No Damn Reason At All

Submitted by Brian on November 28th, 2016 at 1:06 PM

11/26/2016 – Michigan 27, Ohio State 30 (2OT) – 10-2, 7-2 Big Ten


[Eric Upchurch]

After all that, the thing that sticks with me is something much more prosaic than the various outrages everyone's going on about. It's third and four in the fourth quarter. Ohio State literally triple-covers Jake Butt; Wilton Speight finds Amara Darboh open on a quick slant. The ball is behind Darboh, tough but catchable. Darboh does not catch it. Michigan punts with five minutes and change left on the clock.

Why did that happen?

I don't know. Nobody does, but very few people tasked with writing about a thing will tell you that. Everyone else will reach for any explanation of remote plausibility, from an injured shoulder to CHOKING like a CLOWN FRAUD. Whatever, doesn't matter. Just as long as there's a reason a thing occurred, we can go on with our lives.

I think that happened for no damn reason at all. Yes, if you replaced Speight with Tom Brady that pass was more likely to be accurate. If you replaced him with Tyler O'Connor, less likely. It is still a simple five-yard throw that is amongst the easiest in the quarterback's repertoire. It is within the capabilities of the QB. Speight probably hits 90% of them, especially on a day where he is locked in. The most likely explanation for why he did not hit that one is none at all. The most likely reason Darboh did not catch a tough but catchable pass is none at all.

There are entire fields of study dedicated to the fallibility of the human brain, which refuses to operate cleanly. (I just put a D into the word "entire" as I was typing that sentence out.) These exist mostly because planes crash into each other and space shuttles explode and not because football happens sometimes, which just goes to show that people have strange priorities.


Speaking of the fallibility of the human brain:

It is hard to take that sort of thing. Michigan had just gotten a flag on a similar, but less severe, defensive holding incident on the prior Ohio State drive. That ended a Michigan drive that had reached midfield; if called correctly Michigan has first and ten at the Ohio State 40.

Later in the game the same pattern would repeat. Delano Hill was flagged for pass interference on third and 14 when he unnecessarily grabbed the waist of Curtis Samuel before the ball arrived; the exact same thing happened to Grant Perry on a third down conversion attempt and was ignored. Again, that sets Michigan up with a first down, this one on the ten in the second overtime. Again it was preceded by a call so similar against Michigan it beggars belief that a flag did not come out.

That's tough to get over. The spot was close enough and chaotic enough that it falls within the realm of the unknowable. An MGoUser who knows what parallax is and went over available evidence with a fine-toothed comb thinks Barrett made it by literally an inch or two. While I thought the spot was wrong I knew they would not overturn it, because they never overturn spots without some sort of egregious his-knee-was-down-ten-yards-ago kind of thing. In isolation that call is, in the cold light of day two days later, too close to have a definitive resolution. If it was wrong it very well could have been an honest mistake.

It is difficult to interpret either of the above incidents as honest, or a mistake. It's difficult to see a standard-issue Harbaugh blowup get flagged in the Game when we've seen the same thing tolerated all year. It's difficult to believe that Michigan's defensive line hasn't benefited from a holding call since the Illinois game.

This is the point at which newspapery types come in with the You Had Your Opportunities To Win The Game, an asinine criticism since that's literally true of both teams in every close game ever played. You can believe that Michigan had opportunities to win they did not take and simultaneously believe that the officiating gave you less than a 50/50 shot in a 50/50 game.

And then you're putting guys out on the field from the state of Ohio who were previously banned from working The Game because of how it might look? What the fuck are you even doing, Big Ten?


[Patrick Barron]

What's that? Counting your money? Right. Well done.


Michigan lost this game. They did so for many reasons.

Their mistakes were punished as ruthlessly as possible. A floating ball goes directly to a defender. A fumbled snap is recovered by the defense. Curtis Samuel escapes a huge loss three times and sets up the fourth down that falls within the margin of error.

They did not take advantage of plays that were there to be made. Speight threw behind Darboh twice; Darboh did not bail him out. Karan Higdon missed a cut on what would have been a huge gain. Smith did not run over a safety prior to the fumble.

They did not get a fair whistle. See above.

All that and it came down to a literal inch. A rivalry classic, and an invitation for a bunch of hooting jackals to hoot some more. As for us on the other side, nothing to do but soldier on in the gray light of morning.



there is another [Bryan Fuller]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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

#1 Taco Charlton was the most rampant of Michigan's very rampant defensive line, acquiring two and a half sacks and forcing Barrett to move around several other times.

#2 (tie) Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray shut off the Ohio State edge except on a couple plays where Michigan was successfully out-leveraged pre-snap. It was weird to see neutrals on twitter wondering why anyone would run east-west against The Michigan Defense, but they were, because it didn't work. They picked up 19 tackles between them, two sacks, another TFL, and McCray batted down two passes. McCray also forced a sack when he leapt in the passing lane of a third.

#3 Kenny Allen bombed all but one of his punts; he mastered the Ron Coluzzi hard right turn; he had just one touchback, that on a punt that still had a 40+ yard net; Curtis Samuel had just one quickly snuffed return opportunity; he hit a couple field goals; none of his kickoffs were returnable.

