The sad part is that he is dead on with his answers....this program and athletic department are more concerned about the "Michigan Man" mantra instead of making the right choice to win football games.
Carlos Hyde, human battering ram
First, on behalf of everyone here at MGoBlog, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving; this week is the perfect time to keep in mind all we have in life to be thankful for—and yes, I hope that goes outside of the spectrum of sports, for sanity's sake.
We've covered the X's and O's with Eleven Warriors' Ross Fulton; now it's time to cover the hate, and for that we welcome 11W's Johnny Ginter, a man whose passion for snark nearly equals his love of the Buckeyes. Johnny has been kind enough to answer a few questions about the state of the rivalry, his outlook for this weekend, and even a totally serious query about the OSU basketball team. If you'd like to hear my take on The Game, Johnny and his co-host Michael Citro had me on as the guest for this week's Eleven Dubcast, and you're encouraged to take a listen.
Before we proceed, remember that this is Hate Week, because Johnny certainly does; channel your outrage responsibly. Now, let the hate flow through you...
Because of our weekly Q&As for 11W, I know that you've had to sit through at least most of Michigan's season. First of all, I'm so sorry. This isn't a question. I just want to publicly apologize.
I really appreciate that, because I started this season as a 28 year old male in reasonably good health, and now I'm a diabetic 83 year old man in a coma from eating tainted paste.
With that out of the way, I'd like to hear an outsider's perspective on what's going on in Ann Arbor. What do you think the biggest issue has been to lead Michigan to this point?
The impending return of Sauron to Mordor? Truthfully I think part of the problem is that Michigan as an athletic department has a hard time negotiating college football in 2013. I think a lot of the decisions and choices that the Ohio State athletic department makes are kind of dumb and obvious from time to time, but it's undeniable that the Buckeyes have benefited from an aggressive self-marketing strategy. I don't see the same kind of things coming out of Michigan in terms of promotion that I see from Ohio State. [Ed-Ace: Johnny obviously isn't signed up to any U-M email lists.]
But really if I were to try and pin it down to just one thing, I think you guys are sometimes too patient, which is a nice way to say that you're cool with failure. Remember, Ohio State has a fanbase chomping at the bit to remove a defensive coordinator that has managed a side missing one of its best players, had a totally revamped defensive line at the beginning of the season, started the season with only four returning starters, and is still the 12 ranked defense in the country. That Michigan would even briefly allow the thought of keeping Al Borges to flutter through their minds is hilarious.
If you were running Michigan's program—and no, not intentionally running it into the ground—what would your next move be after this season ends?
Fire Al Borges immediately and bring in an offensive line specialist. Jim Bollman, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach is one of the most genuinely depressing sentences in the English language. His typical practice attire was white socks pulled up to his shins and a big goofy straw hat which reminded me of something someone would wear if they were trying to make a parody of an offensive line coach. It wasn't a great look, and his offensive lines typically underperformed or were just plain bad.
Enter Ed Warinner, and two years later Ohio State boasts possibly the best offensive line in the country (with much less heralded recruits). Michigan is still loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball, but that o-line is a gigantic domino that knocks everything over once it falls down. In a bad way, though.
As a Buckeye fan, what kind of balance would you like to see between Ohio State winning and Michigan being competitive? I imagine the joy of winning The Game has lost some of its luster over the past—oh lord—decade or so.
I was born in 1985, so my formative years were spent sitting angrily in front of the TV, arms crossed and teeth grinding as Michigan beat Cooper over and over and over. And the reason why I highly doubt any of you guys got sick of that is because John H. Cooper assembled some absolutely incredible teams that by all accounts should've won more than two goddamn games during his tenure.
So yes, I want Michigan to be good. I was at the 2006 game. It was an incredible celebration of football, of Woody and Bo, of everything that's fun about this rivalry. I was also at the 2004 game, which was just really, really funny. And ultimately, I want both of those things. I want the titanic matchups and underdog games where the underdog has a legitimate shot at winning, and I want Michigan to be good. The Game means less if one side (you) isn't holding up its end of the bargain on a consistent basis.
