Whatever Comment Count

Brian January 2nd, 2018 at 10:06 AM

1/1/2018 – Michigan 19, South Carolina 26 – 8-5, end of season


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

I don't know how people get mad about this shit still. I just turn off, because for the last decade Michigan football has been either a disappointment or in a brief interim period that sets you up to be disappointed. But yes many many people still get fucking furious about Michigan football for some reason.

I'm tired of talking about it. I'm tired of this cycle that always seems to be at the bottom. I'm tired of this toxic-ass fanbase screaming at stuff. I could muster some takes, I guess, but I've already said them and anyway they seem beside the point. December was nice since it lacked football. 2018, so far, is bad because it had football.

In a situation like that I'd rather not talk about football. Especially because I have nothing left to say. Maybe it'll be better next year. Maybe it won't. Either way it's a meaningless distraction on the way to the grave. Eat at Arby's.



January 2nd, 2018 at 4:33 PM ^

because they had a bunch of backup OLs, WRs and Peters who hasn't master the whole scheme. They had to pare it down so they can execute the basic base schematic plays, but it also made it easier for the defense to scout and defend if they know what to defend.

There is a reason why Speight won the starting job over O'Korn and Peters. He's a better QB and knows the scheme inside and out. You can see the whole playbook with Speight on the field. More intermediate, deep shots with more varied run plays. If he had a full compliment of OL from the middle of the season (Cole, Bredeson, Kugler, Ruiz and JBB) that started to open holes on run games that allowed Higdon and Evans to run wild on deense, Michigan would've fare MUCH better. Losing Speight is a huge blow for 2018 season and Harbaugh knows it. His first big mistake was pushing for a QB competition when Speight is a successful returning starter that led Michigan to double digit wins and NY6 Bowl game.

Chilly Willy

January 2nd, 2018 at 12:20 PM ^

It's funny that we're going to be hearing about the McKeon handoff being the worst play call in the history of organized sports for the next 6+ months. Had it resulted in anything but a turnover, it would have been long been forgotten.
No sane person expected a dominant offense this year, especially after losing Speight.
In reality the defense met, or exceeded, expectations. We were competitive in every game with the exception of Penn State. Almost everyone credible called for a regular season in the 9-3 to 7-5 range. 
Not bad for a reload.


January 2nd, 2018 at 2:36 PM ^

We didn't have a VETERAN QB...itd have been Speight but he got hurt, and then they parted ways. Now we went with a frosh QB. and that is what happens. Sparty went through it last year with a young Lewerke. Had Speight not gotten hurt wed have beat MSU and OSU. YEP. Now we took a step back going youth QB. but are about to take a big one forward with PATTERSON.


January 2nd, 2018 at 5:48 PM ^

Patterson is not our savior.  Remember when O'Korn sucked and everyone said bring in Peters so he can save the season. Uh, that didn't happen. Patterson's success is based off flimsy evidence at best.  Look at who he beat when he played.  He is O'Korn all over again. Gunslinger with poor mechanics and footwork.  We need to work with what we have and the players need to step up. Harbaugh needs to cut out the coach speak when addressing the media. Look what happened when Zordich called out his DB's.  They players didnt like it, took it to heart and were lights out. Harbaugh should come out and say we suck and players are not living up to their potential. I would like honesty and I think the fanbase would appreciate that.  Lastly we expected to win under Harbaugh, there is a difference between expecting to win and actually winning. We can say expect to win but we aren't doing anything right to win. I would yank all of these stupid trips ie Rome and some damn high school in FL and get to down to business.  Stop using it has a recruting tool and make wins your recruiting tool.  All this does is make kids feel entitled and yet not one player has earned it yet by winning on the field. Our coaches down to our players are entitled and we need to stop and get down to becoming simple again. Keep it simple Stupid.


January 2nd, 2018 at 5:28 PM ^

Nobody can be logically happy about this year and the way it ended.


We were legitimately a fucking terrible team in Hoke's last year and this season projected to have a pretty bare cupboard because of it. Notre Dame had Holtz, who went 9-2 most years, and they forced him out. They'd kill for that year in, year out consistency today.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:41 PM ^

I'm not sure if people forget where the program was before Harbaugh. I think it's more that people aren't living in a bubble. They see what Michigan's main rivals are doing. They view Michigan as being equal to (Ohio State) or better than (MSU) them and wonder what is wrong with the program. 

