Best and Worst: OSU

Submitted by bronxblue on November 27th, 2016 at 12:23 AM

I'm warning you up front, this is going to be like therapy for me.  You want cogent analysis?  Come back Monday for Brian's column.  It'll be fantastic, I'm sure. This diary?  It's going to be one big scream into the void.

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.

Initially after this game, I was full of piss and vinegar about the officiating.  Even though I'd deny it in front of child protective services, I dropped a "fuck" in front of my two kids and in-laws the minute Samuel sprinted toward the sideline on the last play.  I've seen this horror film play out a million times before, and the good guys never win.  I accept that there will be uncalled holds and PIs in big rivalry games, even though you'd think human beings with pride would be able to call a football game consistently regardless of the context.  But whatever.

And UM was not without fault; Perry roughed the punter by the letter of the law, and that Cole penalty was right even though the spot was questionable.  Harbaugh had a right to lose his mind and he deserved a penalty for it, though I honestly don't think OSU was going to be denied on that drive after the second Speight interception.

But when an official is goaded into throwing a defensive holding flag because the crowd called for it, you get sick of it.  Or when an extremely shaky PI is called on Hill even though OSU was basically mugging receivers all day, you get sick of it.  Or when OSU, a team that gave up 8 sacks and 13 TFLs, somehow escapes without a holding call even though you see multiple OSU guards just sitting on Glasgow and Charlton and Wormley choked by tackles, you get sick of it. When, at best, it's a questionable call on 4th down if a player somehow got the first down on a play where he ran into the ass of the guy blocking for him (who looked like he was behind the line), and they don't even come out to measure it but instead scurry off to the replay system for a series of inconclusively bad angles, you wonder if the pie we call fandom is worth it.

Now, I should preface this all by saying OSU played well enough to win and UM played badly enough to lose.  UM basically gifted OSU 14 points with their 2 interceptions.  The first I put at least partial blame on the offensive playcalling; asking a QB on the road to throw deep in his own endzone, under a heavy rush, is asking for trouble.  The second was all on Speight simply not seeing Baker and trying to throw a ball in tight coverage.  For what feels like forever, UM couldn't consistently run the ball against Ohio State (they only had 100 yards on 40 carries if you throw out sacks), and in the second half they only had about 100 yards of total offense.  Like they did against MSU and Iowa, the offense seemed to turtle a bit with the lead, unwilling to take too many risks but in the process leaving the defense out there to defend 46 plays in the second half.  And in that 4th quarter, Barrett asserted himself running the ball and OSU had multiple opportunities to tie the game/take the lead.  The fact they missed a couple of easy FGs absolutely mattered, and UM's defense failed to tackle Samuel prior to that 4th-down conversion despite having him dead-to-rights yards behind the line. 

Yardage was about equal (OSU had 15 more in OT), and UM had a decided advantage in field position (their own 35 versus OSU's own 23).  The time of possession was actually in UM's favor, though OSU holding onto the ball for about 11 minutes to 3 in the 4th is pretty telling, and UM was much better on third and fourth down than OSU (10/20 vs. 5/19).  It was a close game where either team could win, and in the end, the analytical part of my brain can see how OSU pulled it out.

But I'm sick of that. I'm sick of OSU (and MSU and, weirdly, Iowa) pulling horseshoes out of their asses to beat UM.  I'm tired of terrible officiating affecting games either way, the fact I can see a couple of these numbnuts stroll into frame and my heart immediately begins to burn because I know I've got another couple of hours listening to these guys screw up their jobs. 

I'm tired of OSU being so fucking good, of being the class of the conference for what seems like most of my adult life.  That UM was stuck with an aging Carr, an overwhelmed RR, and an incompetent Hoke while OSU had to deal with one whole year of Luke Fickell before Urban Meyer's heart started beating right again and he set down in Columbus.  And they'll be good again next year, really f*cking good, while UM will be trying to replace most of their defensive line and secondary, plus basically all their receivers, offensive line, and leading rusher.

