Holes, And The Digging Out Of Them Comment Count

Brian January 2nd, 2017 at 12:19 PM

11/26/2016 – Michigan 32, Florida State 33 – 10-3, 6-2 Big Ten, season over


[Joseph Dressler]

I can feel the hot take brigade trying to get through the door already: tweets about how much of this gets put on Drevno, the near certainty I'm going to hear something that sets my teeth on edge on WTKA this Thursday. Michigan's epic season ended with a wet fart, yes. In the aftermath I don't care to complain about it. I don't care to argue about what Michigan should or should not have done, or just... whatever.

Jim Harbaugh is an elite coach. The man has a track record. He is going to be here for a long time. His teams will be very good and often great, and sometimes they will meet other very good or great football teams, whereupon they will play a close, exciting game that will turn on one or two plays that are made or are not made. I hope they win these games. If they don't, they don't. Michigan's done all they can do and now it's time to sit back and see what happens.

That could be an extremely long period of being very good and not breaking through to satisfy the moist goatee brigade. The annals of sports are littered with excellent teams that met other excellent teams and didn't win. The difference there is razor thin and largely determined by luck.

Michigan isn't that juggernaut just yet. They were about 85% of one. The remaining 15% was why a one-point game felt lopsided for 58 minutes: the offensive line.


FSU's defensive gameplan was simple, and weird: move one of the best defensive ends in the country to DT. The guy you saw running into the backfield virtually untouched all game was, yes, DeMarcus Walker. Michigan's inability to handle him was total. He racked up a +9.7 in PFF's grading, which is a single-game season high for Michigan or its opponents. That's a good season total for many players. Walker had ten pressure events in 45 pass rush snaps and crushed some runs besides. A quick review of the game confirms that Walker killed everything, with an assist from Derrick Nnadi on the other guard.

The two guys with tire treads on their jerseys in the aftermath are at very different points in their career, but the reason they were put in that spot is the same. Ben Bredeson is a freshman who should not be playing yet. Kyle Kalis is a senior who's played too much. Both had to be on the field because there was almost literally nobody else available.

David Dawson's apparently so far from the field that he decided to transfer before taking his shot at a starting job this spring; Juwann Bushell-Beatty's brief cameo after the Newsome injury was the impetus for inserting Bredeson in the first place. Everyone else is either Patrick Kugler, a low-rated redshirt freshman, or a true freshman. If Kugler's a miss, and it appears that way, you have no choice but to die in a fire.

That goes back to Michigan's inability to evaluate, recruit, or develop offensive linemen under Brady Hoke. Hoke could find an All Big Ten DT under a rock; he and his staff had no idea what a good player on offense looked like, and this was most true on the offensive line. Michigan's six-man 2013 OL class is down to Kugler. None of the five departures was particularly close to breaking through.

The next year Michigan took just two OL, which is always a terrible idea. One of them, Bushell-Beatty, was the guy replaced when Bredeson stepped into the starting lineup. Hoke's final class had just one guy who signed, three-star legacy Jon Runyan Jr. Newsome committed in the interregnum; Michigan added Nolan Ulizio in the late scramble.

None of these guys started getting coached well until Harbaugh arrived, and the damage could only be mitigated, not undone. Sometimes OL don't work out, and sometimes you have to keep playing the ones that don't because you don't have anyone else, and sometimes this results in an elite defensive line digesting your quarterback.


I don't know, man. I started this season's coverage off by proclaiming this to be The Year, and it more or less was. Michigan spent most of the season in the top five of the human polls and #1 in fancystats. They're about to send a dozen guys to the NFL draft. They played like an elite team for most of the season, and if you think losing in double OT in the Horseshoe with an injured quarterback and a rain of terrible calls is some sort of stain on your honor, well... I cannot help you.

The difference between an epic season and a merely good one was razor thin and largely due to the vagaries of fate. Michigan had two spots at which they absolutely could not afford any injuries. They got it in the face at both spots. Grant Newsome went out for the season, paving the way for a true freshman to start. Wilton Speight missed the Indiana game; it's unknown how much of his late slide was due to that collarbone/shoulder injury. Survey says: enough to make a difference, probably.