Which makes me angry. Which, ironically, makes the game mean more to me. So I have some feelings I need to sort through.
So... how's the basketball team looking this year? This is a completely serious question.
They're... okay? I mean, they're pretty much who we thought they were, minus LaQuinton Ross looking like butt. Defensively it's an excellent team with incredibly athletic guys like Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith, Shannon Scott, and so on. I actually think the defensive rule changes favor Ohio State because Thad Matta is really adept at getting his teams to play at a high defensive level without fouling. Aaron Craft is still probably the best on the ball defender in the game right now, even with the new foul calling regime.
With that said, without Deshaun Thomas the Buckeyes are predictably struggling on offense. Thomas averaged close to 20 points per game last season, but the next leading scorer on the team was Aaron Craft (right, Upchurch), who was putting up half that. Right now nobody is putting up even 12 points a night for Ohio State, but they do have four guys in double digits per game.
And that's probably how it'll look for most of the season, but I'm cool with it. Thad Matta is really a brilliant player's coach who has never won fewer than 20 games through 13 seasons, and his teams usually struggle with some growing pains early before figuring things out in January or February. I expect that to be the same for '13-'14, and really my only hope is that Matta's back and leg stay manageable and he sticks around for a long, long time.
Okay, okay, I should probably ask for your prediction for this weekend's game. Are there any matchups out there that you see favoring Michigan, and how do you see the game playing out?
There aren't a lot of favorable matchups for Michigan, but if they can scheme to isolate Funchess on a linebacker like Perry or Grant or even a d-lineman dropping back in coverage, that could yield some positive results offensively. That might open up some things for Gardner to get some yards on the ground because there's no way in hell the Ohio State defensive line is giving up anything to Toussaint or Green.
But even if Michigan does manage to capitalize on some mistakes and score some points, you're going to need to score more than 35 to beat Ohio State, because they're going to put up at least that much. And please, don't tell me about Frank Clark and Jake Ryan. Mark Weisman averaged 5.2 yards per carry against you, and Carlos "El Guapo" Hyde is much, much better than Weisman. If Urban Meyer is so inclined he could just pound away with the dude a la 2007 and be done with it.
He won't though. Instead you're probably going to see a lot of the Pistol with Dontre Wilson and Hyde in the same backfield, with some goofy stuff involving the tight ends that you haven't seen all year thrown in. I firmly believe that Meyer has been holding back quite a bit offensively just for this game, and I'm really, really excited to see what he pulls out of his hat.
This will probably be a three quarter game, but as the three and outs start to pile up and as Ohio State begins to get longer and longer touchdown plays, the game will be put increasingly out of reach for the Wolverines.
Is there any part of you that's worried about a 1995-type scenario this weekend?
I'm writing this on Wednesday morning, so no. By Friday night I'll be at Defcon 1, so by then probably yes.
I still firmly believe that Ohio State is going to win, because they're better coached and have the better team. That should be enough for me to rest easy. But it's The Game, baby. Rest and rationality are for the weak.
Thank you to Johnny for not only taking the time to answer these questions, but providing me an enjoyable (seriously) forum each week to dicuss Michigan and interact with the good people at Eleven Warriors—well, at least the ones who don't insist on exclusively using the term 'scUM'.
The sad part is that he is dead on with his answers....this program and athletic department are more concerned about the "Michigan Man" mantra instead of making the right choice to win football games.
Hiring from the outside didn't go so well.
By the way, Borges had no connection to the program.
It's almost as if you believe that there was no infighting or if there was a part of the fanbase that wanted nothing to do with Rodriguez from the get go because he wasn't a 'Michigan man'. He's had a lot of success at a lot of places.
Bo didn't have any connection to Crisler or Yost, yet that worked out okay. He was a complete and total Buckeye before he came here.