Honorable mention: Channing Stribling broke up the only deep shot on the day; OSU decided they were not going to bother with either him or Jourdan Lewis. The rest of the defensive line was terrific all day; the tackles were very good in pass protection against some tough customers. Peppers had a big KOR, an interception, and was also a major part of the edge being closed down.

KFaTAotW Standings.

10: Wilton Speight (#1 UCF, #1 Illinois, #3 MSU, #1 Maryland), Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers, #3 Maryland, #2 Iowa, #2 Indiana, #1 OSU).
9: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado, #2 Rutgers, #2 MSU)
5: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF, #1 UW), 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).
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), Kenny Allen (#3 OSU).
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.

It's a goat in a duck costume!

Honorable mention: is that not sufficient


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.

The Spot.

Honorable mention: The ensuing play. Speight fumbles the snap; Speight gets hit on the throw and offers up a pick six; Speight throws an INT that is on him; various refereeing malfeasances.


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: ~3000 additional words, 43% of which are swears.]




Seemed kind of good, and then very bad, and then kind of good again. Wilton Speight has some pretty odd stats for a guy who seemed to carry Michigan's offense by himself: 6.1 yards an attempt, which is bad. Add in two interceptions and it's very bad. Add in a disastrous fumbled snap and... it is not better. That did not make things better.

One of the interceptions was not his fault. Speight IDed Chesson open behind a picket fence zone and threw it to him; Raekwon McMillian, who got in scot free, intervened before he could complete his throwing motion. It's just crap luck the ball went directly to a defender.

The other INT and the fumble are directly on Speight, with Cole maybe factoring in on the fumble. On the one hand, those lost the game. On the other, Michigan was in position to win it because Speight was calm, accurate, and brave.

No deep shots. Part of the reason Michigan's YPA was so low was a total lack of deep balls. A sail route completion to Jake Butt for 22 yards was Michigan's longest gain of the day, and a fair chunk of that was yards after the catch. I have to assume that was due to Speight's injury. Either he couldn't get the necessary oomph on deep balls or Michigan was loathe to expose him to the OSU pass rush because they feared he would get knocked out.

Just not enough. The one position group that was clearly overwhelmed was the offensive line. Smith and Evans combined to average under three yards a carry, and most of that was on the OL unable to generate much of anything.

This was a Hoke legacy Harbaugh was unable to overcome. Whatever improvements Michigan was able to generate in their senior trio did not get them to All Big Ten levels, let alone All America, with the possible exception of Erik Magnuson. (My opinion: meh, but depending on the NFL scout you listen to he's apparently got a chance.) When Grant Newsome, a true sophomore, got knocked out for the year a true freshman replaced him. There was zero depth behind the starters and that bit hard as Ben Bredeson struggled, as true freshmen tend to.

This was partially bad luck. The nature of Logan Tuley-Tillman's departure could not be predicted. It was partially terrible evaluation. Michigan passed on LSU All-American Ethan Pocic because they thought they were full, then took Dan Samuelson towards the end of the cycle. Samuelson quit football soon after realizing he was overmatched in year two. It was partially a lack of ruthlessness: Chris Fox had a terrible knee injury that made him unlikely to work out in college and Michigan still took him. Fox did transition to a medical scholarship relatively quickly, but Michigan didn't react to his inability to play quickly enough. It was partially crappy coaching, because Hoke.

The tackles pass-protected well, though.

Aaargh. Michigan's offset draw worked to near perfection except for one thing. Higdon did not cut behind Cole.

That's a huge, huge gain otherwise.

Smith did not flatten the fishing village. While we're complaining about running backs, Malik Hooker twice hewed down De'Veon Smith in ways I did not think were possible for a safety. The first turned out to be a game changing play, as it came when Smith busted to the second level on a goal-to-go carry. As he did so I thought "YES!!!" because surely this was a touchdown; surely I had seen sufficient Smith-versus-secondary matchups to know that the two safeties coming in at an angle had precious little chance to shut Smith down without YAC.

And yet, Hooker did. Speight fumbled on the ensuing snap. That tackle is the play of the game, along with all the other ones.


[Patrick Barron]

Perry had a solid day. Grant Perry hadn't had much impact this year, in part due to a mid-season suspension. Against OSU he was open repeatedly and hit for several critical third down conversions. I expect his role will grow considerably next year as Jake Butt's third down skills head to the NFL.




Can't ask for more. Michigan's defense gave up approximately ten points in regulation. OSU had three field goal drives, two of which their kicker missed, and turned first and ten from the fifteen into a touchdown with assistance from a personal foul on Harbaugh. OSU averaged under 4 yards a play.

Confusion even in game 12. Only two things even slightly ground the ol' gears. One of them was Michigan's confusion at various points during the game. OSU motion was all too frequently met with cabinet meetings amongst the Michigan secondary.

A four-man box against an empty set could not have been correct; it resulted in a 41-yard Barrett draw/scramble. Noah Brown was provided a free first down late in the game when Michigan put two DBs over three WRs. A couple other times Michigan did not get aligned; those instances did not have straight lines between tempo and success but there was a definite correlation. Michigan's rampant pass rush was most frequently nerfed when Michigan could not get set up and fire off on the snap.