So they did not win all the things. That sucks. They were very good at all the things it was reasonable to be very good at, though, and that should offer some more confidence going forward. If that's a disappointment I'm with you; if it's an outrage the door is that way.


Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Kenny Allen did the impossible: he graded out positively in all three kicking facets per PFF. His eight punts for 47 yards each, 44 yard net, nine return yards ceded, and lone touchback was worth a whopping +0.5 to Pro Football Focus Punter Batman. He hit three chip shot field goals and only had one of his kickoffs end up returnable—alas, that.

Also he terrified the FSU punt returner into a terrible muff that set Michigan up at the one.

#2 Taco Charlton kicked off his day by delivering the kind of hit to Deondre Francois that triggers the Deondre Francois Gets Obliterated Repeatedly montage that follows the poor kid around wherever he goes. He wasn't blocked on that one. On a bunch of other plays he was, usually by Roderick Johnson. Johnson, an All-ACC player who was the best player on the FSU line, ended up –2.2 to PFF and Charlton had a sack to go with four QB hits. Good luck in the NFL, sir.

#3 Ryan Glasgow had a similar day against worse competition, forcing a bunch of pressure up the middle and helping shut off Dalvin Cook, with a couple of Dalvin Cook exceptions.

Honorable mention: Maurice Hurst had another extremely productive day in limited snaps. Chris Evans had that touchdown that momentarily staked Michigan to the lead.

KFaTAotW Standings.

12: Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers, #3 Maryland, #2 Iowa, #2 Indiana, #1 OSU, #2 FSU).
10: Wilton Speight (#1 UCF, #1 Illinois, #3 MSU, #1 Maryland),
9: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado, #2 Rutgers, #2 MSU)
6: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF, #1 UW, #3 FSU)
5: Chris Wormley (three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers, #1 Iowa).
4: Jourdan Lewis (#3 UW, #2 Maryland, #3 Indiana), Mike McCray(#1 Hawaii, T2 OSU), Ben Gedeon(#3 Colorado, #3 PSU, three-way T1 Rutgers, T2 OSU), Kenny Allen (#3 OSU, #1 FSU).
3.5: De'Veon Smith (four-way T2, PSU, #1 Indiana).
3: Amara Darboh(#1 MSU).
2.5: Karan Higdon(four-way T2, PSU, #2 Illinois).
2: Jake Butt(#2 Colorado), Kyle Kalis (#2 UW)
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii), Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii, four-way T2, PSU),  Maurice Hurst (three-way T1, PSU),  Devin Asiasi(#3 Rutgers), Ben Braden (#3 Illinois), Channing Stribling (#3 Iowa).
0.5: Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii), Ty Isaac (four-way T2, PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.



We have a lead! I bet this lead lasts a long time and—aww, hamburgers.

Honorable mention: Mike McCray pick-sixes Francois. Kenny Allen uses Zoltan Mesko punt lasers to force a muff.


Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.
Colorado: Peppers cashes it in.
PSU: Wormley's sack establishes a theme.
UW: Darboh puts Michigan ahead for good.
Rutgers: Peppers presses "on".
Illinois: TRAIN 2.0.
MSU: lol, two points.
Maryland: very complicated bomb.
Iowa: The touchdown.
Indiana: Smith woodchips Michigan a lead.
OSU: Goat. Duck costume. Yeah.


This week's worst thing ever.

Jabrill Peppers is warming up... and Jabrill Peppers is obviously not playing. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Honorable mention: all plays on which OL were asked to block Walker. The kickoff return. The 92-yard touchdown. The Cook items.


Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.
Colorado: Speight blindsided.
PSU: Clark's noncontact ACL injury.
UW: Newsome joins the ranks of the injured.
Rutgers: you can't call back the Mona Lisa of punt returns, man.
Illinois: They scored a what now? On Michigan? A touchdown?
Michigan State: a terrifying first drive momentarily makes you think you're in the mirror universe.
Maryland: Edge defense is a confirmed issue.
Iowa: Kalis hands Iowa a safety.
Indiana: A legitimate drive.
OSU: The Spot.

[After THE JUMP: let's have a real good time. An okay time?]


