Devin Bush Jr
We can't hold on forever. [Bryan Fuller]

Exit: Devin Bush Jr. Comment Count

Seth December 19th, 2018 at 10:03 AM

As we all expected he should, Devin Bush announced he will forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. He also will miss the Peach Bowl, and explained why:

As much as we regret not having our dear little deathbacker on the field later this month, I think we all would have regretted it more if Bush had reaggravated that ginger hip in a meaningless less meaningful game. It's clear he was considering playing anyway. Alas, Bush swinging from the shoulders of two trainers as the wheels fell off against Ohio State will be the final image Michigan fans will see of one of the best linebackers to ever come through the program, and the previously #1 defense in the country will play its bowl game without its literal and emotional core.

From the beginning Harbaugh pursued Bush, a three-star to most sites for most of his recruitment, with the same furor that Bush pursued quarterbacks, allowing onetime 4-star commit David Reese to switch to Florida and five-star-to-some Caleb Kelly to join Oklahoma with less than five-star resistance. Harbaugh planned his biggest satellite camp of 2016 at Bush's high school, recruited Bush's teammates Josh Metellus and Devin Gil—both of whom are now starters—and later hired Bush's head coach, who also happens to be a Florida State All-American and Bush's dad, Devin Bush Sr., to an important position on staff. The legacy of Bush's recruitment is now enshrined in two ridiculous NCAA rules—satellite camps and hiring people associated with recruits—pushed by programs upset that Michigan got to enjoy a true Southern talent without resorting to their more southern strategies.

That all-out pursuit paid off as Bush earned the primary backup role at middle linebacker as a true freshman, and exploded into a future first rounder in his first game as a sophomore starter. Many tried, but no ballcarrier ever managed to find an edge that Bush couldn't beat him to, and late in his career Bush was picking up a horse-crap personal foul per game by appearing in a quarterback's chest faster than a Big Ten ref's neurological network could process it. MGoBlog's Upon Further Review scoring comes every year with a disclaimer that linebacking is hard and an equal number of plus and minus plays is a good outing, and Bush is only the second guy in the blog's history—after David Harris—to ever challenge that expectation by grading consistently well into the positive. This season the degree and amplitude of Bush's impact on the field was hardly a secret known only to the wonks who watch every play: Devin was a consensus All-American and the face of an elite defense.


The face of an elite defense. [Paul Sherman]

It would be nice for Michigan if the NFL hadn't in recent years grown wise to the fact that a 5'11" rabid death squirrel is more valuable to the modern game than the neck-rolly rageoholics they used to prefer. Since they have, despite his size, Bush is a near lock for the first round. Whichever franchise is smart enough to trade up when he's still available in the middle of it won't regret that decision any more than Michigan has.



December 19th, 2018 at 10:14 AM ^

Good luck Devin. It was great watching you play and will be fun to see you tear it up at the next level. 

To the writer of the story. Please stop saying the bowl game is meaningless  it’s a big game for this program 

Reggie Dunlop

December 19th, 2018 at 10:22 AM ^

100% Agree. Good luck to Bush. Get healthy.

Seth, stop perpetuating this "meaningless" nonsense. This game counts. It's officially on the schedule. The 2018 Michigan Wolverines are playing. The result will be on the record books. It will contribute to our precious "#Winningest" claim to fame. It will count on Harbaugh's bowl record that will be thrown in our face at every failure. The tape will be considered when evaluating our players for the next level. It will be nationally televised. It will affect the national rankings. It will be the biggest preamble to the 12/29 CFP semifinal games and a nation's worth of hot takes will be borne from the result.

It counts. It has meaning. Beat Florida. Stop this idiocy.

Brian Griese

December 19th, 2018 at 10:38 AM ^

I was surprised when Mgoblog members started calling this game meaningless.  I am shocked to see a Mod call it that.  Is the game meaningless for Bush? Yes. Maybe that is where he is going.  But, every game this year for Bush was meaningless; last season alone would have made him a first round pick.