I spent the first half of this year cautioning about Don Brown's significant year one costs and hoping they would get fixed over the course of the season. They did. Michigan busts dropped to normal levels by midseason, and whatever confusion they suffered they issued as well. That was the case in this game; I still got a bit frustrated at various ??? moments on OSU motion.

The other thing that rankled. OSU's final drive of regulation did not see Michigan solve their problems with aggression. On one level, I get it. You've been dominant, Barrett's rattled, you're up three. It's a situation where caution is called for early. Once OSU hits midfield it's time to get aggressive, especially since Barrett has done so poorly with pressure. Michigan did not amp it up; they rushed four, played zone, and generally abandoned the approach that had seen them dominate three quarters of the game.

I've defended Harbaugh's approach in a number of games this year, and still think the Lloydball stuff from the offense was justified given game contexts. I absolutely do not get Michigan's passivity on the final drive. I mean, I do. I've seen it time and again.  I was hoping for something else.

Mone with a big play. Bryan Mone's hype petered out thanks to an early season injury; when he did play he was unimpressive, which stoked worries for next year. Watching him obliterate an OSU OL to stuff a third and short Weber run was the best and biggest play of his career to date; hopefully he can follow up on that next year.




PUNTAGEDDON. Put Indiana's punter on either of these teams and this is a 20-point game. Instead, Ron Coluzzi battled Ron Coluzzi atop Mount Puntlympus. Kenny Allen averaged 47 yards a kick with a 67-yarder and five punts inside the 20 against just one touchback, that on a super-long punt. OSU got one return in for two yards.

Cameron Johnston matched him with an average of 46 a pop, a long of 60, and one Peppers return for five yards. He also got run into, so he's got that going for him.

I can't wait to see the PFF grades. They might be positive.

They should get rid of running into the kicker. Roughing should stay. Every running into the kicker penalty I've seen is glancing contact that endangers nobody. Most of them feature the punter falling over theatrically. Running into the kicker is like the five-yard facemask penalty they got rid of a few years ago and should meet the same fate.

Jordan Glasgow, special teams, uh, specialist. The aftermath of OSU's fake punt was fascinating, as it quickly became apparent that Urban Meyer told the ESPN crew that they were going to going to run it against a certain Michigan formation no matter what. They got the formation, they ran it, and Jordan Glasgow stoned it. Glasgow set up outside, got off a block, got held, still got off that block, and make a tackle with help from Chris Wormley to turn OSU over on downs.

That was the most spectacular but far from the only excellent special teams play Glasgow's made over the last couple years. He's made a habit of hewing down kick returners. I wouldn't entirely rule him out from playing time on defense next year. 1) Is Glasgow, 2) you don't make that kind of consistent impact on special teams without being able to read a play and take on a block.



Peppers: quite good. His kick return to Ohio State territory after the pick six might have stood as Michigan's play of the game in the event of a win. Jourdan Lewis had a momentarily dangerous but ultimately unsuccessful KOR of his own on the last play of regulation, and for a second there I thought Peppers was running to get in a pitch relationship with Lewis; instead he blocked a guy.


At least we looked good. Can't say the same about OSU's rollerball-ass helmets.



This will console me. Yes.

Harbaugh was wrong about the facemask. Michigan was confused about the aftermath of the Cole facemask call, which ended up as a third and five instead of a first and ten. They were forced to call timeout, and Harbaugh got mad, which eventually ended up in that PF.

In this, at least, the refs were correct. The penalty was a live-ball foul. When it's a live-ball foul the ball is placed where it is after the penalty and then you either give or do not give the first down. If it was a dead ball foul, Michigan would have gotten the ball where Smith went out of bounds minus 15 yards and had first and ten. (This remains one of the oddest rules in football.)

I can only assume that Harbaugh thought the personal foul was something unsportsmanlike after the play because he'd never even thought a screen could see an OL attack the facemask of an opponent. I sure as hell didn't believe it until I saw it.

I don't think Michigan should get in the playoff. They are one of the four best teams. That shouldn't be enough. The committee needs to prioritize making regular season games really count or the whole fury of the regular season descends into a tepid simmer. I fully approve of the focus on championships and hope it would take something extraordinary for a non-champ to get in.

I'd go so far as to assert that Ohio State should not get in over Penn State. If Washington, Clemson, PSU, and Bama win their title games the playoff should be Bama, Clemson, Washington, and Penn State, in that order.


As mentioned, I think Santy's diary on the spot is the best possible analysis of a razor-close call.

Best And Worst:

Worst:  What Do You Think?

I'm broken.  I mean, not in a real sense:  I'm a grown-ass man with two kids, a beautiful wife, a fulfilling career, and my health (largely) still intact.  I don't have to worry about violent uprisings, disease, radioactive mosquitos, or alien invaders.  In the grand scheme of things, I'm doing fine.

But in sports terms, I'm as broken as Jeff Jarrett's guitar.  I guess I should be used to these types of games against OSU, but I'm not.  Games decided by last-second stands, crucial penalties, and terrible officiating are the norm in college sports, but it's only "chaos" when your passive bystander; when it's one of your teams, it's heartbreak.