31005110281_8a60968d85_z (1)

[Eric Upchurch]

The inverted quarterback. Wilton Speight did a lot of difficult things brilliantly and a lot of easy ones terribly. When set upon by barely-blocked hellhounds, Speight did his thing where he finds a guy you didn't even know was in a route for a first down. When given a reasonable amount of time, Speight missed throws that weren't necessarily easy but were much easier than his completions.

It's tough to render judgment when Speight was getting pressure up the middle on a majority of snaps. We've seen it all year with Hurst and Glasgow: edge rush is one thing but when a 300 pound man is running directly at your face, all your options are bad. While you probably don't want to hear me say anything about Speight's shoulder/collarbone, I did hear that it was the kind of thing that would linger for a month or two even if he was healthy enough to play. That further complicates any extrapolation from this game to next year.

A season-long view doesn't offer much more clarity. Speight was lethal, and terrible, and seemed to have little in between. He was very good for ten throws against Iowa and then fell off a cliff, and that was a microcosm of his play and the season.

The stats reflect that up and down performance, averaging it out into the #40 QB in yards per attempt and #42 in passer rating. S&P+ was far kinder, asserting that Michigan had the #14 pass offense in the country prior to the bowl game. It'll drop but not to 40th.



Not quite. Another game, another opportunity for Amara Darboh to do something hard that he doesn't quite manage. Speight left a touchdown low and behind him, but still catchable; he couldn't bring it in. He had a deep completion down the sideline; he landed on his back barely out of bounds. He's been good but something short of great, as in all three losses one more tough-ish catch from Darboh ends up changing, and probably winning, the game.

At least that's over. The great De'Veon Smith debate now ends inconclusively, because there's only so much you can do when you are getting hurled backwards by a bear. Smith was never as bad as his detractors suggested and never had the luxury of running behind a truly good offensive line when he is the kind of guy who needs a head of steam to show off his best talents.

The one thing that did disappoint this year was his pass blocking. Smith was impregnable a year ago; too many times this year he got in the way but did not actually slow down his opposite mark much. He went from a major asset in pass protection to meh. There is no explanation I can figure out, just one of those things.

Next year's running back pecking order. Seems obvious that Chris Evans is at the top right now with Higdon and Isaac trailing and vulnerable to falling out of the rotation if Kareem Walker makes good on some bowl practice hype and/or Michigan manages to flip Najee Harris. Evans isn't going to be a bell-cow feature back at his size, so there will be another committee next year.

Wide receiver pecking order. Ask again later.



[Patrick Barron]

Maybe Jabrill Peppers is good. Dalvin Cook lined up wide and Mike McCray split out over him and you could cut to any Michigan fan in the world and found the same thing: someone desperately looking for an abort button that was not there. Michigan did not abort, and Cook had a footrace against McCray. It went poorly.

Meanwhile, Cook had the single-biggest flip play of the game when he turned third and 22 into a 70 yard run and eventually a Florida State touchdown that felt like game over at the time. It was not game over, but it did set up FSU with sufficient points to make their comeback. On that play Metellus was backside help trying to flow over and limit the damage. Cook beat him to the corner and blew downfield past him. Very hard to watch that when you know damn well Peppers is getting there and setting up fourth and three or so.

Three huge plays and the rest of it was pretty much as expected. The two Dalvin Cook plays above and the 92-yard touchdown on which it looks like Dymonte Thomas busted were more than half of FSU's yards. On the rest of their snaps they totaled 171 yards; Francois completed 9 of 27 passes; Cook averaged 3.7 yards an attempt on plays other than the 71 yarder. This is why the preview was focused on keeping FSU's explosive plays to 20 yards instead of 70; Michigan did not do this.

Sigh. FSU's winning TD coming on a fade route against Jourdan Lewis is quite the twist ending. I literally cannot remember a successful fade route against Lewis in the last two years. If some odd twist of fate had given me the opportunity to call FSU's play on that down, I would have chosen "throw a fade at Lewis," because I have types "lol try that again" dozens of times on Twitter in the aftermath of teams doing just that for some damn reason.

I guess it had to happen sometime. Then was not ideal.