Would we be as quick to be disappointed with th first three years of Harbaugh if we weren't watching Ohio State and Michigan State in the midst of the greatest periods of their respective programs? (I didn't look up if this is accurate, but it has to be close to being true). 

Penn State just returned from the most heinous cover up in college football history to have back-to-back years better than any back-to-back Michigan years in recent history.

Penn State also should be proof that any program with the $$$ and the right coach can return to prominence.

I don't really have a point as to whether this is the right or wrong mentaility. I'm certainly frustrated by Michigan turning into overall into an above average to average program. And, unfortunately, it's starting (for me) to reach the point where I just assume Michigan won't return to being one of the elite programs in the country. 

If I read the last two paragraphs in this my post they're completely opposite. Penn State is proof that any program can overcome anything. And I feel that Michigan never will get it turned back around. 

Being a fan makes people irrational (me included)








January 2nd, 2018 at 11:51 AM ^

Clemson went 4-3 (partial year), 9-5, 6-7 under Swinney in his first 3 years, then they had 5 years of 10-14 wins before winning the National Championship.  Harbaugh has had 2 10 win seasons then a bad 8 win season.  When Saban retires Alabama will never have another run like that, hes the one of the best college football coaches of all time.

"Fan expectations" have nothing to do with the success of those teams.  In fact, the Michigan fanbase's unreasonable expectations have been the downfall of this program. 


January 2nd, 2018 at 3:59 PM ^

Look at who Clemson beat and how they lost when they did in those first three years.  And then look at the end of year three, and you'll see that Dabo was squarely in the hot seat going into year 4.  In year 4, he won the conference championship.  Had he gone 6-6, 7-5 (with a loss the Carolina), or 8-4 (with a loss to Carolina) again, he would've been tossed.  


If you're using Clemson's and Dabo's success, you have to be even handed.  Harbaugh had a better record through 3ish years than Dabo did.  But Clemson beat their biggest rival at least once, beat a top 10 team on the road, won some bowl games, and lost closely to the eventual national champion and their division champion in his crappy 2010 year.


January 3rd, 2018 at 9:48 AM ^

Jeebus, Dabo won the conference in his first full season and in his 3rd, we have yet to sniff better than third in the division.  Also, Dabo was a position coach prior to coaching there, JH had the resume of what he did at Stanford and SF.  To expect JH to go through the same pains as Dabo is ridiculous.  It is not an even handed comparison, JH already had a stacked deck for him with his coaching experience and resume.  He is paid at an elite level with Urbs and Satan, we should expect elite results.


January 2nd, 2018 at 2:08 PM ^

Sign me up.  100 total wins, 3 conference titles, 3-6 against OSU, and 8-3 against your in-state rival in 11 years.  I'll take that in a heartbeat.


In comparison to our 11 year record of 83 wins, 1-10 against OSU, and 3-8 against MSU without so much as even tieing for a division title, we aren't ones to be pooh poohing Dantonio's success.  Especially given the tire-fire he inherited from the post saban John L Smith fallout.  I'd love it if in 11 years Harbaugh has been able to replicate Dantonio's success.


January 2nd, 2018 at 2:12 PM ^

I try not to complain about firing Harbaugh when he loses to rivals, because he’s been close in most of the games. I’m still not taking 3-6 against our rivals. Michigan needs to be at least 5-5 against MSU and OSU by year 5’s end. I’m never going to settle as a fan for being okay with being equal to Michigan State. I want Harbaugh to earn his pay by being the best, and by him getting the best out of his players. This year was a small step back with youth—next year DPJ, Black and Collins better make this a lights out offense. Too much talent to achieve less.

No more excuses of inexperience or needing his players. One of those dudes needs to show up like a Manningham/Terrell/Streete/Howard/Carter. These are 4 and 5 Star guys. DPJ needs to focus on just WR. I’m not sure why he was stretched thin with PR duty—should’ve been given to Ambry or McDoom. Surely his muffs were no better than they could’ve done.