Sten Carlson tries to offer some perspective:

I am usually not much for "Perspective Posts" after a loss, but in this instance I think it might be helpful.

24 months ago Michigan was sitting at 5-7 overall, and 3-5 in the Big 10.  Let that sink in for a moment ... and if it doesn't, continue reading.

Michigan started out with a hopeful 52-10 blowout of FCS App. St, only to follow it up with an embarassing 31-0 loss to ND in the last game of that storied rivalry.  Following this humilation, Michigan returned home to face the Miami (OH) Redhawks, whom they dispatched 34-10.  Ok, the ND game was an anomoly, just a bad game, we can overcome it, right?  Nope, the Utah Utes march into the Big House and promptly laid a 26-10 beatdown upon our beloved Wolverines.

Just went we thought things could not possibly get any worse, it seemed Hoke (and likely Brandon) had been listening to the fanbase's collective uproar for Shane Morris to replace Devin Gardner, and well ... it did not end well ... a 30-14 loss to Minnesota and of the oldest trophy in college football, Concussion-Gate, and another complete embarassment to the once proud program.

This was rock bottom, right?  Could it get worse than 2-3 and having Concussion-Gate splashed all over the media?  How's about a 26-24 loss to Rutgers (I mean seriously, FUCKING RUTGERS!!!!) in which we make the Scarlet Knights' inept QB look like freakin' Joe Tom Brady Montana as a salve for those wounds?  This HAD to be rock bottom, right?  Sitting at 2-4, and 0-2 in the Big 10, a ray of hope appeared through the clouds as Michigan was (somehow) able to knock off PSU 18-13, in kinda-sorta-not-so-much convincing fashion.  Hail, Hail ... a conference win!

The State of our Open Threads:

Let's start with something that won't shock anyone at all - we reached a season high for "fuck" and indeed, an all-time high for the four seasons that we've been going through this analysis now. No Ohio State game before yesterday, or indeed any game, can say that it resulted in 785 fucks in a game thread. That blows out the previous record, which was the Iowa game a couple week ago. It was also a season-high for shits given at 228, and that is also a high for shits given in the entire time that this analysis has been done. That won't shock anyone, or course - that was the most consequential game we have played in a long time, and I can only imagine the fucks and shits said aloud and off the record. I may have even contributed to the off the record total myself.....a lot.

CFP contenders breakdown. Going to take a lot.


Fuuuuuuuu. Michigan's win expectancy, per S&P+: 83%.

Genuinely Sarcastic has the various ref outrages catalogued. Bill Connelly on the game, if you can go back over it some more. Why the playoff should stick at four. RIP Doug Lesmerises's mentions. PFF grades:

Jekyll and Hyde from Wolverines offense

One of the big questions entering the game was where the Wolverines would generate offensive production from; would they need to play 30 snaps with Jabrill Peppers at quarterback? Ultimately, they didn’t and they exceeded many expectations for their production but came up short in key moments to clinch their victory their performance deserved. Amara Darboh came up with some big catches, including the overtime TD shaking Marshon Lattimore at the line to get open, but he dropped a pair of passes. Similarly, the ground game was nothing more than steady, keeping the Ohio State defense honest but failing to rip off more than one play of ten yards or more. Will this valiant defeat be enough to keep the Wolverines in the playoff picture?

Kyle Kalis and Tyrone Wheatley made the top five with grades of 54. Ugly all around.

Dr. Sap. TTB. Holdin' the Rope:

Never underestimate the rivalry's ability to find that spot, the one that hurts the most. A well-placed nudge to the unsuspecting elicits a yowl, a yelp, a cringing collapse on the floor.

Just when you thought the rivalry couldn't yield a more painful outcome, it did on Saturday, when No. 2 Ohio State bested No. 3 Michigan, 30-27, in double overtime. It was the first overtime game in the history of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, and thus presented Michigan with a chance to lose in a new way.

When the game ended, I quietly checked my phone for 10 minutes, taking in reactions from around the internet, positive and negative. But, eventually, I wondered if this game was even worth the consternation.

Hoover Street Rag:

In retrospect, they should have gone for two.  Speight wanted it.  It would have met with widespread approbation, win or lose, like a similar decision three years ago.  The defense was gassed because of the offense, led by the wounded Wilton Speight; one that managed five meager yards in the fourth quarter.  They had just found Amara Darboh in the back of the end zone at the end of the first overtime period.  But they did not, putting the game back on the offense and it nearly worked until Grant Perry was mugged on third down, forcing Michigan to settle for a field goal.

Orange Bowl the current best guess as to the bowl game. FSU or Louisville are potential matchups. Same. Embarrassed? Embarrassing would have been 3-9.



November 28th, 2016 at 4:29 PM ^


Florida got in over us in 2006 because they made their case long and loudly while we sat on our hands.  They didn't worry about who was "deserving".  

How quaint.

It's not up to us to decide that we don't deserve to be in. Make our strongest case through all channels possible, and then let the committee decide what to do with that.  

They don't really seem to be worshiping at the conference-champions alter right now, so it may work out for us.  We'll see.