Aforementioned Allen performance. I've never given a specialist #1, I don't think. Quite a finish for his career. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up on a practice squad next year.

Deadly kickoff return. Michigan's demise in this game started with the only kickoff return FSU managed, and it was a bizarre one: the returner stopped and was about to put his knee down before coming out of the endzone. Everyone anticipated the dude getting out to the 10 and then getting blasted. That did not so much happen. Jordan Glasgow missed a tackle, nobody else was there to help, and FSU started the last drive in field position.

I have no take here. That was bad and I rather wished something other than that happened.


Don't even with the supposed offsides. First, that movement is just about simultaneous with the snap and is probably legal. Second, Michigan isn't winning that game anyway.


Best and worst:

Worst:  A Terrible, Exciting Game

Man, that was a weird game.  It was a “classic” in the sense it ended with a bunch of exciting, game-changing plays in the final couple of minutes, but for about 3 quarters it was pretty ugly.  FSU’s defensive line dominated UM’s offensive unit, while UM largely bottled up FSU’s offense save for a couple nice plays by Cook and a 92-yard TD throw on busted coverage by Francois.  UM had 23 yards rushing on 15 carries and 83 yards passing on 19 attempts in the first half.  FSU was a bit better, but without that 92-yard bomb they had 85 yards passing on 6/14 passing and 78 yards rushing on 19 attempts despite Cook picking up 12 and 28 yards on successive carries on that first drive.  The teams were a combined 3 for 15 on third down before halftime, and while for the game FSU only had 4 sacks and UM 2, both QBs were getting knocked around on a significant portion of their attempts.  Speight was nearly beheaded a couple of times by Walker and Sweat, while Charlton probably moved a couple of Francois’s organs on a crunching sack in the 1st quarter.

Boy it would be nice to have a great running back again:

First, for context - here are all of UM's all time leaders by YPA at 5.0+ and at least 2500 yds - Tim and Ty at the top and by large margin.  The only similar era was Butch and Jaime back ending the 80s; the time this boy fell in love with UM football.

  Ave Total
Ty Wheatley 6.1 4,178
Tim Biakabutuka 6.1 2,810
Rob Lytle 5.9 3,307
Gordon Bell 5.4 2,902
Butch Woolfolk 5.4 3,850
Jamie Morris 5.4 4,392
Harlan Huckleby 5.2 2,624
Lawrence Ricks 5.1 2,651
Mike Hart 5.0 5,040

This list is missing Michigan's all-time best YPC rusher—Denard Robinson at 6.2—but does reveal that Michigan hasn't been able to run the ball like they're "supposed to" since the mid-90s. Getting the run game up to those levels, the Stanford levels, is priority 1 for Harbaugh.


I have not read my feed reader, I confess. For a UV.



January 2nd, 2017 at 1:04 PM ^

UTL was an exception, as were the ND games in 2009, and 2010 as well as the Sugar Bowl win. Now that I think about it, wins over Northwestern for a few years, Indiana, OSU '12, Minnesota last year, there have been plenty of dramatic win at the last minute type games. So my comment was a little (lot) over dramatic.    


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:22 PM ^

UTL 1 was a classic, but mostly because it involved a rival; Notre Dame wasn't that great any of those years. 


In order for it to truly be a classic I feel like the game has to be over an elite team/mean something beyond the game itself. 


We haven't gotten one of those in a decade plus. 


January 2nd, 2017 at 5:11 PM ^

A good game is a good game.

In 2011 ND, there were five TDs scored in the fourth quarter, three in the last 1:30.

2004 MSU was against a team that finished 5-7, but no one cares about that.  The 4th quarter/OTs were amazing.

Heck, arguably the most famous play in program history (Wangler to Carter) came against a lousy IU team.



January 2nd, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

It's college football.  Teams inevitably will play close games that turn on a razor's edge.  It's tough to be at your best every game.

Clemson had two games come down to FG attempts by the opponent (Pitt and NC State).  One was good, one missed.  They also benefitted from some questionable officiating in their win over FSU.

Ohio State played five games decided by a touchdown or less, two of which went to OT.  One came against 3-9 MSU.

Washington lost soundly to USC and went to overtime against 3-9 Arizona.

