"You know how Kyle Flood still has a job? Yeah, all Jourdan."
Have you forgotten 1969?
How about 1993?
How about 1995?
Even the youngest among us should remember 1996
An undefeated, overconfident OSU team has played Michigan before. I'm with Wolverine1987 (http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/112613-day-mgoemo-cratered) Stop whining. Stop with the doom and gloom. Go Blue. Beat Ohio.
(Note: I was just about to post this prior to Brian's post about the "fickle" fans. I actually think this relates very closely to that discussion and doesn't even bring the obvious financial impact into the debate.)
It probably won’t surprise any readers of this site when I say that I’ve had many a debate with fellow fans recently about the way this season has unfolded. One such recent debate with my brother centered around why everyone seems so frustrated and is writing off the OSU game entirely. His argument was that we never used to feel that way under Lloyd Carr – even though Carr had more seasons with 3 or more losses than he did with fewer than 3. The initial theories we debated for why we are so more negative this season were:
- In the information age it is easier to be an arm-chair coach with the advanced metrics, easy to obtain video, sites like MGoBlog, etc.
- We’re headed into year 7 of frustration and are just less patient than we were under Carr.
- Brian Cook is like the pied piper of negativity for his readership and we should all stare at videos of cats and feel better about ourselves instead of letting Brian corrupt our minds.
- Perhaps Carr wasn’t very good and “This Is Michigan” really means “We’re likely to have 3-4 losses and shouldn’t be surprised like we are right now."
That last point got me to thinking – why can’t I remember heading into an OSU game prior to Rich Rodriguez being hired where I felt there was zero chance of winning or that the season was a failure like I have so many times since then? John Cooper obviously helped that perception, but that wasn’t all of it. Why are we so bitter now but weren’t even in Carr years with 3 losses?
Prior to doing the research my hypothesis was that we stayed optimistic as fans because we ALWAYS played close games when Carr was coaching. No matter who we were playing, we had a chance. Our frustration with Carr at times was that he was so conservative that we played down to lesser opponents and that resulted in narrow victories or the occasional surprising upset. But no matter who we were playing, we felt we had a chance.
So I created a chart of Carr’s final decade of coaching. I only went back to 1997 since MGoBlue’s records only go back that far and this is the portion of his career where his reputation was built and what earned him a lifetime contract:
|1998||8-2||7-0||8-3||@ND (36-20), Syr (38-28), @OSU (31-16)||2|
|1999||8-2||5-2||9-2||@MSU (34-31), ILL (35-29)||0|
|2000||7-3||5-2||9-2||@UCLA (23-20), @Purdue (32-31), @NU (54-51)||0|
|2001||8-2||6-1||8-3||@Wash (23-18), @MSU (26-24), OSU (26-20)||0|
|2002||9-2||6-1||9-3||@ND (25-23), Iowa (34-9), @OSU (14-9)||1|
|2003||9-2||6-1||10-2||@ORE (31-27), @Iowa (30-27)||0|
|2004||9-1||7-0||9-2||@ND (28-20), @OSU (37-21)||1|
|2005||7-3||5-2||7-4||ND (17-10), @WI (23-20), MN (23-20), OSU (25-21)||0|
|2007||8-3||6-1||8-4||APSt (34-32), ORE (39-7), @WI (37-21), OSU (14-3)||3|
First, a comment on the chart: I admittedly ignored bowl games in this analysis. I did this because I’m measuring whether fans were still interested, happy, and optimistic leading up to the end of the regular season. Bowl games are a black mark on Carr’s resume, but that’s a separate discussion.
I think I’ve proven the hypothesis to be true. In the span of a decade Carr had only SEVEN games where we lost by more than 10 points. If you throw out his swan-song season of 2007 that number drops to an amazing FOUR. Think about that - in a full ten years we were blown out just four times! This includes trips to Oregon, UCLA, Washington, OSU, MSU, and Notre Dame just to name a few. In Brady Hoke’s three seasons we’ve had as many blowout losses as we had over a ten-year span during Carr’s career.
With Carr we may have had a couple of frustrating losses in a season, but we never entered a game knowing we had no realistic chance to win. THAT is what we’re longing for as fans and why this season feels so different when we look at the OSU game.