I dumped the Dope

November 28th, 2016 at 2:35 PM ^

that the regular season games mean nothing if the CFP steps outside of the conference champs.  To be even considered for the "eyeball test", a team has to go out and thrash meh opponents and step up against big opponents.

There's always going to be chaos during the entire season where upsets happen and based on the random timing of said chaos, the committee would seem to try to make sense of these and smooth out the age-old "you lose a game you drop 5 spots".  I'm fine with the "4 best teams" mantra even if it excludes us.  There's a team of 12 opinions that have to mesh so its not a dictatorship.

I get that the decision to rely on conference champs excludes OSU and so might be good right now.  That seems safe and reasonable but not necessarily matchup the teams that are going to dogfight for 4 quarters and have the skills and wills to fight the entire time and not fold after one team gets the upper hand.

Re the future.  I completely agree that in status quo we are locked into passing on first down or perfect precision on 3rd down over and over.  I texted my Dad that to get to the next level the OL will have to play on a level not seen in recent history, and be a very serious threat to consistently grind 3-4 yards and not allow unblocked people into the backfield at times.  Forcing the defense to cheat the box opens up the outside, and makes play action actually freeze people who could get a jump.

The one thing I wish was different is I wish we could have gotten more out of Peppers.  We definitely used him all over and his skills made a solid difference, and I think it will pay dividends far into the future for elite athletes considering how they can fit the same mold, but I am wishing for it to be a Heisman-level performance, huge numbers INT, TFL, receptions, rushing and return yards.  I hope he becomes a name like Tom Brady in the nFL.



November 28th, 2016 at 2:38 PM ^

I think the thing that kills me is that it seems like every 10 years or so there is a truly great Michigan team. '97, '06, and '16. The '06 team was done in by the OSU game and a late hit penalty. This team was done in by some weird stuff at Kinnick and some mistakes/bad calls against Ohio State. They should've been playing for a conference and national championship this year, but instead will get to go stomp a mediocre FSU team at the Orange Bowl (probably).

Plus, the streak against the Buckeyes continues and it's just abysmal at this point. Hopefully, next year's team surpasses expectations.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 28th, 2016 at 2:48 PM ^

I think we'll see a number of Harbaugh teams that are as good as this one.  The defense might not ever be quite as strong, but the offense has a lot of room to grow.  Beating OSU is always going to be very difficult as long as Meyer is there, but I don't think we should expect to look back at this team as a once-in-a-decade group.  Imagine three years from now with a Harbaugh-recruited QB at the helm and an OL that belongs entirely to Drevno.


November 28th, 2016 at 3:13 PM ^

A) there are no NFLers on the '16 roster, yet, but give it time. B) The '16 offense dramatically outproduced the '97 offense however you want to quantify that - points, yards, etc.


November 28th, 2016 at 4:09 PM ^

Also, some of the future NFL talent in '97 was young - Hutchinson, Backus and Brandt were all starting as redshirt freshmen, for instance, and Anthony Thomas was a true freshman.



November 28th, 2016 at 4:07 PM ^

I think the thing that kills me is that it seems like every 10 years or so there is a truly great Michigan team. '97, '06, and '16

Don't quite agree here. 1999 and 2003 were also really good teams, and 2000 had the potential to be great but Henson's injury and a bad season from Jim Herrmann as DC held it back.

It's true that we had a hollow stretch between '06 and '16 but the coaching situation had a lot to do with that.

Durham Blue

November 28th, 2016 at 2:43 PM ^

The committee's job is to select the best four teams.  We not only beat PSU but demolished them removing any doubt whatsoever who the better team is.  I have a softer spot for Wiscy (if they win on Saturday) since we played to the death and emerged victorious.


Rest of FBS world be damned.  If PSU wins AND Clemson OR Washington lose on Saturday, I fully expect Michigan to be in the top 4.  The only way I would accept PSU jumping us is if they won by 14 or more points.  Then again I would be reluctant because Horningbrook might not even play.  So there's that part of it too.


November 28th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

I foolishly feared you would be sucked into the woe is us and apologist mentalities of so many on this blog. However, with a surgeon's coolness you cut to the heart of the matter of this Game, status of the program, and goals for the college football playoff. I truly appraciate not only the concise analysis, but the leadership you provide to the group in times of despair.

On another note, it happens every year, Clemson and/or Washington are going to lose to their underdog opponent on a neutral site.  There is also no way I see psu beating Wisconsin.



November 28th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

I'm going to be THAT guy and risk getting banned again, but here it goes.

I am semi-disappointed that Brian did not use his increased public image (who has more frequently been used as sources of information and/or discussion starters in places like Yahoo Sports and ESPN) to draw attention to not just the terrible missed calls but also the background of the referrees - even moreso the background as that has grounds for giving reason as to why the missed calls were so one-sided.

I'm totally in agreement with the fact that Michigan made mistakes that had a costly impact on the overall outcome of the game and allowed the refs to make more impactful calls that ultimately resulted in a win for OSU. I totally agree. Those mistakes were costly, and if even one of them wouldn't have happened then the outcome probably would have been different.