What connection did John Beilein have to any of the Cazzie Russell, Glen Rice, or Fab Five days?
Just an ignorant argument.
Ignorant argument? What part of what The FannMan said was argumentative? What he said was as close to fact as you can get.
...that hiring from outside at Michigan is bad.
Bo, Crisler, Yost.
Maybe there is some history between you and The FannMan, but I read it as an example the hiring outside of Michigan can be just as bad rather than an argument that it is always bad.
/pow, used logic
Bo beat Woody heads up, 5-4-1.
How many national titles did Woody win once Bo became our coach? Zero.
Bo won 13 B1G titles in 21 years, 7 less than Hayes.
Between 1971 and 1974, Michigan went 41-3-1, winning 4 B1G titles.
From 1972 to 1977, Michigan won 5 out of 6 B1G titles, only missing out in 1975; those teams had a combined record of 58-8-3.
How exactly is Woody so much better than Bo?
Oh, by the way, what is the overall head-to-head record b/w Michigan and Ohio State?
I hope you're not agreeing with Ginter, because that's even more ignorant than the "hiring from outside" argument.
We are just afraid what can happen if we hire someone new. Transition from Carr to RR etc. We should be able to fire Borges and improve without going 3-9 in the process. Risk is good, not taking risks is even riskier.
I see this complaint on EVERY SINGLE THREAD here these days. We're not winning because we care about being Michigan and not willing to compromise that to be successful, as if the two are mutually exclusive.
I have a serious question. . . if identity means that little to you, why bother rooting for Michigan at all? If you are willing to cast aside everything that makes Michigan what it is, all in the name of seeing one number always be greater than another number on a scoreboard, then what "Michigan" means to you is just the arbitrary color of laundry. With that in mind. . .
Why not just root for Alabama?
Why are you here at all? You obviously don't care about Michigan's tradition, or ways, or history, or values, or identity, or anything. You want guys in yellow pants to do better than guys in some other color of pants. If that's the case it really does seem like it'd be easier for you to change your preference than throw an entire program overboard just you get the numbers you want. Just become an Alabama fan! Throw out all that old blue and yellow swag -- obviously we haven't been elite for a while and that's all that fucking matters to you -- so just don some red and yell "roll Tide"! Voi la! Your favorite team is now an annual National Championship contender! You even get Hand to boot! And to put a cherry on top, you can GTFO so we don't have to put up with each other anymore!
I want to see Michigan succeed, but that only means something if we're Michigan. Hypothetically speaking, we can probably get better results than we have now if we drove a dump truck full of cash up to Urban Meyer's door, bought out his entire staff and overhauled our academic standards and recruiting such that we're basically a clone of what Ohio State is today. We'd probably be undefeated if we did that 4-5 years ago. But then we wouldn't be Michigan; we'd be Ohio State wearing yellow pants. I guess I'm the only goddamn dinosaur here who wouldn't see just how much of an appalling farce that would be?
It's one thing to look at Ohio State's smart use of constraint plays and emulate that. That's just adaptation, and something we should've done a long time ago. But saying "to hell with mantra" basically undermines your credibility as a fan because there's absolute nothing stopping you from leaving.
Incredible post. You are right about everything. Particularly the GTFO part regarding fans who want this team to be like the NFL and get whatever mercenary at whatever price.
This was a great read.
I can't wait for the The Game, despite everything.
I hope JG and his Buckeyes choke one away and have all off-season to think about what might have been.
We have beaten much better teams than this years bucks. We will win this game. Go Blue!
Hey it's one of those guys hoping for a loss and wants a new coach! Neato!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving to Johnny and his colleagues at 11 Warriors. May their day be filled with salmonella and bloating.
they know their stuff. BTW, I thought Ace did a fantastic job in summarizing Michigan issues. It is worth a listen.