Even Bama struggled against 5-7 Ole Miss, winning by five points.

These are our four playoff teams this year.


January 2nd, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

Alabama went 14-1 last season - and probably would have been 13-2 if they hadn't recovered an onside kick in the title game.

As dominant as they've been under Saban, they've posted only one undefeated season (2009).  They have a chance for a second this year, but it's not going to be easy.


January 3rd, 2017 at 11:06 AM ^

2009 season-Colt McCoy gets hurt on the opening drive of the BCS title game. Bama wins.

2011 season-Bama doesn't even win their division but gets to play in BCS title game. Bama wins.

2012 season- Notre Dame and Ohio State are undefeated. Bama has 1 loss but OSU is not bowl eligible. Bama gets to play in the BCS title game. Bama wins.



January 2nd, 2017 at 2:37 PM ^

And have that magical season you need a little of a lot of things and luck is one of them. First you need great talent. Next you need a few breaks in big games. A lucky bounce of the ball a big call or two your way. Finally you need luck on the injury front. You can't have big players getting hurt they need to stay healthy

You look at Michigans season and all of that just did nit come together and hence leaves you with 3 losses by 5 points to good teams all on the road. Harabaugh is still building this program back up and in a couple of more years we should be there


January 2nd, 2017 at 6:24 PM ^

How about the statistical analysis of wins correlated to fumble recoveries which are proven to be largely luck to deviate from the median? How about key injuries? How about officials spotting of 4th down plays? How about officials calling phantom face masks? How about opponents missing chipshot FGs not affected by any rush?

Of course "luck" plays a big part in 10-2 vs 11-1 vs 12-0. Almost no team wins all their games comfortably and flukey teams sometimes go a long way before exposure.

When we go 12-0, appreciate the good luck.

Swayze Howell Sheen

January 2nd, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

'If you are good enough, none of your games need to be "largely determined by luck." '

That's true (by definition I suppose), but come on, how many college teams don't have some lucky breaks along the way? Say, for example, Clemson beats Alabama (which I think they will do). They wouldn't even be in the playoff if some sad sack kicker from NC State could make a short field goal.



January 2nd, 2017 at 2:17 PM ^

Instant classics..just off the top of my head the 2 ND wins with Denard are the only instant win classics I remember recently. Maybe you count last year's Minny and IU wins.

On the dark side, App State, Colorado (Westbrook), 2006 Ohio loss, 1990 MSU loss, 2013 Ohio loss, 2000 Purdue loss, a 54-51 loss to NW (2000?), 3 this year.

What did I miss?


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:24 PM ^

If we're going back to the start of this century, there's 2003 Minnesota (biggest comeback in history), 2004 MSU (Braylonfest), 2005 PSU(Touchdown Manningham), the 2007 Florida bowl game, 2008 Wisconsin (biggest home comeback ever), several ND games ('09, '10, '11, maybe '13), 2011 OSU, 2012 Northwestern (Hail Mary to Roundtree).  Maybe the VT Sugar Bowl, although that game was ugly.


January 2nd, 2017 at 12:33 PM ^

Was that really a blown coverage by Thomas? He was running with a receiver on a deep cross. If he is responsible for the sideline, who is responsible for the deep middle?


January 2nd, 2017 at 1:12 PM ^

Looked like a straight-up Sophie's Choice there for Dymonte. Someone was busting wide open, just a question of which guy it was going to be. Still, if you're running a true cover-2 and you're the safety responsible for that half, you check the sideline guy first and hope the post or dig route you see going past your face is either going to run into your buddy on the other side or you've got a LB getting serious depth on his drop into that zone.

Didn't look like that was going to happen on the replay IIRC, so yeah, probably a TD either way if Francois is just dropping and reading Dymonte. This seems more like the classic RPS/cover-2 problem. 

(LINK) (please forgive the source, it's the pictures I was looking for)


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:20 PM ^

Thomas took the deep slant that was underneath and Lewis bailed on coverage of the 9 route that was being run... Mistakes by both but Thomas not getting over the top of the 9 route that was the killer and why Brown was on him.  Both the 9 and slant were on the left side of the field so it was tough call but the correct play is for Thomas to keep dropping and play the ball not the routes...