This isn't a rivalry anymore; it's a yearly execution.  It's every scene in a spy movie where the hero is captured and the sinister doctor rolls out his various torture devices, except nobody escapes and it looks like an Eli Roth movie at the end.  UM is 3 and 13 versus OSU since 2000, with 1 win in the past dozen years. We make fun of Notre Dame fans and their echo stirring about the past, but there's a whole generation of recruits who see OSU-UM the way we used to look at UM-MSU; one dominant team with a couple of close/fluky losses intermixed.  Off the field, in the classroom, in the boardrooms, UM is an elite school that OSU can't touch, but when it comes to football, UM is a class below. Maybe Harbaugh turns it around, maybe Meyer gets bored/health reasons/scandal(s) and the tides turn, but right now I don't see a world where UM makes this any better than a 50/50 game in the best of years.  I mean, this could well be the best defense in the school's modern history, a unit that basically swallowed up one of the best offenses in college football for 3 quarters, and they still gave up 30 points.  And next year OSU will come to Michigan with senior versions of most of this team, probably shooting for another top-4 finish, and we'll do it all over again.

This despair you're reading, it's real.  Call me a bandwagon fan, call me a whiner, question my faith, whatever.  But this was supposed to be one of those years, and it ends yet again with a missed opportunity at a conference title and a bitter loss to OSU. Penn State, a team Michigan trounced by 39 points, and Wisconsin, a team UM choked out for 4 quarters and should have won by more than the 7 they did, will get a chance at a conference title and a playoff birth.  Michigan will await their fate, likely going to some BCS bowl because they're a "good draw", and I'll cheer them on and write some 5,000-word diary after their game and convince myself 2017 will be a great year.  But right now, in this reality, I'm settling in for a lot more of these games than I ever wanted.


Worst:  Saltiness

Reddit is terrible, or at least exposes some of the worst traits of humanity.  If you have ever visited its popular message boards, or seen a bunch of 60-something news reporters/pundits argue over "the internet", you have sense that it can often devolve into a stew of crass pseudo-intellectual debates, stark displays of basically anything terrible that ends with "–iny" or "-phobia", and sometimes outright threats of violence of "doxing".  But I've been pleasantly surprised by the discussions over at the r/cfb domain, where game threads and breaking news typically feature thoughtful analysis and discussion from knowledgeable fans.  You've got your trolls, but it's a place where people who really follow their teams will drop off nuggets of wisdom, and as someone who legitimately likes watching college football it's nice to hear about other programs beyond the talking heads on ESPN and a brief look at a box score. 

But the one part of the subreddit that drives me insane is the tired-ass "saltiness" meme that pops when a team loses a close one.  When you can't be creative or intelligent, or because you are likely quite young, male, and "digital", you call out anyone who disliked the outcome as super "salty" and incite mini flame wars. The issue with it is that it's a non-starter, a dead-end for meaningful discourse.  And in the process, it casts all future debates in this binary model that all nuance and context is stripped away.

Jim Harbaugh came out and was "salty" with the media after this game, pointing out that the officials made some, at best, questionable calls/non-calls, and it sucked to be on the receiving end of it.  And the response was the same mealy-mouthed bullshit you see nowadays, with reporters and fans saying it's a uniquely raw take by a coach but lacks "class" or is too "bitter", because pointing out consistent incompetence doesn't jive the with the usual PR-laced gruel these goobers are used to being shoveled.  Nobody needs to hear Harbaugh sit there and say "OSU played a fine game, our guys fought hard, this is a great rivalry, blah blah blah" while Jim Delany wacks off behind the curtain. 


I'm fine with Harbaugh trying to stump for his team, to say that they got a raw deal.  He pointed out the numerous uncalled holding penalties MSU got away with in their game against UM; the next week, MSU is called for a bunch of them and the Illini pick up 10 TFLs and 3 sacks along with a dozen "pressures".  I understand refereeing a game is extremely difficult, but at the same time a bunch of janky 50- and 60-year lawyers trying to keep track of college kids moving as fast as Olympic sprinters is a recipe for bad results.  Technology has made it easier for fans to see when referees mess up, and instead of using the tools available to improve the overall product and how officiating is done, the leagues have doubled-down on obfuscation and confusion to cover these flaws up, figuring that if nobody knows what targeting, pass interference, or "control" of a catch is, they'll be golden.