FWIW, for Michigan to hold on to the ball DG needs to run. Given his physical condition (most agree he is playing hurt) he cannot take too many hits. Look for him to be knocked out of the game if he runs often. If he doesn't, then OSU offensive will wear down our defense.
Morris is not ready for this game and against a team like OSU. It will not be pretty.
Good read. I think he's right about most everything (regarding the on-the-field stuff anyway). I will say I don't think our Rush defense is as bad as I think he's making it out to be. Weisman busted that 22 yarder at the end to really up his YPC by a yard and a 1/2.. On the day Iowa was 3.8 YPC. Yes Ohio St. will have a better back and better line (though as good as it is it's not incredibly better, Iowa has a good line) but I don't see them being able to run it down our throats like 2007 or 2010 Wisconsin.
I don't know much about 11W and their people but if they're anything like this cat they must be some pretty knowledgable people and that's refreshing to know.
I live in C-bus and know the O-H-I-O type well. He is right about the "hunger" part- buckeye fans are piranhas who will protest coaches houses (yes, its happened). Michigan fans just don't raise the same fuss. There are a legion of excuses I see every day on this board for complete failure- youth, schedule, Carr, RR, even a coaches dad dying. Buckeye fans wouldn't even tolerate that last one (which they probably should). It does seem as though Michigan is more like a country club where insiders protect their own. OSU has far less loyalty to "family" (though it is there)- winning is ALL that counts down here.
Are you suggesting that we need to act like jerks?
No, but I suggest we act like we want to be one of the best in the country instead of what seems to be the aw shucks routine we have right now.
God forbid we show a little fire, make fun of the "jerks" all you want those guys seem to get results.
I think we're too smart for our own good. As a fanbase - at least what I can glean from this site - we like to debate. We weigh, we don't act. We contemplate. We argue. We frown upon kneejerk reactions for fear of being jerks. He's right about that and as a result, we tolerate mediocrity better than they do.
I would rather win and not be a jerk at the same time, thanks. It is possible.
However, when Tat-gate happened it seemed the Bucks were pretty loyal to each other by keeping things under the table...We can't say the same thing with what happened after Carr left and how RichRod was treated.
But lose at life. The definition of a buckeye.
It's like some people don't even have try to be arrogant, it just naturally occurs. Typical Michigan Arrogance (insert registered trademark).
For some reason, Michigan just has never been able to generate the sort of hate for OSU that they have for us. It's like a religion across the entire state. And from my experience, the fan base really doesn't mind the cheating or scandal as long as they win.
Some of the issue is that Ohio State is THE state school and has no fear of a local rival. We've had to face and now grudgingly accept that Dicktonio is our master, and we're his b!tch. Like someone said earlier, we've slipped (not just during Hoke but dating back) to where we need to catch up with MSU before we can even think of being an equal with Ohio.
It would be bad enough if I were still paying student ticket prices of $7/game like I was in school. Horribly bad when our AD brushes off 15-9 (with two more losses to go) since the 11-2 season. And 4 of those 15 were against the likes of Akron, UConn, CMU, and UMass.
and while it is true that OSU doesn't have an in state rival, the State of Ohio supplies the B1G and MAC with most of it's football players. Everybody is on an equal footing in the B1G, IMHO. Brady has had success with recruiting. Much better than RichRod. He has to be able to coach them up, though.
I am a 11W regular, and I have to tell you, the _ichigan hate is real. But I also will tell you that many Ohio State fans, while they loathe anything to do with _ichigan, also would like to see the team improve. They argue that its not a rivalry when one team dominates, like _ichigan did in the 1990s(ugh!). Just thought I would pass that along.
ESPN Gameday is down in Alabama Saturday morning. Punks. It's prolly too cold for Chris, Lee, Kirk and Desond.
It's ok to type Michigan. Nothing bad will happen, I promise.
Not this week, brah. This is serious.