But there’s more!
While looking over that chart something else dawned on me that added to the conclusion. Look at the conference record heading into the OSU game. Not once did we enter the OSU game with more than two conference losses. Never!
If you go back to the previous statement that from 1997-2006 we had just four blowout losses you’ll see that two of those were following the national championship season. Yet immediately following those two losses we went on an 8-game winning streak and entered the game against OSU with a 7-0 conference record and chance for a title. So the one season in that period where we looked vulnerable still resulted in the OSU game having immense meaning and hope.
Not only did we compete in every game we played in, we almost always were still in contention for that conference title that Hoke talks about.
When Brady Hoke or any member of the fan base talk about getting back to what defined Michigan, this is what they mean. We were never the national juggernaut that Alabama has become – so dreams of undefeated regular seasons are probably misguided. But what we were for nearly Carr’s entire career (and that of Moeller and Bo before him) was a team that would compete in ANY GAME. We were a team that would get to the end of the season with something on the line more often than not and knew we could compete with OSU every year.
The reason we’re so frustrated and bitter this season is not just because we can’t win the conference title or are still bitter about RichRod – it is because we know we have no realistic chance of competing with OSU. Making matters even worse, we’ve already proven we have no realistic chance of beating our other main rival and get to watch MSU play for a title against OSU.
While I agree with Brian 100% on the financial aspect of the red jerseys we'll see in the stands Saturday, I also believe that if our team was capable of upsetting our undefeated rival the stands would be full of blue jerseys. Just as they were for all of those Carr seasons, despite knowing we weren't headed to the national championship game.
Per a retweet from Ace we should all remember the glass house that is Dave Brandon's Block M Branded Michigan Athletics brought to you by Lowes.
@Leo_Blavin, U-M Student TV Reporter tweets "U-M will be wearing alternate jerses against OSU according to players I have spoken with"
How could this go poorly? Remember that awesome time that some bumblebees in all white played Baylor?
Because why should the best rivalry in sports look anything like it has for years and years when you can try to make a few bucks?
Looks like the injury bug has hit a position with very little depth for OSU. Tommy Schutt was looking to be their starter at one of the DT positions (link says he was a backup at both, but I'm not sure I really believe that, he was going to play significantly and probably eventually start). They have little depth around him and almost no experience even with him. Going into the season, DT was probably their biggest concern, even more than an OL with serious depth issues. Well, that situation just got worse.
The OOC schedule is still easy, but teams like Wisconson, NW, Iowa, and PSU are the first four up in B1G play. Even when Schutt comes back he's unlikely to be 100%. While OSU has playmakers in the back end and in the pass rush, their lack of experience in the middle made them potentially weak against the run. Against the B1G teams listed above you don't want to be weak against the run. Wisconsin could pull out a big victory; NW, while being more of an outside run team, could potentially get OL to the LB level; Iowa is still good at blocking in the interior and with a few lucky bounces could be in a game they have no business being in; and PSU may be able to run the ball to take some pressure off their young QBs.
I still wouldn't expect many loses from that group of games, because the offense is still the offense. But this gives teams a chance and likely makes victory that much harder for the Buckeyes. Hate to see injuries regardless, but this is a big one for OSU.
You've heard the backstory by now. A young buckeye fan named his cancer "Michigan" so he could beat it.
Turns out Hoke has made a classy gesture of inviting him to the Big House this year to watch the game.
Hoke is a true class act. We are lucky to have a man like him representing Michigan.
From the article:
“They were like, ‘If you don’t come to our school, we’ll kill you and your family,’ and, ‘We know where you live,'” Prince told The Post. “Somehow, they got my number and FaceTimed me, flashing guns and saying stuff. But they didn’t block their number or anything, so they weren’t too smart.
Prince wouldn't name the school he nearly committed to, either, but he did narrow his lengthy list of offers down to 10 potential schools on Monday: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
I have to wonder which school's lunatic fringe did this, whether they're on this list or not. Regardless, it's absolutely mind blowing to me that these things actually happen.
I also have to wonder if he or his parents ever called the police about this.