So yeah, tell it like it is.  You've got the money, so pay the inevitable fine and point out that the old men who keep wanting to see their faces on TV are fucking up some games for you.  And throw in a little something else to drive the point home.

Best:  The Defense, Again

They really deserved to win this game.  Going into the fourth quarter, OSU had 153 total yards on 51 plays.  They had held the ball for a total of about 18 minutes, and were under 100 yards rushing for the game.  But you give OSU enough chances, enough 3-and-outs by the offense (UM had exactly 9 offensive plays in the 4th quarter), a bad PI on Hill to keep that final drive alive, and you are bound to break.  Before OT, UM's defense had given up 10 points to one of the best offenses in the country, and even the one TD was set up on a super-short field after the interception and all of the penalties.  I read a couple of people call out Don Brown as overrated for not stopping OSU in the 4th quarter, but at some point you'd expect your offense to put some more points on the board and give you some breathing room.  OSU's first drive was for 72 yards, and their final 2 of regulation were for 61 and 77.  In the middle, OSU had 10 real drives for a total of 106 yards, and that includes penalty yardage.  Any other game, UM is winning this game comfortably, maybe even laughably.

The defensive line was again dominant.  8 sacks on Barrett thoroughly rattled him, and even with his runs in overtime Samuel was mostly held in check.  Mike Weber could barely get going on the ground, and no Buckeye receiver had more than 40 yards receiving.  Barrett looked rattled throwing the ball all day, but he rushed the ball 30 times and had one huge 41-yard run that flipped the field late.  He still throws the ball terribly under pressure and seems to have regressed a bit in that department under Meyer, but he's terrifying in college and (ugh) will be back next year in all likelihood. 

I thought Glasgow and Charlton were as dominant a pair against OSU as I've seen in my life.  Charlton ate up whomever OSU sent up against him; he had 2.5 sacks and probably should have had a couple more.  Glasgow was consistently pushing into the backfield, giving Gedeon and McCray even lanes to fill.  And there was a series toward the end of the 3rd quarter where Glasgow was just being tackled on every snap and he was still forcing Barrett to bounce around.  Wormley was mauling guys as well, and even though he was tripped by OSU's guard I think he was the one responsible for Barrett's pick.  Gary also had a fantastic play in the second quarter where he beat two blockers and surprised Barrett in his endzone, nearly causing a safety. 

The secondary was splendid as usual.  Lewis was beat on one play, Stribling might have as well, and that was about it.  Peppers got his first pick, and Hill was absolutely boned on that pass interference call in the 4th.  He played a great game otherwise.  You could tell OSU wanted to exploit the linebackers in coverage and I thought both McCray and Gedeon acquitted themselves well; there weren't too many breakdowns and McCray even picked up 2 PBUs.


This defense should still be good next year, but this was special unit.  They'll be littering NFL lineups for years going forward, but it sucks seeing a really good effort coming up just short in a game like this.

Best:  Speight Playing

You want a hot take?  I think Speight played pretty well in this game.  OSU has a great secondary and enough young talent up front to give passing games fits.  Speight missed last week and clearly was still a bit injured in this game, and yet he completed 64% of his passes for 219 yards, 2 TDs, 2 picks, and a respectable 6 ypa.  Yes those picks led to 14 points, and his fumble delayed a UM TD, but (a) he was the whole offense for most of this game, (b) the playcalling and offensive line did him no favors at times, and (c) his receivers were being manhandled at times.  I mean, he had a ball to Chesson (?) where two OSU guys tackled Jehu before the ball seemingly got past the line of scrimmage.  Multiple times you'd see a UM receiver basically carrying an OSU corner on his back, including on that fateful 3rd-down in the second OT.  He was only 50% in the second half, and too many drives ended with incompletions to survive on the road.  But he also completed a great pass to Darboh in the first OT on 4th down, and had PI been called on the next drive might have scored again.  He wasn't amazing, but considering what were the alternatives under center, Speight deserves a lot of credit for his play.