So...you'll use the letter "m" throughout your posts, but omit it when spelling Michigan? Why not go all out and just not use the letter at all this week? Seems like you need to up your swaggg, brah, lest you be a "Fake Buckeye" like Kirk Herbstreit.
have just gotten soft? Players,coaches and fans. Why would you be OK with mediocrity? I think what bothers most of you Michigan fans, I could be wrong, is that after Tatgate most people expected OSU to be down for at least a decade, maybe even a generation. We were down one year.
Coaching matters. Good coaches make a difference. Although I think Brady has more class than RichRod, I also think he has too many barbeques.
"Coaching matters. Good coaches make a difference. Although I think Brady has more class than RichRod, I also think he has too many barbeques."
Just stop, Mouth-Breather. Don't you have a library carrel to camp out for so you can watch the game online later today? Or are you planning to watch it through a window of a department store?
Please try to restrain your natural inclination to reference someone's mother if you respond to this. Dude.
At least he is underestimating the defense. It may be a three-quarter game, but that's likely because OSU goes up by two touchdowns in the third, and that is insurmountable.
lawn maybe that will bring in a great O coordinator. Pass the pitch forks out. /s
What candidates could we actually attract to Ann Arbor?
Doesn't put up fireworks, but Stanford can still play manball and also throw the ball. Coaches O-Line too.
then we'd need to get a real QB coach and determine if Devin's head is fixable or if it's time for Morris and move Devin back to WR.
I'd go for someone who's had success at BCS conference level and believes in the running game. There has to be someone else out there who can take this O-unit and not look like he's throwing the game to satisfy bookies on the over/under.
If Borges were to go, I would go for Bloomgren. But then Stanford -> Michigan as an OC would that be a lateral move? We'd have to offer big $$ to come here.
It would not be a lateral move. It would be a huge step backwards.
Are you still pretending to be a Michigan fan?
we be nice on Thanksgiving weekend. Seriously though I am glad he wrote that on Wednesday too
if we have the coaching and talent. I live down here and ALL Buckeye fans care about is WINNING and HATING Michigan which I detest on one hand but find humorous on the other as most are jerks. UM will NEVER be like Ohio in that regard.
We're far too dumb to balance anything else.
It gets a little nauseous to keep reading about our intellectual superiority. While probably true, it would be far better to not mention it.
Regardless, we will always be more reserved than the over-zealous Buckeye fan which is always a good thing. They look basically ignorant and often obnoxious which is their problem.
the intellectual superiority thing is pretty played out. Michigan is better than Ohio State in the same way Harvard is better than Dartmouth. We're not SEC instuhtutions here- the academic gulf in the B1G is pretty narrow when comparing member schools. But w/e, if that's what some cling to (along with pre-WWII records), go right ahead- such make sure you are actually a UM grad (and, no, General Studies doesn't count) before bragging, since Wolverine football players are generally no different between the ears than their Buckeye counterparts.
Being as objective as I can, I see no real difference in the general behavior of the fan bases. Idiots exist on both sides, and they get the disproportionate share of the attention. It is easy to make blanket statements about Ohio State fans being obnoxious, but if there's any truth to that, it'll be reversed when roles are- when UM is up and OSU is down (which will happen), we over at 11W will be making similar claims. I mainly lurk here, and can confirm that there are a bunch of idiot posters here, just like there. The downside to having arguably the two largest fanbases in the country, I suppose.
All that aside, I've never bought into using the 'scUM' title like many Buckeye fans do, I think it is disrespectful and a little juvenile. That said, it really isn't much different from you guys calling Ohio State 'Ohio'. Its a slightly disrespectful potshot that people just use.
every year when the game is in ohio, the U sends an email around the student body with bullet points about how to be stay safe in columbus, which reads like a State Department travel advisory for US citizens traveling in, say, Mogadishu - don't draw attention to yourself, be inconspicuous, avoid having Michigan stickers or flags on your car, etc. Do they send something like that around to students at ohio when the game is in Ann Arbor?