However, in no way or fashion should a game ever be called by individuals with direct ties to one team or the other - This is unacceptable, which makes the loss that much more painful. I will say that I am not in depression over this game, and while still angry I am mostly grounded with real reason. And also, I do not expect anything good to come of anything. I am not waiting in hope for the committee to just pretend the outcome never happened and allow for two Big 10 teams to make the playoffs without even attending the Conference Championship. I do not expect it to happen, so for the most part I am moving on.

I do want there to be some accountability for the Big 10 officials and also for the Director of Officiating who allowed/hired those refs to call The Game. Even if it wasn't "The Game," refs of any game should not be allowed to call a game to which they have direct ties to one of the two teams. I don't even care if there was a ref tied to Michigan in that game to offset the dude(s) who were "diehard" OSU fans. It shouldn't be allowed under any circumstance, and therefore it should be called out. The calls were so badly one-sided that the background of these refs just makes the calls even that more infuriating - there is very solid evidence to determine that some of the calls or no-calls were made because of their fandom. There truly is, and even if it isn't true you still couldn't prove otherwise.

That information needs to get National attention if not only for the fact that in future games these things should be scrutinized to pieces to assure that this doesn't happen again. Brian would have been an excellent source to push that forward up the chain.

I am not calling Brian out here and saying he said or did the wrong things or that his reaction in this post is incorrect - it is not incorrect, and in fact it is the best possible reasoning to allow for moving on from that crap game in a more timely fashion. I'm just ultimately a little bummed that it did not happen. And maybe this post wasn't the time to make that argument. It is, after all, a game Summary of sorts. I do hope that Brian would still consider posting something of sorts with a plethora of evidence with video of all the missed calls (on both sides) just to prove how ridiculously terrible the refs were. You could add in information from other games and even further the evidence that there needs to be a change in refereeing as far as salary/pay and accountability for missed calls. More accountability needs to be in place, and Brian has a say in that.

This is just my opinion, and I appreciate all the incredible work these guys do on this site as I truly believe Brian has earned the reputation he has over the course of time because of not only how excellent of a writer he is but also his ethical integrity with what he chooses to put out there. I believe, however, Brian has the public image to be able to make this conversation bigger.

That is all. Sorry for the diary, but I wasn't going to post my hot takes in a new thread.


November 28th, 2016 at 4:20 PM ^

I understand that he did, but my hope is that a bigger post is made that isn't buried in the overall message of a game summary. This is the kind of thing that deserves its own topic that should be blasted all over the media. It needs the attention of the National media, and that kind of sub-drop in the middle of an article like this will not cause any kind of stir. And it was clear that his intentions were not to focus on that stuff, which is fine in this context of a post.

Again, I'm not saying that that should 100% be the focal point of the loss with no mention of our own mistakes. There is a need for a Game Summary afterall that covers more than just the mistakes made by the referees and their background stories. However, there is a definite need for the Media to get a hold of this in order to not only blast the refs for their mis-calls but also the Big 10 for allowing those refs to be in charge of a game like that. That requires more than just a three sentence paragraph. And it also requires a very serious argument with pure defined evidence to bring to light the actually consequence of those calls/no-calls. It needs media attention. The refereeing itself is getting worse or at least more obviously poor in quality with all the camera angles we now have, and more accounability is needed to make sure these kindo of mistakes are mitigated.


November 28th, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

When you have such a controversial game involving dealings with the Big Ten head of officiating, shouldn't our AD be stepping forward?

Here are some questions I think our fan base needs asked by our AD and have answered by the league office:


1. By who and how was this officiating crew selected? Merit? OSU paraphenalia in their house?

2. Did the league office forget that it had fired the head referee at some point in the past?

3. If the referee was "rehired" what was his evaluation process?

4. At least one member of the officiating crew was not allowed to work Ohio State games in the past due to perceived bias - why was this changed? By whom?

5. Are there repercussions for poorly officiated games? League investigations? Are these ever made public?

6. Will the head of Big Ten officiating be fired?


There may be other pertinent questions, but in Bo's day, when these things happened - and they did happen - it seemed at a certain point Don Canham stepped in and took over once it became a Big Ten issue.


Where is our AD?


November 28th, 2016 at 3:03 PM ^

I appreciate the "persepctive" post about where we are now versus 2 years ago.  But I'll tell you this:  logically, yes, we are in a better position now than 2 years ago.  Yes, in  my rational mind I'm glad we have Harbaugh and I'm much happier generally with our team now in 2016 and looking forward than I was two years ago.  But I'll also say this:  I FEEL worse.  Why?

Because now I care again.

My mind is now awake to having actual feelings about college football.  This is a necessary precondition to feeling joy and exhilaration, but it also puts one at risk for being outraged at games like Saturday.



Dallas Walmart…

November 28th, 2016 at 3:01 PM ^

"I'd go so far as to assert that Ohio State should not get in over Penn State. If Washington, Clemson, PSU, and Bama win their title games the playoff should be Bama, Clemson, Washington, and Penn State, in that order."

Presumably, you think PSU over OSU because they beat OSU, and therefore if Wisconsin wins you think OSU should be in?  Doesn't that logic mean that regardless of who wins the B1G championship, M should be in?  They beat both PSU and Wisconsin, after all.   