Worst:  The Second-Half Offense

I know above I said the offense turtled in the second half, and that's maybe not the best term, but it's weird seeing a Harbaugh offense just close up shop with a lead.  I got it somewhat against MSU because that was a game UM had in the bag, but 10 points against OSU is nothing, and expecting your defense to shut down the Buckeyes for 4 quarters is a near-impossible task.

I'll miss Peppers for his dynamic playmaking, but it was like setting downs on fire every time he came into the game; if there was some special plan for him, some trick, I hope they aren't saving it for the bowl game.  The offensive line struggled to get much push, and as everyone sort of expected before the season, settled in as "okay" as a unit.  Against most teams that's enough, but against OSU you need to be able to consistently get a push up front, not 2 yards a carry.  Speight wasn't sacked an immense amount, but he was under pressure and getting hit semi-frequently, and other than Smith none of the packs could get any traction running the ball.  Chesson almost broke a couple of sweeps, but the longest play from scrimmage for UM was a 22-yard reception by Butt, and expecting to just march up and down the field against OSU's line wasn't in the cards today.

Darboh had some great grabs, and both Butt and Perry had their moments.  This is another unit depleted by graduation; here's hoping they have a couple of guys emerge to take their places, or else this offense is going to struggle even more against the better defenses in the league.

It wasn't a terrible offensive performance by any means; again, this isn't a unit talented enough to steamroll good teams on the road.  Maybe OSU downloaded UM's playcalling a bit, but in the moment it didn't feel like they were doing all that much different.  The second half was just disjointed, and maybe on a second watch-through it would be more obvious.  But UM let themselves get slogged down in that second half, and if they have any hope of winning games in this series they need to figure out a way to overcome this malaise.

Best: Kenny MF Allen and the Best Damn Holder in the Country

Kenny Allen was fantastic all day.  He made his FGs, consistently pinned OSU back in their own redzone (5 of his 7 punts were inside the 20), and was a major reason UM enjoyed a significant field position advantage.  Again, it's killing me looking at these stats and realizing UM blew them all.  But whatever, Allen was the boss and whatever #collegekicker thing that went on in the middle of the year is long gone.  And Garrett Moore had a great recovery of an errant snap for one of Allen's kicks, which should definitely be added to the highlight reel.  And while kick returns were minimal, Peppers had a great kickoff return that set UM's first TD. 

Quick Hits:

  • OSU came into the game averaging about 7 penalties a game for 53 yards, while UM was toward the lower end at 4.7 for 45 yards.  Guess who had 7 penalties for 59 yards and who had 2 penalties for 6 yards?  My daughter hasn't lived in a world where a fucking hold is called at OSU stadium for UM, and she probably won't until she goes to college.  Either put away the whistles completely or call the game according to the rulebook, but you can't just mix the two together, let it sit in the sun for 2 days and curdle, then pick the top layer off and feed it to people.  For fucks sake.
  • Harbaugh trying to put his obviously-broken headset back on was a bit of needed levity, even though it was during OSU's second TD.  Harbaugh deserved that penalty because he let his cards hit the field, but the fact referees are so protected from criticism yet don't like to get shown up drives me insane.  Nobody is here to see Dan Fucking Capron screw up another game, yet here we are. 
  • I know Michigan is one of the best rushing teams in the country, but this was yet another reminder how much they miss a truly dynamic back.  Smith is great for grinding out yards, but he's never going to make guys miss, and you can't rely on a series of 4-yard runs to score.  They are going to finish the year without a 1,000 yard back for the 5th straight year.  Iowa is going to have 2, Nebraska may have 1, Minnesota has 1, 4 and 8 MSU has 1, IU as well.  I'm all for a balanced rushing attack, but sometimes you also need to have one guy who can just smash a defense for 25 carries.  Michigan didn't have that this year, and I'm not sure anyone on the roster fits that mold.  Maybe Evans makes that leap next year or Walker makes a splash as a RS freshman, but it has to happen.

Next Game:  TBD

We'll know in a couple of weeks.  It'll probably be a good bowl.  Yippee.