January 2nd, 2017 at 6:46 PM ^

usually doesn't involve carrying the fade route up the sideline while simultaneously assessing any entry into the short zone you just vacated, at least not for long. Imagine FSU did send someone into that short zone-- if CB had to break forward on that route, there would still be an expectation that the safety to that side is as high as the fade receiver. If nothing else, when you've got to choose between a cross and a go route, cover the go because at least it puts you on the deepest guy. 

There's a bust in there somewhere but still not sure who it's on. Maybe Thomas was supposed to check them out of the cover 2 when FSU put 2 guys to that side, I dunno.


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:42 PM ^

It actually looked more like cover 1 and in that situation Lewis should've stayed with the receiver. He needs to check the short zone and if no one comes out immediately he needs to run deep with the receiver and the LB covers any backs or TE crossing and going to the flat


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:44 PM ^

It actually looked more like cover 1 and in that situation Lewis should've stayed with the receiver. He needs to check the short zone and if no one comes out immediately he needs to run deep with the receiver and the LB covers any backs or TE crossing and going to the flat


January 2nd, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

Based on the way Brown was yelling at Thomas, maybe. But you're absolutely right, the receiver on the deep cross was also way behind everyone except Thomas. If he had gone with the guy at the top then deep cross guy gets a 92 yard TD as he was like 10 yards behind the zone too. Either someone else besides Thomas blew a coverage (too) or they were just way too shallow in their zone. But you can't have 2 guys both 10 yards behind everyone but Dymonte like that. 

Chi-City Wolverine

January 2nd, 2017 at 12:35 PM ^

Brian, don't poke your head into the threads about the game that have been posted over the past few days. Apparently, Harbaugh is a mediocre coach, we got out-schemed, and the staff should have been able to anticipate Peppers' hamstring the day before the game, and game planned for it.

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Naked Bootlegger

January 2nd, 2017 at 12:44 PM ^

The sleeper cell trolls were out in full force.  They make me sad and frustrated.   We were completely dominated in the FSU game by a very good team for 3+ quarters.  We somehow hung around to gain the lead late in the game.   A fluky kickoff return on the only non touchback of the game by Allen (in an otherwise impeccable kicking game by him) colluded to produce the ensuing game ending dramatics.  We got gashed a couple of times by a sure-fire NFL 1st round running back and got punked on one blown coverage 92 yard TD.  Otherwise, the defense was relatively stout against top tier competition. 

I still want Harbaugh as my coach, now and forever.


January 2nd, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

Guess it's a good thing I haven't been reading those threads. Comes, I suppose, from a sense of fan entitlement born of ignorance--the idea that I think our team is the best ever so it should play like it and if it doesn't there's a stab-in-the-back level of incompetence to explain it.

Michigan gave up a handful of big plays, at least one or two of which may have been stymied by Peppers on the field (sleeper cells were calling him a "disappointment" before the game, don't forget) and otherwise held out ok on defense. I'm not sure how the offense is supposed to gameplan when the OL can't block, has an ok-but-not-great QB, a handful of ok-but-not-great receivers, is missing an all-american TE and a key slot guy, and has no terrifying playmaker anywhere on the field that can break something.

Yet with two all-americans injured and everything that went wrong this team had the lead with a minute to go and managed to score 32 points.

So, uh, yeah, that stunk. But they pulled something out.


January 3rd, 2017 at 7:45 AM ^

As Brian says, we got injuries right where we couldn't afford them -- LT, QB, TE, and of course Peppers.  (Also Jeremy Clark; that particular injury we were able to paper over with depth, but he's a very good player.)  The first half of the season was a lot of HAHAHAHAHA, but it got frustrating down the stretch.  Fans and non-fans of various temperments pointed to the lack of offensive playmakers, injuries, bad officiating and just plain bad luck.  It was everything, dammit.  Michigan lost its 3 games by five points.  Total.

If anything, this is a validation of Harbaugh's coaching.  His LT goes down and the team keeps fighting.  Then the QB gets injured; the team keeps fighting.  Then the spacebacker, then the TE. . . all the while, refs are letting teams bear-hug Taco and tear off Glasgow's jersey and we keep falling just short on our game-changing drives while opponents get miracles.  And the team keeps fighting.