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 28th, 2016 at 3:05 PM ^

LSU lost two games in 2007 to Kentucky and Arkansas, one at home, and was put in the BCS final.

If the CFP committee stays true to its mandate and picks the best four teams in the country, one will be Michigan.  We have three wins over top 10 teams and a highly dubious loss on the road to a fourth.

The conference championships don't have the weight Brian puts on them, because of unbalanced conference schedules, unbalanced divisions, and conference championship games.  We had to crossover against Wisky and at Iowa.  And Penn State didn't really "win" the East; they won a tiebreaker.  We beat both them and Wisconsin, one very handily, are better than both of them, and have a better body of work than both of them.  Which means we should go over them.  

The literate alums in the fanbase really need to drop the Midwestern guilt thing and stop worrying so much about benefitting from  "unearned" and "undeserved" things.(*)  Is Michigan a better football team than Penn State and Wisconsin?  Than Colorado?   The answer is "Yes," right?  That's all that matters.

(*) Particularly since it's not as though abjuring earns you special objectivity "points" you can later cash in.  We got hosed in 2006 because no one wanted to campaign.  Where's the payoff?


November 28th, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

I put just as much blame on him for the pick-6 for needlessly running into the kicker (given hyper-sensitivities resulting from Iowa game issues) as the blocking on the actual pick-6 play. Lost ~20 yards due to a better second punt, and added to our D's fatigue (which is what ultimately killed us in this game).

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 28th, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

Washington has a singularly unimpressive body of work in a mediocre conference.  If they squeak by Colorado in the final, I see no reason they should automatically be assumed to be in the playoff as opposed to two-loss teams with much stronger schedules.  The CFP wasn't supposed to work that way, nor did the late-era BCS work that way.

The idea that a Pac-12 champ who played Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State nonconference, and lost a home conference game by two TDs, should have effectively an autobid is nonsense.


November 28th, 2016 at 3:19 PM ^

The Genuinely Sarcastic piece made me feel better.  When Jim gets "his guys" things are going to get ugly in C-Bus.  A lot of people are talking about the QB situation, but once we get a Harbaugh O-Line the excellent QB play will be the cherry on top of running power down other teams' throats.


November 28th, 2016 at 9:34 PM ^

we had our guys.  this may be the best D we see for the next generation. it was truly awesome. unfortunately, shitty non penalties, horrible dropped passes (butt and darbo dropped more this year than their entire career combined), bad deep passes, and horrible luck kept this team from a 12-0 season.

it sucks, but next year is a rebuilding year. hopefully 2018 and beyond will keep us in the hunt.


November 28th, 2016 at 3:21 PM ^

"Michigan had their chances". Well, so did OSU - an INT, a bad fake punt, two missed FGs, missed nearly every open receiver they had, failed to get any big plays other than the 41 yard Barrett scramble. So by the "you made enough mistakes to make the refs matter" logic, OSU didn't "deserve" a win either.

Fact was it played out as a tight game decided by multiple 50-50 calls, and some calls that shouldn't be 50-50 at all, all favoring the Buckeyes. The zebras decided the outcome, and it took multiple bad calls for that to be true, not just one or two "could go either way" opportunites.


November 28th, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

I am not sure what "it" is because it always seems to be a collection of supposedly small incidents in the last few minutes of games that generate our losses. Not a need for glorious plays, but basic execution in every context.

Just run the ball for a couple of 1st downs, throw/catch relatively simple passes, avoid a late face ask at Iowa, Higdon keeps his footing vs MSU, holding call on Samuel's 3rd down run, cover Wady as the only receiving option, good punt snap, catch & punt, no interference on Hill, etc.

They just don't have "it" in the late moments. It's not choking because it's not a matter of huge mistakes (punt tossed to MSU aside) but multiple almosts. It's not simple bad luck because it takes a long string of apparently small near misses to culminate in heartbreaking loss snatched from the jaws of victory.

Maybe the team needs a few more elite playmakers to make those decisive plays at crucial points. Maybe the team just needs to learn how to win championships after JH taught them to win regularly after years of trudging thru mediocrity with RichRod and Hoke. Maybe they're spent after competing so hard for 3.5 quarters to build hard-fought leads to run out of gas late in the contest.

We need "it" because these losses are too painful and it's only year two.


November 28th, 2016 at 5:15 PM ^

Very well said. It's what really bothered me about this game was how similar the feeling was to Iowa and other close games we've had. We get late in the game or in big moments and it seemed to just melt away from us and each play/moment seemed to not go in our favor, and each moment compounded the others until we were stuck underneath the weight and could not get free. Small plays, back to back. Small penalties back to back. Inability to get turn-overs. Inability to turn big plays into game changing drives/touchdowns. That's what was so disappointing is that it was the same sequencing as Iowa, end of MSU this year, Wisconsin this year (until the Catch), MSU last year. I hope this does not become Harbaugh's calling card. From his previous stops, it does not seem like it will, but it certainly has with these last two teams. 


November 28th, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

I know we aren't going to the playoffs, but I don't see how you can say that we are one of the best 4 teams in the country but we shouldn't make the playoffs. The whole point of a selection committee of humans is the select the 4 best teams in the country. If we are of the 4 best teams then we should go no matter how the regular season ended.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 28th, 2016 at 4:12 PM ^

The whole point of a selection committee of humans is the select the 4 best teams in the country.