November 27th, 2016 at 2:47 AM ^

That's how I've come to look at it. I'm not proud of this, but various recent events left me unable to head into today ready to have my heart broken like Ralph's yet again. So I assumed OSU would win and even did some napping during the game (I have a concussion, which helped this effort). And I ended up glad I'd done these things, because I don't need misery from sports...I agree that it's tough to see Michigan turning the rivalry around. Meyer is one of the top twenty or so college coaches ever (at least). And OSU recruits itself. I'm not sure right now that I'll even watch the game next year. It just becomes a drag on one's life after a while.


November 27th, 2016 at 7:53 PM ^

It's definitely a drag at times.  I was in and out during the game, taking care of kids and hanging out with family.  It's not that I don't care, but at some point I'm running out of willpower to watch UM lose heartbreakers every year, especially when it seems so arbitrary.  I'll watch next year, but I agree at times I'm not as wholly invested in this game as others are.

Goggles Paisano

November 27th, 2016 at 6:31 AM ^

First off - thanks for posting this so soon after the game.  I've only gotten through part of the first few paragraphs and wanted to let you know that I to dropped several F-bombs in front of my kids.  Just lost it man.  I'm sure you and I are not the only Dad's out there that are guilty of it.  In a world where justice is something that is deserving, there was no justice to be had yesterday. The battle of good vs. evil went to evil yesterday.  Somewhere along the way either osu or urban meyer or both sold their souls to the devil.  It at least feels that way.  


November 27th, 2016 at 8:17 AM ^

It's a great point about Ohio State, they are not going to slow down and Meyer is a great coach, but Michigan has the right program and the right coach. The O-Line is going to take time to build but the recruiting is good and hopefully after this year, Harbaugh will purge the ghost of Lloyd Carr and start calling the second half with a lead more aggressively. The coaching staff is good and the players are engaged, a streak of dominance this long will not break easily and today was proof of that, but nothing lasts forever.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 27th, 2016 at 8:08 PM ^

This is probably right.  I grew up during a decent chunk of the 90's run, so it framed OSU as a sorta-hapless program that failed in big games.  So this is a market correction/regression to the mean.  But at the same time, I don't see OSU crapping the bed with coaching hires like UM did after Carr.


November 27th, 2016 at 9:12 AM ^

Let's put the officiating aside for a moment
Pretend we live in a perfect world. Thought about it? Great. OSU wins 23-17. Why?

OSU's kicker which had been perfect (forget the Penn State block) missed a 37yd and a 21yd. Those mistakes pushed the game to OT and forced that last second field goal. But let's say the game went on, and we resume the path of OT.

Buckeyes score, UM scores. Then UM kicks a field goal. The first mistake made was when the Wolverine D allowed Samuel to get that crazy 8 yard run when he should have been dropped for a 5-8yd loss and should have put the Buckeyes out of field goal range, but instead he roasted our secondary. The Barrett run, that was close. I have looked at that play a 100 times, believe me. I saw Barrett at the forward most point, and it seemed like he did make it. Narrowly, but he did. I then found a pic on the internet which takes the first down marker and places it above barret and we can clearly see he crossed the line. I can only see that pass interference which was debatable.

My stance is this: You can't go to Ohio, in front a 110,546 people, have 3 turnovers, and provide momentum when they were about to drop out of it and expect to win. They're a well coached team. The 4&1 was close and it was good (once again the line was pulled up and Barrett crosses it)

Hopefully UM is better next year, but next year Ohio State will be very talented. With a senior filled team we still managed to lose. 43 seniors vs. 44 freshman. And they still won. They had 6 returning starters (3 on offense 3 on defense).

All I can say is the officiating was OK and the pass interference (1 was blatant in like the second quarter) and the other could have gone either way and honestly the video evidence wasn't "indisputable" and which ever team got the call would've got it. Tough break, but honestly, Michigan did everything to lose.


November 27th, 2016 at 8:12 PM ^

You can't say "in a perfect world" and then act like missing a field goal is a speical case but throwing what amounted to 2 pick-6s are par for the course.  There's a reason we have #collegekickers, and it's because guys can miss even chipshots.  And let's say "in a perfect world" the refs call the obvious pass interference in the second OT against Perry and UM scores.  Then the game changes.  I can craft literally any counter-argument to one put forth that shows OSU pre-ordained to win this game.  