January 2nd, 2018 at 3:31 PM ^

To be fair I said I'd be happy if we were 8-3 against msu by the end of year 11 in harbaugh's tenure. 


We are 21-26-2 (44.9%) against OSU since Bo took over.  Since Fritz Crisler won the national title in 1947 we are 29-38-3 (43.6%) against OSU.  


We are 31-18 (63.3%) against MSU since Bo took over.  Since Fritz Crisler won the national title in 1947 we are 37-31-2 (54.3%) against MSU


Expecting a .500 record against OSU and MSU is within the long term macro trends of the rivalries.  Although for the last 70 years we are losing overall to osu.



January 2nd, 2018 at 12:54 PM ^

The answer - if you are a true Wolverine fan is for as long as it takes.  All the bellyaching makes me a bit sick.  Who is better that we are going to get?  There are maybe 3 or 4 coaches that I would put above Harbaugh in pure skill - Saban, Meyer, Swinney???  How many of them are coming to Michigan with the fire and passion he has for his alma mater?  I think you have underestimated the effects of the Hoke/Rich Rod years and what needs to be changed.  I was never against Rich Rod, but he made changes to the culture.  Hoke tried unsuccessfully to bring it back to the Bo style.  Harbaugh will figure it out. As a true Wolverine fan from just outside of Columbus Ohio I have faith in him and will support him or whomever is the coach. I  have faith in Harbaugh the same why I did as a kid in Ohio that he would beat OSU with clutch passes to Kolesar.    


January 2nd, 2018 at 12:54 PM ^

The answer - if you are a true Wolverine fan is for as long as it takes.  All the bellyaching makes me a bit sick.  Who is better that we are going to get?  There are maybe 3 or 4 coaches that I would put above Harbaugh in pure skill - Saban, Meyer, Swinney???  How many of them are coming to Michigan with the fire and passion he has for his alma mater?  I think you have underestimated the effects of the Hoke/Rich Rod years and what needs to be changed.  I was never against Rich Rod, but he made changes to the culture.  Hoke tried unsuccessfully to bring it back to the Bo style.  Harbaugh will figure it out. As a true Wolverine fan from just outside of Columbus Ohio I have faith in him and will support him or whomever is the coach. I  have faith in Harbaugh the same why I did as a kid in Ohio that he would beat OSU with clutch passes to Kolesar.    

Ghost of Fritz…

January 2nd, 2018 at 11:17 AM ^

I doubt there is someone better than JH to be the coach at Michigan.  Anyone who wants him to leave is...out of their mind.


1.  JH had a bad year.  The staff changes he made backfired.  Terrible offensive game plans and situational in-game calls.  You can blame Pep/Drev, but JH is the head coach, so it really goes to him.

The best admit mistakes and then learn from them.  Hopefully, JH will do that during the off season. 

2.  If for whatever reason JH were to leave (burnout or whatever), Wisconsin is a good example of a program that survived three coaching changes in less than 6 years (plus DC Aranda leaving) and came out the better for it. 

So, while JH is the best guy for Michigan, it is also true that there are plenty of other guys that could do very well at Michigan, too. 

How much of genius was Dantonio after 3-9?  Now the press loves him again.  What about Meyer after his 5 loss season at Florida?  Turns out it was a bad year where (among other things) he did not have a good QB for his system.  Yet he is still a top coach (booo!).  Dabo Swinney?  He had a lot of unimpressive years before Clemson turned the corner to be a consistent playoff contender.

Does this mean there is nothing to worry about?  No.  Clearly there are real problems and JH needs to make some changes.  But he probably will and this can still work out the right way.



January 2nd, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

Totally agree with your sentiment there.  My concern is the schedule next year is brutal, our team could take a big step forward and still finish in the 8-5 zone and then the crazies calling for JH's head will really pick up.  That kills our recruiting classes for and sets up a make or break 2019 season.


January 2nd, 2018 at 12:03 PM ^

"...there are plenty of other guys that could do very well at Michigan..."

Plenty is generally considered to mean a large number. So okay name me seven coaches who today fit this criteria. Available today, who Michigan could reasonably expect to sign.