That's the whole problem right there . . . we don't know if that is indeed their intent.

And it depends on how you define "best 4".  Best 4 right now - the 4 teams that you think would beat every other team if they played right now regardless of what happened in Sep / Oct / early Nov?

Or "best 4" based on resume and body of work over a full season.

These are not the same thing, and emphasizing one over the other gives you a very different answer.

If it's "best 4" right now, you are picking from a list that includes Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and USC. 

It it's "best 4" body of work, you are picking from a list that includes Alabama, Clemson, PSU/Wisc/OSU, Washington/Colorado.

I don't know why the committee doesn't just tell us what they weight more heavily.  

The NCAA basketball committee is very clear about this.  They constantly refer to "body of work".  They've made it clear that winning your conference is just a piece of the info.  It does not drive the decision.  You can be a 1 seed and not win your conference.  You can win and not be in the top seeds.  Happens all the time.

The football committee refuses to be as transparent as the basketball committee.  Their obfuscation makes it look like they want to just make it up as they go.  They don't want to be pinned down. 

But that kind of arbitrary capriciousness is just a reversion to BCS / polls crap.  They were specifically created to avoid this.



November 28th, 2016 at 3:33 PM ^

It's totally legit to say that conference championships should count for more than just a little, that they should be the preeminent criteria . . . you need a stunningly compelling reason not to take a conference champion, such as VA tech winning the ACC or FL winning the SEC.

But if you are going to do that, you need to:

1) Articulate that up front, before any votes are even taken.  It's not the kind of thing you need to be coy and sly about.  Just come out and say it.

2) Be consistent.  If that is your approach then there is no way a team like Ohio State should make it in over a Big Ten champion Penn State since PSU met the preeminent criteria - conference championship - and beat Ohio State head to head.  

Don't try to have it both ways . . . "best 4 eye test" and / or conference championships, depending on the mood.  Just making it up as you go is what the CFP committee was supposed to resolve in the first place.

I suspect that the CFP committee has not adopted the conference-championship-preeminence approach, based on locking themselves into a box and keeping Ohio State at #2 for 2 weeks even though OSU is out of the running for even the division championship.

That we are still not really sure is not a good sign this late in the season, but it bodes well for Michigan's chances this year.

This CFP committee approach and ambiguity is a wrong the needs to be righted!

Um, next year.


Ed Shuttlesworth

November 28th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

Michigan "did make the play it needed to make when this huge game was on the line," but unfortunately the refs spotted the ball a foot and a half forward from where it should have been spotted.

Gob Wilson

November 28th, 2016 at 3:47 PM ^

I started going to UM games in 1960's (with my dad, and my grandfather who played for UM) and this last OSU game was one of the top five disappointments in that span. Still, we need to move on and celebrate that the future is ours. We will get our revenge. And it's going to be sweet.

If we make the CFP this year I will rejoice but I am not counting on it. Otherwise. I hope we play the SEC runner up. I want to kick the living daylights out of them. Then I am going to get ready for next year. If you want to look at what the OL will do next year and in 2018 read "rags to roses" about Harbaugh's 4 years at Stanford. We are going to run the ball and it is going to be devestating. Hail Michigan!


Har Bro

November 28th, 2016 at 3:50 PM ^

Anyone else remember the CFP Committee / NCAA getting raked over the coals for the low semi-finals TV ratings last year?  They have the same New Years Eve problem again this year before the semi-final games move to January 1st in 2018.

One thing could solve that problem for them...  an OSU / UM semi-final rematch.  The ratings would be off the charts.  Its a long-shot, but if both Washington and Clemson lose, I bet this is exactly what happens. 

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 28th, 2016 at 3:53 PM ^

Getting advantaged by beating Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State is not an example of the "regular season mattering."  It's exactly the opposite.

It's amazing (or some other word or collection of words) how Michigan, alone amongst the bigtime college football fanbases, goes completely silent and guilty about politicking for the playoff after a game that they basically won on the road against a Top 2 team was taken away from them by a referee's lame spot.  Does anyone think Urban Meyer, or Nick Saban, or Les Miles or their teams' fanbases and administrations would be this passive and guilty under similar circumstances?

Brian's main theme when we hired Rodriguez, and correctly so, was that he and we wanted to compete with the Alabamas of the world in the newly nationalized college football scene and needed a more modern, less provincial approach to do so.  Well, here's a newsflash:

"Competing" means advocating that your clearly playoff-worthy team be ... you know ... put in the playoff.


November 28th, 2016 at 4:00 PM ^

They should get rid of running into the kicker. Roughing should stay. Every running into the kicker penalty I've seen is glancing contact that endangers nobody. Most of them feature the punter falling over theatrically. Running into the kicker is like the five-yard facemask penalty they got rid of a few years ago and should meet the same fate.

But keep in mind, by eliminating the 5-yard facemask they made every facemask infraction a 15-yarder. It's not that they're now letting more go. If you get rid of running into the kicker it would be the same, I assume - every bit of contact would become a personal foul.