This was a close game between two good teams, and it was turned on a couple of questionable decisions.  OSU definitely played well enough to win and UM badly enough to lose.  But many teams have won games playing worse than UM did (hell, OSU just did it in this game), and it sucks to see it play out that way again.


November 27th, 2016 at 9:30 AM ^

To read this morning. I'm glad I read it though, because it lifted some of this weight off of my chest. Time to go see what herbal medicine can relieve the rest of my woes. Thanks for the great write-up as always.


November 27th, 2016 at 9:50 AM ^

Its 2017 or bust. UM plays better at home under JH. On the road against decent teams we suck. In the second half we suck b/c JH goes Lloyd and we lose intensity. 

If we aren't up big by halftime next year we will never beat OSU under JH. 

I honestly think the prospect of facing Meyer and his machine forever will cause JH to go back to the pros. He is a program hopper and I don't see him  staying around- especially if he just gets defeated every year. 


November 27th, 2016 at 8:17 PM ^

I don't see him running away from a challenge.  Hell, Meyer is more likely to claim "health problems" when the going gets tough; he did it when Alabama started to eat up his Gators and all of his off-the-field issues caught up with the team.

The more I look at OSU, the more I do wonder how they look without Barrett.  He's a near-perfect QB for this team, and I legitimately wonder what happens when he leaves.  We saw it a bit with the post-Tebow Florida teams that struggled to move the ball.  I'm not saying they'll suddenly go 4-8 or anything, but sometimes you run into a bad beat and you just have to ride it out.  I don't think 2017 is it for Harbaugh, especially since they could absolutely be in the hunt for a division title again with a good home slate.  Florida again looks lost, Air Force will be tough but you can prepare somewhat for the option, and then you have MSU, Minnesota, and OSU at home.  The two toughest road games are Wiscy and PSU, and while both should be good I'm not sold PSU is "back".


December 1st, 2016 at 11:56 PM ^

On the road against decent teams we suck. In the second half we suck b/c JH goes Lloyd and we lose intensity. 

JH goes Lloyd......that's the issue in big games, especially on the road. I guess I can see why. We had an all-world defense this year, but if we tire 'em out, what good is it?

I wonder if he was this way at Stanford, or if he figures this is "the Michigan way". I sure hope he learns (or re-learns?) how to play to win in big-time games. 

Cranky Dave

November 27th, 2016 at 9:54 AM ^

The first time since '06 where I thought we could win. I'm crushed and at this point it doesn't matter what bowl game we go to. Now I'm just focused on closing out the 2017 recruiting class strong.

You Only Live Twice

November 27th, 2016 at 10:20 AM ^

Thanks for providing this excellent read all season, BB.  

OSU got the win, yes.  Earned the win, no.  That's in large part why there is so much disgust and rage.  Defense executed and officials erased their accomplishment, just like that.  

The people who are overly fixated on Michigan's mistakes are being very selective, ignoring OSU mistakes, of which there were plenty.  It's an unreasonable expectation that there be no mistakes.  Apparently, it's also an unreasonable expectation that the officials even pretend to be fair in Buckeye stadium.  If they don't have the balls to make the correct call in front of the fans, they should be replaced by officials who can.  I don't honestly believe that any money changed hands,  I do believe that it was a combination of bias (Ohio Hall of Fame, seriously?) and crowd influence.

The game is over and we have to move on, I admire Harbaugh more than ever for being man enough to call out the crap.  

Oh, and please don't feel any parental guilt over the occaisonal curse word, in front of the kids. The fact that you like spending your time with them overrides everything else.  My kids have heard plenty of language at games (or in front of the TV watching them) and I've never been of the school of thought that says kids will be scarred by hearing some language here and there.

Besides, if I felt that way, I couldn't have been taking them to games all these years!  



November 27th, 2016 at 10:33 AM ^

the last year of Home's shit-stench on our offense. The line played poorly, didn't get much push against OSU's dts, and Kalis zoned out for another massive TFL. We'll have too defenses again under Don't Brown.