One of the things that got us the seasons from 2008-2014, perhaps the primary thing, was assumptions like this one. I suppose you need to define "do very well" since at many quality programs 28 wins in a coach's first three seasons would be considered to be doing very well.


January 2nd, 2018 at 12:34 PM ^

There are a lot of guys who could potentially do very well at Michigan but if you are looking for seven BIG name coaches, then yes, there aren't that many.  But since everyone wants to reference Clemson, Dabo Swinney had never been more than a position coach prior to taking over as the Head Coach at Clemson.  Michigan could go out and hire some no name assistant or head coach at a lower level (a la Jim Tressel) and yes, there are a lot of those guys who would love the opportunity if Michigan came knocking.  With all of that being said, I still think Harbaugh is the right guy for the job. However, this year there were some serious issues on his side of the ball.

Ghost of Fritz…

January 2nd, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

I believe JH is the best guy to lead Michigan football.  He is a great coach. But he is not the only guy that could have big success at Michigan. 

I do not need to name 7 coaches that I believe could be a sucess at Michigan.  Why?  Because then we go down the rabbit hole of debating whether I am right/wrong about some name or names on that list.  And that is not the point.

My point was that even though JH is a great coach for Michigan, there are others who could also do very well. 

There are a decent number of current HCs at places without any of the tradition/resource/brand advantages of Michigan that have been hard working, good motivators, good at game planning, have turned losers into winners, etc., etc. 

I don't need to debate you on the list of names for the general proposition to be true. 



January 2nd, 2018 at 1:40 PM ^

I wanted to see who was on it, or if you were making an assertion for which you had not thought out your back up. Rather than suggesting that you have no backup, I'd still be interested in examples of who you think are among the plenty of guys who could do well as Michiga's head football coach. 

I'm even more interested in your definition of doing well at Michigan, because as I said I think that Harbaugh's performance to date would be considered to be doing well at most good programs that create red as badly as Michigan did prior to his arrival. 

I repeat. I'm not looking for an internet fight here. I'm interested in your thinking in support of your stated position. As in having a conversation. As in seeking enlightenment.  

Ghost of Fritz…

January 2nd, 2018 at 3:44 PM ^

of doing well at M:  Have Michigan as a top ten team after the first Saturday in November most years.  The rest--beating OSU enough, Big Ten CC, and getting into the playoff--would also happen if M is ranked in the top ten most years in mid-November.   That is what JH was hired to do. 

Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma this year is a good example of what I am talking about.  He is a smart football mind that would not have been on the short list for an blue blood program HC job last January. He got the job due to Stoops retiring last June.  Before Stoops retired, he was the OC at Oklahoma for just one year.  Before that he was at East Caolina.  Just a really smart football mind. 

Riley would not leave for Michigan (or anywhere else).  But it is just an example that shows that there are guys that really good/smart coaches that are OCs right now or HCs at lesser schools that could have a lot of success at Michigan.  Guys that are not really on any blue blood HC vacancy short list. 

Those guys are out there.  Whether  the Michigan AD could identify them...maybe.  No guarantee.  Almost all coaching hires are a roll of the dice.

But my main point is that JH is a great coach, but he is not the only guy out there that could take Michigan to a really high level. 

Given where Michigan was in Hoke's final season, I think JH did a really good job in the first two years.  But he made some serious misteps this year that contributed to an 8-5 record and a terrible showing in the bowl game.  

No one can convince me that the Pep/Drev/JH combo combining to produce the no. 96 offense this year is mosty about youth.  Youth could justify finishing as the no. 45 offense.  The rest is on coaching staff dysfunction. 




January 3rd, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

I agree with your defnition of doing well. 

So did Oklahoma more or less stumble on Lincoln Riley because he was OC? Or do you think that Stoops, intending to retire, found him and brought him there for a smooth transition? I ask because, as you point out, how is Michigan's AD going to identify coaches who are more or less under the radar? 


January 2nd, 2018 at 12:08 PM ^

the last three of this season. And in each game, they held the lead late or could have won, and didn't. The same scenario did not play out in his first year when Michigan had its most experienced quarterback to date, even though he was a first-year starter at Michigan.

You win at all levels of football with great quarterbacking no matter how the games are gameplanned and plays are called. You win when you limit mistakes and take advantage of your opponent's errors and beat their coverage. In short, you win when you make plays.