Two years ago the team would've just rolled over and died in the fourth quarter.  It really feels unfair, given all they've been through and how hard they fought, that the seniors' swan song had to end like this.  But the lack of offensive playmakers, and the injuries, and the bad calls and just plain bad luck. . . at some point it becomes too much, and you fall short.

I disagree that this was a "razor's edge" thing; it took heaps and piles of bad things happening, much beyond Harbaugh's control and even the players', to turn wins into narrow losses.  I don't feel disappointment at all.  Frustration, because they deserved better.  But what FSU faced wasn't some mismanaged juggernaut; it was the front half of a tank (the defense) propelled by a Yugo engine held together with chewing gum and duct tape, yet with just a bit more luck over the course of the season, Michigan's in the CFP.  And somehow it's the coaching that's the problem?


January 2nd, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

You're right a lot of the hot takes were from sleeper cell trolls.  But a fair number of them were from long time posters, some of whom usually aren't that dramatic.  That made me even more sad and frustrated.  Agree with your last sentiment.  Now we just need to find some OL and DL replacements, and maybe a HR-hitter (or at least a contact hitter) at RB!


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:20 PM ^

It wasn't just sleeper cell trolls, but "regulars."  Granted, it was the perenially-disgruntaled crab regulars, but actual fans nonetheless.  These folks think it's their unalienable right to post whatever they want as if they are in the privacy of their own living room with their drinking buddies.


I would support a policy that nukes open threads at the conclusion of a game or prevents any posting during some type of cool-down period following a game.  The posts are truly embarassing.  People were actually getting negged for posting positive takes.


January 3rd, 2017 at 10:43 AM ^

No. That is stupid. We don't need to be policed or babysat and we sure as fuck don't need another policy. It's a football game and this entire site is based on opinions. Sure, some of the opinions are ridiculous. But we don't need a cool-down period just because you don't like to read negative things.


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

After the last decade of "WTF am I watching and why am I watching this dumpster fire," M went back to back 10 win seasons with clearly lesser talent/ability than the top teams in the country. A couple bounces go our way and M is undefeated going into the playoffs, and we can all do things again as MSU and OSU would have been vanquished.

Also, this was achieved using mostly Hoke's guys. M is in good hands and will have a good football team for the foreseeable future. So many people acting like Harbaugh not winning 19 of the next 20 national titles means he's a junk coach.

Also, college football is way too important to some people. Priorities people .....

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January 2nd, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

My feelings exactly. Even down to Smith's step back in pass protection, which I've mentioned a few times on the board.

This was a very good team with a very good coach. We lost to a very good team with a very good coach because in the 5-6 plays that almost always determine the winner of such a game, we came up short.

I swear this fan base would have wanted Bo run out of town after a few Rose Bowl losses.

We had a very good season. Enjoy it.


January 2nd, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

I think that I disagree with your assertion that it was "a very good season". I don't know what their specific team goals were coming into the season but I imagine that it went something like this:

1. Win East
2. Win B1G
3. Make Playoffs
4. Win Bowl Game
5. Win NC

You might throw in "beat MSU" or "beat OSU"....but that's probably more of a fan thing than a team thing. Every game is a "championship game" in the Harbaugh world.

Essentially, this team didn't meet any of its goals (except possibly for beating Sparty). It's a results oriented world and this team just didn't get them (for a variety of explainable reasons). It's hard to call that "very good".


January 2nd, 2017 at 2:45 PM ^

Most teams don't meet all their goals. In fact, in some years, none do. If OSU won the NC this year, they still wouldn't have won the east or the B1G so they wouldn't have met their goals. Does that mean their year wouldn't have been very good?

It was a very good season. Not great, not epic, not historical. But 10-3 and only losing those 3 in exciting and close games is a very good year.

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January 2nd, 2017 at 3:58 PM ^

....but this team probably didn't meet ANY of its goals. That's particulary disappointing given the level of experienced and/or NFL level talent on the roster (per Brian's post).

At the end of the day....we probably just have different definitions of the word "very".