Hotel Putingrad

November 27th, 2016 at 10:40 AM ^

When you're on the road against an elite team, you have to leave no doubt. You have to steal their souls and leave nothing to chance or interpretation. But we don't have the necessary horses in offense yet. Now throw in Peters and McCaffrey, Walker and Harris, Wilson and Ruiz, and DPJ....and now you're talking. Patience, friends. Our time will come.


November 27th, 2016 at 11:09 AM ^

I don't see where Michigan makes it better than 50/50 any time soon - however, I am confident that will be the case soon with the players Harbaugh brings and and the law of averages mean Michigan will start winning these games about every other year....right?


November 27th, 2016 at 12:20 PM ^

where both defenses played fantastic. Both teams have a lot of future NFL players on defense. This is the game where we look back in a few years and say wow, that's a lot of NFL players playing on the field.

Michigan offense for the most part did a good job of limiting 3rd and long situation but when they do get into the situation, it's not pretty because that's where OSU unleash their pass rush from every DL spot with 4 DEs. They pressured Speight into making mistakes or throwing erratic passes.

Harbaugh didn't get the penalty for throwing down his headsets. It's the series of meltdown of throwing headset, playsheets and other things. The weird thing is he got mad on a correct call by the officials.

I thought both coaches didn't call a good game yesterday. Harbaugh was bad in 2nd half IMO. The offense struggled to get going in the 2nd half and that allowed OSU to claw back into the game.

The last game winning TD play, it was on Michigan defense for the misalignment because OSU went with unbalanced formation and Jabrill didn't recognize it until it's too late then overran the play anyway. 

2017 is going to be tough because Michigan will lose 8 offensive starters and 10(maybe 11) defensive starters. That's a lot to replace no matter how you slice it. Biggest question will be WRs and DBs. Good new is they have Speight back which should help but this is where Don Brown truly earn his money. How will his defense perform with essentially a brand new defensive players.


November 27th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

First, thanks so much for your diaries. I enjoy them every week. I'm guessing this one was painful (it would have been for me), but maybe also somewhat cathartic. Your sentiments in this diary match mine almost 100%. I suspect that I am older than you (I was at UM during the Cooper years - they were glorious), and Ohio State has been the class of the Big 10 for almost exactly half of my adult life, depending on the age you choose to use to define adulthood. I can't believe how tired I am of watching them beat Michigan. You are correct - this is not a rivalry at this point. OSU is a hammer and Michigan is a nail. I know. I know. This was a close game that could have gone either way, but at some point, after losing 13 of 16, only wins and losses matter. On the road in Columbus, we can't let the game be close enough at the end for the officials to determine the outcome.

All Michigan losses disappoint me. This loss has depressed me more than any in a while. A win would have been huge for the program. I was so hopeful that Jim Harbaugh would turn things around, and maybe he will. Unfortunately for me, I'm starting to have some nagging doubts, particularly concerning his play calling with a surmountable lead in the second half against better opponents, but whatever. Like you, I have difficulty imagining a time in the foreseeable future when Michigan may be able to turn this into more than a 50/50 proposition. The bottom line for me is that as I get older watching us lose to OSU like clockwork steals away a bit of my soul every year.

Many on the board, like WD, probably can't imagine what it is like to have lived and breathed Michigan football for 35+ years. They haven't been alive that long. God bless them. I am sure they will carry on Michigan football fandom into the future in the finest fashion. At this point, I would just like to see Michigan beat OSU more than once every 7 or 8 years before I die. Hope springs eternal...

So blessed to have been a Michigan football fan. Go Blue always and forever.


November 27th, 2016 at 5:54 PM ^

Thanks, Bronx, for having the mental and emotional wherewithal to turn an unflinching mind's eye to the game. Personally, my psyche is still too bruised and battered for rational thought.

Per usual, it was a great read.

Go Blue!

Everyone Murders

November 28th, 2016 at 8:53 AM ^

While Michigan was getting jobbed by the officials (specifically referencing J.T. Barrett's phantom 1st down in O.T., but could be referencing any number of shitty calls against Michigan), something else happened worthy of a best.