If you can't make them, it doesn't matter what the call is or isn't, because you always try to gameplan based on what your personnel can do best. If they aren't competent enough to consistently produce yardage based on your basic offense, how then do you expect more exotic play calls to work? We saw what happened when using the wrong personnel for a basic play can have disastrous consequences. 

And the gameplan and play calls for Ohio State and Wisconsin led to Michigan leads in those games when executed. So  yesterday's gameplan with a quarterback with limited startng experence who hadn't played a game in nearly two months after being knocked groggy and put into concussion protocol, missing the OSU game, was apparently reduced.   

Yesterday, this same qb was working behind an even more improvised lineup without two Oline starters who played every other game. The gameplan and play calling were dumbed down because of those factors, in my opinion. It doesn't explain every call that was made, but Peters wasn't exactly on top of his game, either.

It was an exhibition game that mattered in the growth of the program as as all games matter. If you want to bitch about Harbaugh's record, go ahead. But the fact is that his team's compete and he's never had the benefit of a multi-year starter at quarterback that he haxn't imported to get his program jump-started. He played three qbs this year and brought in a new one for next year, already. He recruits long-armed tall secondary prospects to negate a problem in safety coverage to deal with one major chink in his team's  defensive armor.

He needs to find a quarterback who can make plays and win, consistently, against all of Michigan's rivals, whether home or away, and won'ty shrink under the pressure of that expectation.

He doesn't rest on what's transpired. His staff has changed every year and will again this year as it must with departures and evaluations. I hate losing like everyone else, but if your career is based on record-keeping, you are always competing and looking for an edge to win and improve.



January 2nd, 2018 at 3:48 PM ^

Your comment about having to have a great QB to win in college, I think is partially true (more true in today’s NFL). There has to be a basic level of competency. But there are tons of examples of teams over the years who have won with competent but not great QB’s. FSU with Wenke, Alabama with McElroy, Texas with Applewhite, Michigan with Navarre, etc. It is equally true, an amazing QB can completely carry a team in college, Vick at VT, RG3 at Baylor, Jackson at Louisville last year, etc.

Your comment also made me curious about Baker Mayfield and Trace McSorley. Arguable two QB’s who carried their teams the past two seasons. Baker was a low 3 star recruit to Texas Tech and McSorley was a low 3 star (and tack on QB behind a higher rated guy). Which leads me to wonder, where is Harbaugh’s QB? I get missing in year one of recruiting. He should have been able to find his guy in year two. Is McCaffery that guy? We don’t know. Don Brown seems to really like him. To me, that is the great concern, after three years, we have yet to see a glimpse of a QB on the roster who is ready to step in and lead.


January 2nd, 2018 at 12:47 PM ^

This!  Such a good point.  The Wisconsin example didn't sit right with me until I saw your post.  Alvarez has been a major point of stability and program identity.

During our coaching searches, we had Dave Brandon.  I think people forget  we are still recovering from the DB debacle.  


January 2nd, 2018 at 2:46 PM ^

No..the REAL debacle is on Bill Martin and Carr. He stayed on two extra years and we lost our advantage.  It killed us.  Then RR. Brandon is an assignment, but was in an impossible spot.  I don't think Harbuagh was coming then despite what he implies. He was not gonna leave Stanford to come here.  Going pro was the logical thing but no way he ditches his team for another college team.  Brandon was forced to remove RR and yes the hire could have been better but who???  Miles used us to get a bigger contract.  Things could be worse, but I doubt it.  Hoke was a old school program hire that didn't work out. Fact is that Carr had nobody under him save the OC who went to Tenn that Brian abhors.  Best case scenario was that he was hired.  I can't remember his name now.  Absent that and it's a crapshoot hiring outside of program at that time.  

Ghost of Fritz…

January 2nd, 2018 at 1:15 PM ^

He was a great coach, so he knows how to make good HC hires.

On the other hand, he is also part of the reason that Bielema and then Andersen (and arguably also DC Aranda) left. 

So he made good hires.  But he also in part caused instability by creating vacancies.


