A Harsh Message

Submitted by jamiemac on November 1st, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Yesterday's second half was the worst blow to a Revolution since:

A. The Winter of Valley Forge

B. The Seige of Vicksburgh

C. The Alamo

Well, it cant be the Alamo because thats what last week's game was. So that makes it either Valley Forge or Vicksburgh. And, really, right now, on the first day of November in Year 2 of the Rodriguez Revolution, it's hard to determine which is the more apt historical marker in light of yesterday's outcome and ensuing aftermath. It could be either one right now. A clear cut TBD.

If it's Valley Forge, its a cold harsh reminder of how long the struggle will be, yet a fact of life towards the eventual birth of a super power. If its Vicksburgh, its the beginning of an end, one that could be as drawn out with an ensuing upheaval and Reconstruction period that ultimately would set the program back farther back than any of us can possibly imagine.

Clearly, I hope its the former. Sadly, I can no longer expect that. I remain convinced Rodriguez can get it done in a big way here at Michigan. I am now, however, dubious that he can survive the noise that will envelop the program in the wake of the Illinois loss. The critics had been put away, but they seize on losses like this with the reactionary temper of a hyperbolic spastic hopped up on an eight ball. Those critics must be RIGHT becasue their OUTRAGE is LOUD and ANGRY and this is UNACCEPTABLE  and they WONT TAKE THIS ANYMORE because this is not MICHIGAN FOOTBALL.

Well, I have two words for those hyperbolic reactionaries today.

Shut Up.

Oh, and another sentence.

Go cheer for another team for awhile.

You should have left years ago. Let me clue you in on a dirty little secret: Your precious Michigan program has been fooling people for an entire decade. Any reference to It as contemporary elite program is rubbish. I hate to throw out the real  F word, but they have been frauds for a long time now.

Do you want to know why your bowl streak didnt die sooner? The difference between some of the teams earlier this decade and 2008 is some got to sit next hot rollers while one sat next to an all-star cooler.

The 2004 team was the luckiest team in program history. 2005 might have been the second luckiest, despite its Infinite Pain lore. The 2005 team 's 7-5 record was much closer to the program's true identity, record wise, than the seasons immediately before and after it. The famed 2006 team almost lost to Ball State. In the tenth game of the season. A MAC team. With a losing record. Hokalicious!

Come on, we're talking about the same program that lost to Appalachian State in 2007. Even with an all-time group of upperclassmen, the program lost that game, were woodshedded by an Oregon team, and scored just three points against OSU. Not once that whole regular season did they play like a club worthy of even begin ranked. Those uppclassmen had been holding the program together by the skin of their teeth  for years.

In the wake of their mass departure after the bowl win over Florida, the program was left with a stark reality nobody bothered to notice: The program had no depth. Ann Arbor claimed to be a place for the leaders and the best. But, instead, it had become a place where recruits went to get get slower and weaker. Folks, that was Michigan's reputation. And it was earned. Michigan was a fraud. That was the perspective from the outside looking in. But, it's easy to be blinded by reality when genuflecting at the church of Hart, Henne and Long.

A team with some all-program caliber players sprinkled throughout the roster almost lost to a woeful MAC team and did lose to a FCS school in embarassing fashion during their final two seasons in Ann Arbor. So, we're melting down in shock, horror and ALL CAPS because the team meshed virtually entirely of freshmen, sophomores and mid-level  upperclassmen recruits left in their wake actually did lose to a bad MAC team and a terrible Big 10 team during their first two years? Really, you're surprised by this development?  Folks, this is not 'what out of left field' looks like.

This stretch of poor seasons was a long time coming. It took an incredible amount of luck that it didnt happen sooner. And if you cant like Michigan in the bad times, then why do you like Michigan even at all? If you're not up for the long climb to the top, then I dont know what to tell you. If you're not aware of the mediocrity every other past elite program had to wallow through while it reinvented itself before it could become elite again, then crack open some college history books.

This 2009 team is basically where we all thought it would be back in the summer. We all, myself as much as anyone, let our minds get filled with big things this season after that September start. Maybe something like a nine win season could be in the offing. I am discouraged by the outcome yesterday, but certainly not disillusioned with where we are as a program today. Eight days ago, I was stoned enough on Maize and Blue bud and the Power of the Forcier to think the we were about to turn a corner. Today, I have been reminded just how long and hard it will be to take a fraudelent program and turn it into a super power in the current world of college football. And, make no mistake, that is indeed the charge of Rodriguez and he--or anyone else for that matter--aint doing it overnight.

When faced with the reality of yesterday you have to go back and remind yourself where you thought the team was in the summer. I hoped they could find seven wins on the schedule. I also said during one of our WLA Lives in August that I didnt like our chances to win any of the four road games this season. Part of my initial excitement about the Notre Dame win is that it opened the door for a bowl season that didnt include a win in any of these road games.  I thought having QBs with the right skill set would enable a big improvement. But, I figured getting all your snaps from true freshmen QBs with this team would probably be enough to really limit the improvements as measured in the black and white world of wins and losses. The defense scared the crap out of me, especially if we had to do any lineup shuffling past our original first string.  Can we kick a field goal? Or field a kick?

If you had told me back in the summer that Brandon Minor would be on pace for less carries, yards and scores than last year; and that our freshmen QBs would account for twice as many turnovers as TDs  in Big 10 play; and that the defense, more youthful that last season, would be every bit as big play vulnerable and seive like as last years; and that walk ons would emerge as starters with lineup shuffles in the secondary virtually every week; and that after close to half a season of a return game that was impeccable, it would return to last year's lost fumble per game form......well, if you told me all that, I think I would have promptly scheduled and left for a three month Sabbatical to Australia or something.

