ: Absolutely. McGary is a fast-break player and Morris was a fast-break point guard. Morris could create something on the court out of nothing, and some of the passes he threw were just out of this world. That's really exciting for players. And I think that would've been really attractive to McGary.

Now, I'm not saying that Michigan without Morris is out of the race for him. I think freshman Trey Burke has potential to run a fast-paced game, and McGary has more of an opportunity to help build a program and contribute immediately at Michigan. But, had Morris stayed and been able to offer up at least four to five assists a game to McGary alone, that would've been a major help.

Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at jenningsespn@gmail.com or on Twitter at @chanteljennings.