Ghost of Fritz…

January 2nd, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

Amazingly, it worked out better for them.  But it is rare that three HCs (plus losing a DC as good as Aranda) in just 5 years works out well. 

The fact that it worked out at Wisconsin does not mean it was a good idea.

OTOH, if I where an AD and I had a meathead HC like Bielema, I would probably want to drive him out too, so.......



January 2nd, 2018 at 5:05 PM ^

They're still recognizable as the program Alvarez founded--there's not all that much difference between how Chryst runs a program and how Bielema and Alvarez did before him. Petersen wasn't willing to; he wanted to change things at an institutional level and they wouldn't oblige. It was probably the best of all possible reasons to make a coaching change, for both parties.

If you sign on to play at Wisconsin you can be pretty sure they'll be what you expected, throughout your stay.

Ghost of Fritz…

January 3rd, 2018 at 9:34 AM ^

In hiring RRod M made a break from the past.  Did not work.  Hoke was  supposed to be a return to the M style of football from Bo through Carr.  Also did not work.

Maybe for Wisconsin continuity of style/approach has been a key ingredient.  But Alvarez still had to make the right hires.  They have a formula that works and they just need to plug in the right HC (and staff) to keep it going. 

Of course it also helps that when they have a 'down' year they are in the BigTen West (and usually have a weak OOC schedule), so they still end up with 7 or 8 wins. 


January 2nd, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

Curious how you think Alvarez "created" the Bielema and Aranda departures? Nothing could be further from the truth. Bielema wanted to coach in the SEC and took his opportunity before the doubters started wondering if he could win without Paul Chryst. The running game started to decline the year Chryst left, so Bielema fired his OL coach after 3 games, wrote a note of interest to Jeff Long and left after the year. Alvarez was blindsided. Aranda stayed in Madison the year after Andersen left. He only went to LSU for the ridiculous $1.3mm they threw at him. Given the subsequent performances of the defenses after Aranda left, Alvarez looks pretty smart in not chasing stupid assistant salaries.

It's arguable that a conflict over program expectations played a role in Andersen leaving, but given his bizarre run at Oregon State I'd say that was more Andersen than anything else. Either way, that was a bad hire and all on Barry.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 PM ^

As an alum of Michigan (BS) and Wisconsin (PhD), I entirely agree that Alvarez did not facilitate the Bielema and Aranda departures.  Wisconsin over the last 20 years is instructive, and I think Michigan could learn a lot from Wisconsin. 

Alvarez is a known quantity and sets the tone for the football program.  He is the anchor of Wisconsin football.  The brand he developed is Wisconsin's identity - again, you know what you're going to get from Wisconsin.  Wisconsin football is remarkably consistent because it works with their resources and the talent they can attract.  It is always at least good because of its system/identity, and when it has above average talent it is great.  (Look what Ron Dayne, Russell Wilson, Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Taylor all accomplished.) 

Wisconsin benefits enormously from having zero in-state recruiting competition, modest competition from Illinois (Fitzgerald might change that), and near-zero competition from Minnesota (Fleck might change that).  Wisconsin can even recruit Iowa given their long-term mediocrity.  Wisconsin knows how to look for 3-star guys who can fit into the system, they train them up, and they excel.  Wisconsin also benefits enormously from being in the awful, awul B1G West.  And those few seasons we had those stupid Leaders and Legends divisions, Wisconsin had Russell Wilson, and then OSU and PSU had their postseason bans.  That's a lot of good luck. So was dodging the Gary Anderen bullet.  Like you said, that guy's a weirdo - and Alvarez is in charge, and wouldn't change the identity of the program to suit some no-connect coach.

Michigan has had multiple garbage ADs in the last 20 years.  Michigan football is a brand but it does not have an identity at this point.  In the past, our successes relied in large part on above average talent producing good seasons and transcendent talent producing great seasons.  Michigan had TWO Heisman winners in the 90s.  No school had two Heisman winners in the 80s, OSU had Archie Griffin win twice in the 70s, USC had two in the 60s, Notre Dame had two in the 50s, USC had three* in the 00s but they cheated to do it...point being, our successes in the 90s were anomalous and can't reasonably serve as a reference moving forward. 