Best - The State of Our Rivals

7-17.  For our main rivals not named OSU, that would be their combined record.  And one of those seven wins was inevitable, since they played one another.  That combined record reflects substantially fewer wins than Michigan mustered by its own damned self (and a combined record including wins against teams such as Furman, Rutgers, Nevada, Army and Syracuse - perhaps the only "quality win" there is ND v. Miami (YTM)).  To quote one Jim Harbaugh, that's some good shit, Jedd.

MSU, fresh of a pantsing in the CFP, "takes the next step" by going 3-9.  It's a wonderful combination of attrition, Michigan having a magnetic coach and ascendant program, and some of the "coin flip" games finally not breaking MSU's way.  In contrast to recent years, MSU has not pulled a capable QB out of its ass, and Narduzzi's departure is truly starting to look like a blow to their defense.  Plus a chunk of their wonky offensive line graduates*, and there's a very good chance the surprisingly fragile Malik McDowell takes his talents to the NFL before he really gets broken trying to carry an otherwise-meh defensive line.  And MSU has no clear choice at QB for next year, even after a year to figure it out. 

I wonder if Ed Davis is kinda wishing he hadn't gotten that sixth year.  Regardless, while I don't expect MSU to consistently go 3-9, I do see them getting back to Iowa/Northwestern status where they belong.

And Notre Dame?  Their players have to despise the subvehicularizing Brian Kelly - who managed to bring the team to a 4-8 record with none of the losses being his fault.  DeShone Kizer is a very good (maybe great) QB, and may well decide he's had enough purple-faced tirades and take his talents to the NFL.  Malik Zaire is expected to transfer, so that leaves them with ... Brandon Wimbish.  Maybe Wimbish will be great in Kelly's system, but we've heard that sort of optimism in the past with decidedly mediocre results.  In fairness, ND's other returning offensive players run from good to serviceable, aside from the mess at QB. 

But the ND defense?  It's really awful - especially up front.  I don't watch ND closely, but I don't recall them producing a consistent pass rush all season.  For impact players, they bring back Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini and ... I don't know.  Maybe some baling twine and duct tape?  Plus I'm unaware of any game-changing recruits headed to South Bend.  That looks to be a bad defense for a while, which is A-OK with me.

Furthermore, we're on the cusp of beating OSU.  (In a sense we did, if we look at the J.T. Barrett spot.  "I'll take cold comfort for $1000, Alex".)  We won't do it through recruiting - we can only equal OSU recruiting, since Meyer is masterful at reloading that program.  However, we can do it via coaching.  I don't need shades just yet, but the future is awfully bright.

*I think MSU loses each of Kodi Kieler, Benny McGowan, Miguel Machado and Brandon Clemons.

Maison Bleue

November 28th, 2016 at 10:48 AM ^

Your last paragraph really hit home for me. As I laid on the couch after the game in silence, looking out into the eternal black abyss, a thought crossed my mind that brought a smile to my face: This game reminds me very much of last year's MSU game.

Both games were won by Michigan until something out their control took the wins away. Then I remembered what we did to MSU this year, which if you are anyone but an MSU fan was a complete and utter thumping.

I think UM does this to OSU next year. I realize this is where the parallels start to fade because MSU lost a lot of talent and OSU is just going to be better next year. But the game is in the big house and the anger from this loss hopefully propels this team to victory. And shit, maybe we can actually get some home cooked officiating for once?



November 28th, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

This is reassuring to an extent, though really since Harbaugh arrived I always assumed UM would beat down MSU and ND is such a random grab-bag of inconsistent scheduling it almost feels like a random OOC game and not a rival.

OSU is elite; UM was basically with them until they went into the coaching wilderness.  I fully expect OSU to crap the bed at some point on that front, but for now Meyer is an elite recruiter and coach and UM needs to just play up to them and not expect them to come back to the pack.  And I do agree, they should be competitive going forward.  My only concern is that UM only has 1 shot a year to beat OSU, and the Buckeyes have enjoyed a dominance in this rivalry recently that will take some time to correct.  UM needs to start that process as soon as possible.