I know we are not in BPONE mood today but can anyone tell me with a straight face that if FL were to beat Michigan 62-39 that the coaches, players and recruits would say that is meaningless? 

Brian Griese

December 19th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

I think people are doing a bit of a psychological trick on themselves with regards to this game.  It's a non-unique opponent, Michigan is not in the CFP, numerous players are sitting out, the opponent has been beaten more by times by Michigan than Tennessee this century and are probably not happy about it, etc.  We know the reasons why the fanbase (which includes myself) is not excited about this game. 

I feel like the 'meaningless' statement is a way for people to justify a loss in the event that goes down.  


December 19th, 2018 at 11:40 AM ^

I mean, if the goal is to compete for a title then they all sort of are.  Personally I think all games are meaningful to their varying degrees and I obviously want Michigan to win, but at the same time people act like "I can't believe players don't want to play in the Peach Bowl" as if that's some life-long dream.  

Reggie Dunlop

December 19th, 2018 at 2:53 PM ^

Are you implying it is their lifelong dream to play SMU in September? Or next year's opener against MTSU? If you recognize that as a ridiculous question and admit it is not their dream to play in those specific games either, then you are admitting that by your definition here those games are also "meaningless" to the extent the Peach Bowl is.

You probably see where this is going. I would advise DPJ to sit out the first two games next year as they are not his life-long dream and they are meaningless. He's got an NFL future. Can't risk injury in a meaningless contest.


December 19th, 2018 at 10:19 AM ^

Can we please, PLEASE stop using the word “meaningless” to describe any non-CFP game? Shoot “unimportant” would even be better, although just less untrue.

Congratulations and good luck in the NFL, Devin!


December 19th, 2018 at 10:37 AM ^

whatever, edited it to stop the comments. Bowls began as exhibitions, became non-conference games, and now that the playoff has sucked away much of the season's meaning and even mid-round NFL players are now skipping, I think they're drifting back to being exhibitions. All wins in the win totals aren't equal. Michigan once drove around Windsor picking guys up in a jalopy and taught them the American rules on the drive to ann arbor. Notre Dame counts victories over hardware stores and high schools. Florida and Georgia can't agree whether their first contest should count or if that was just some old buddies getting together and a few of them were like "let's go out back and play this game we just learned."

I shouldn't have said meaningless though.


December 19th, 2018 at 10:51 AM ^

You assert that "bowls began as exhibitions."  As they say on Wikipedia, [citation needed].

The first bowl--the beginning--was the 1902 Rose Bowl.  Look at the season reviews in the Ann Arbor and Detroit newspapers from January 1902.  They said that Michigan was 11-0-0 on the season, not 10-0-0.  They said that Michigan outscored its opponents 550-0, not 501-0.

Nobody considered the 1902 Rose Bowl an exhibition at the time, and nobody considers it an exhibition today.

Here's the article from the January 2, 1902,  New York Times.  No hint of this being anything other than a completely official football game:



December 19th, 2018 at 11:00 AM ^

Are you serious? The Rose Bowl (and similar) were ABSOLUTELY considered exhibition games, for decades.

All the final national championship polls (with rare exceptions) for the longest time (until 1968) were taken *before* the bowl game. You could "win" a national championship and it didn't matter how you did in the bowl!

Related, the NCAA didn't include bowl game stats toward national records until 2002. They were not seen as part of "regular" business (and they sure as heck weren't a playoff, until a few years ago).

There's a reason the vast majority of bowls are/were in sunny climes -- they were started by travel associations and chambers of commerce to get wealthy midwest & northern people to buy more orange juice and spend money at Disneyland.

All that said, bowls haven't reverted to "meaningless" yet -- it would be a nice cap to the season to beat a Top-10 opponent in a top bowl. If we get blown out, trust me, it will become a "big deal." But let's also not act it's as important as regular season games against OSU, ND, MSU, Penn State or Wisconsin (to pick five games).