We could recruit above average to great talent in large part because we were the only game on national tv and high school players across the country recognized the Winged Helmet.  Now, with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, the conference networks, etc. all added to ABC, NBC, CBS, and games being shown on four or five timeslots weekly, it's much harder to recruit against much more competition.  Did you know who UCF was 20 years ago?  So we're facing a fiercer competition for national talent.  And now we have to recruit locally against Michigan State in a state that is a good but not great recruiting territory.  Michigan was the only state in the US to have a decline in population in the '00s, which hurt our home recruiting base, and then MSU started succeeding under Mork making competition for that shrinking home talent pool even worse.  When others have said don't underestimate the damage the RichRod and Captain Clapclap did to the program...  Their ineptitude also helped fuel MSU's first real sustained success in their entire program history.  Michigan simply can't support two outstanding football programs.  It really, really, really sucks that no other school in the B1G has to compete against another same-state B1G school.  (Illinois and Northwestern don't count because neither has ever had sustained success, and Illinois is also the most populous B1G state.  IU and Purdue don't count because IU has never taken football seriously, and Purdue hasn't cared much more than that.)

Fortunately, Michigan is still a national brand, and is incredibly rich.  If we have leadership in the athletics department that recognizes how changing media and changing demographics matter to Michigan recruiting, and we are patient enough to let a good coach develop an identity on the offensive side of the ball, and give Don Brown a giant GD raise because he's already developed an incredible defensive identity and if we lose him then we're F'd, then we can start competing in the B1G East.  But I think many fans need to temper their expectations - Michigan has a long, long way to go before we will compete nationally. And it is unlikely we will ever repeat the glory of the 90s before we stop playing football because CTE.

Ghost of Fritz…

January 3rd, 2018 at 9:46 AM ^

insists that things be done within the framework and parameters that he sets.  Also, he is willing to say to to a HC or a DC on resources and salaries. 

Both of those things create an environment where a HC or a highly regarded DC are more open to looking at offers from other schools.

Bielema chafed under Alvarez still setting the tone and being a big part of the identity of Wisconsin FB. 

Compare this to the model at Michigan since Harbaugh and Warde Manuel arrived.  JH is the identity of Michigan football.  The AD's job is to make JH happy, provide as much $$$ as JH wants to hire assistants and upgrade facilities, etc. 

In the end, though, Alvarez' approach has worked for Wisconsin.  Not sure it would work at Michigan or really at any program trying to win the the Big Ten East. 


January 2nd, 2018 at 2:19 PM ^

Yes, and Harbaugh is too much of a winner and fighter to let such a season define him. The social media age has people living and breathing and thinking in 140 characters and winning the one day sound bites. There are very few fans or media who look or say things about the long term. This is why Mitch McGary got millions for a month worth of phenomenal basketball and why people panned the Paul George deal. Everyone believes results need to be now. I am all for demanding the best—but I Balance that with a pragmatic longview.


January 2nd, 2018 at 11:16 AM ^

My only real complaint with Harbaugh is blowing 10-point leads at Iowa and OSU last year. It could have been a brilliant second season.

We all knew this had a chance to be a reload year with so many starters/NFL draftees lost. We all knew there were gaping holes in recruiting from the Bad Hoke years at OL, WR and QB.

In a very good year for the Big Ten, Michigan lost to three better teams and lost a few times due in large part to horrible QB play. There is every reason to be optimistic about next season and the fact there will be no more glaring voids in personnel for the rest of the Harbaugh era.


January 2nd, 2018 at 11:30 AM ^

Most of our angst this year is because of how last year finished.  We had a playoff-caliber team but lost three games by a combined five points.  It was a bitter finish to what had been an extremely promising season.

This year we just weren't that good.  People could have accepted that more easily if we were coming off a Big Ten title, but we weren't, so the sense of unfinished business goes on.  We should have won the Big Ten in 2016 instead of PSU, but we didn't, and it still stings.

S'all Good Man

January 2nd, 2018 at 11:35 AM ^

Pretty sure we were only winning in the first Q 3-0. That game was at home and we were big favorites. They proved to be better this year. Same thing with USC. Better record, and they beat us on a neutral field. Next year may very well be different, but let's not kid ourselves.  

Go blue!