December 19th, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

I am quite serious.  I'm aware of the statistical position of the NCAA, and the history of the AP and UPI polls with regard to whether there was polling after the season or not.

I was contradicting the "bowls began as exhibitions" statement, which was false on its face (and I presented evidence that the first bowl was not considered an exhibition at the time).  All teams considered bowl results as part of their record, from the beginning. 

The NCAA had its quirks, and didn't even begin compiling statistics until 1938, so I will ignore their position on bowls because the existence of bowls pre-dates the existence of NCAA statistics by decades.

I will use a similar argument for the AP & UPI polls.  Since the AP actually did conduct polls after the 1947 and the 1965 seasons, they clearly considered the bowls to be official even though they did not conduct a poll after the bowls.  As a matter of fact, the Associated Press after the 1947 bowls gave Michigan's record as 10-0-0, not 9-0-0.  Even the AP considered the bowls official games back then even though they did not generally conduct a post-season poll. 

To leave actual history and delve into opinion, I agree with your implication that this bowl game is only the 6th most important game of the year.  You ranked this game exactly where I would have.


December 19th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

All fair enough.

I understand you are being strict on the definition of "exhibition" -- i.e., games that don't count in your record. That is certainly accurate.

I was focused on "much less meaningful than key games in the regular season" which is how they historically were treated. That is what we are going back to (except for the playoff and perhaps the Rose).


December 19th, 2018 at 11:45 AM ^

Ah, okay.  I guess we were kind of talking past each other then.  I was very focused on the true meaning of Seth's word "exhibition" and refuting that obviously incorrect statement.

I doubt you will ever see a Michigan season where fans think of the Ohio State game as less important than any Bowl game, unless the bowl game is part of the championship tournament structure.


December 19th, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

Exhibition Game: an exhibition game (also known as a friendly, a scrimmage, a demonstration, a preseason game, a warmup match, or a preparation match, depending at least in part on the sport) is a sporting event whose prize money and impact on the player's or the team's rankings is either zero or otherwise greatly reduced.


The Spring Game is an exhibition game.


Back when they voted on final ranking prior to bowl games - one could argue they were exhibition games.


Now? It has as much effect on the team's rankings as a regular season game.


December 19th, 2018 at 6:00 PM ^

It is relatively meaningless compared to every other game on the schedule.

Does it play any role in you winning a national championship? No.

Does it play any role in you winning the conference? No.

Does it play any role in you winning the division? No.

Does it play any role in making you bowl eligible (because all those extra practices are huge)? No.

Is it against a rival? No.


It is the least meaningful game on the schedule. I still really want to win it though.

You Only Live Twice

December 19th, 2018 at 10:19 AM ^

Devin Bush, you're a warrior and Michigan fans have loved watching you this year.  Yes, I am speaking for all Michigan fans.  Take the time to get healthy and kill it at the combine.  Thanks for all you've done and, as you said in your very nice letter, forever Go Blue!


December 19th, 2018 at 10:21 AM ^

If it's a meaningless game, I suspect none of us will be watching and MGoBlog staff won't be covering it very extensively.

This is not to say that Devin Bush should be trying to play in it on a bum hip.


December 19th, 2018 at 6:04 PM ^

I don't like the trend to calling it "meaningless". I mean, I get it that most bowl games don't really matter, but also the nice thing about college football is you don't have to win a championship every year to taste success at the end of a season.  Sure, it certainly isn't more important than a Rose Bowl game, and that's less important than a CFP berth...however, it means quite a bit more than a meaningless game as an 8-4 team last year against South Carolina. Losing that game was dumb, but that game didn't matter much because Michigan had an underwhelming season anyway.

This year Michigan, regardless of which bowl it plays in, has a chance to get to 11 wins, something the program has only done 5 times in the last 100+ years and just twice in this millenium (2006 and 2011). That's still pretty significant, rarified air. I'm sure Harbaugh is hammering this point home in bowl practices.