But, if you had told me all that, and promised a winning record after nine games, I would have made that deal.  And, here we are, with a winning record in November. Take it, or leave it.

Now, I had some issues with how Rodriguez handled the game yesterday. He coached poorly. The team has had no offensive identity the last couple of weeks, and its the burden of the coaches to cultivate that.  I am surprised we're this confused about how are rushing carries are being distributed. And, I blame him for not being able to rally the kids yesterday in the second half. That goal line stand should not have been the knockout punch it so obviously was. They were unable to coach the kids up and Rodriguez personally seemed as stunned as the players after the touchdown was overturned.

Hearing him in the postgame presser talk about how he felt it was a TD reminded me of Mike Davis bucking for a 17-win Indiana team to make the tournament after a 25-point opening round loss to Minnesota in the Big 10 Tournament by pleading 'we were the fourth place team.' Yeah, they dont even have a color for fourth place ribbons, Chief. And, in case you needed to be told, when I get flashes of Mike Davis based on something you did, it is most definetly not good. No question.

So, Rodriguez has a big chore ahead of him and a lot that he has to achieve between now and the end of the season. He needs to get these kids back playing with confidence and an identity on offense. He cant let November spin out of control the way the second half spiraled last weekend.  He has to recharge Forcier and get him back to early season form. He needs to establish some momentum of what a good-looking Rodriguez team will look like in the future. We'll see.

But, I'm not going to let one step back with what is still the youngest team in the Big 10, freak me out to the point, where I will back off on the sentiment that Rodriguez can get it done here. I remain certain of it. Maybe we ought to let him have a season with a legit returning QB before we even begin to dole out grades on his tenure? kthxbai.

I want to end with just a glimpse of what a more TL;DR answer would be to the question I see spread by some persistently loud posters around here dismayed at Rodriguez and wondering where the accomplishments are. Sink on these numbers, with all rankings per Rivals.

In 2005-07, Michigan brought in 23 five/four star players. Only 13 remain with the program. Eleven of those recruits came from the 2005 class, so that's just 12 five/four star recruits in our jr/sr classes right now.

In 2008-2009, the two seasons where Rodriguez had to get them to sign on the dotted line, Michigan brought in 31 five/four star recruits, with 26 still on the roster that are either sophomore, redshirt freshmen, freshmen or redshirting.

Rodriguez is stockpiling talent. Replinishing the lifeblood of a program that had received guru approvals in the past thanks in large part to brand name alone. It might not be a very savvy or seasoned team right now. I would even grant that it's not a very well coached team right now, either. But, the program has at least twice as much talent in the underclassmen ranks as it does in the upperclassmen ranks. These kids intend on being here for awhile. I hope the coach that brought him here gets the same chance.

Let It Grow. It will pay off. We'll come get you when we're in full bloom. I promise.



November 1st, 2009 at 8:47 PM ^

Go cheer for another team for awhile.

I read that and immediately thought of your Indiana roots. I don't know if I could take rooting for IU, it's hard enough here sometimes.

But yeah, great post. The people who are still supportive, or at least those understanding will make it through there and hopefully think the same thing. The unfortunate part is that the people who don't have patience with RR are going to be the same people who won't have the patience to read through your post.

Dan Man

November 1st, 2009 at 9:26 PM ^

Jamie Mac - I, like you, am very much in the pro-Rodriguez camp. I also agree with your description of the lack of talent on the team left for Rodgriguez. But to call the Michigan teams from 2004 to 2007 a bunch of "frauds" is bullshit. Yes, those teams generally had less talent than the Florida's and the USC's of the world. But those Michigan teams had much success and, unlike our current version, played sound fundamental football. Name any program that doesn't occasionally lose to or have a close call with a vastly less talented opponent. And don't forget, Henne and Hart were hurt for most of 2007 (except our win over Florida).

So, go ahead, everybody who thinks Michigan football was a fraud from 2004 - 2007, neg-bang away at me!


November 1st, 2009 at 9:58 PM ^

9-3 B10 champions

Appalachian State was ranked #44 in the final 2007 Sagarin ratings (ahead of #47 MSU). Mich finished #21. It is NOT a shocking event for a #44 team to beat a #21 team. (No, we weren't the #5 team we thought we were at the time of the game.)

Nobody claimed the 04-07 teams were machines. But they had their fair share of success.


November 1st, 2009 at 10:58 PM ^

jamiemac - excellent post.

I know that calling the program a fraud will get some hackles up. My question is "Michigan was a fraud at what?"

If your argument is that Michigan was a lousy program that had no business being discussed as a potentially good football team each year, I disagree. 2007 could have gone *very* differently; just like 1997 could have. Despite an astonishing lack of depth and ability to finish games, we could have accidentally contended for a national title if Hart and Henne were both 100% for the entire season.

But if your point was that Michigan was a fraud because they were no longer a perennial top 10 caliber team with designs on the national championship each year -- I wholeheartedly agree.

The fact is, even before the 2000's, Michigan was simply more "not bad" than anyone else. This is what the consecutive bowl streak, number of Big Ten championships, and national attention all point to. The fact is that during Michigan's dominant bowl streak, there was no team that was even close to Michigan's consistency. Michigan was the model for reduced volatility.

The game changed some and Michigan's strategy was good enough to be "not bad" all the time. But it wasn't good enough to regularly be at the very, very top.

This is sort of like the stock market. People say they can tolerate volatility and risk -- then you have a period like October 2008 - March 2009. People that thought they were in stocks "for the long term" jumped ship and missed a HUGE rally. To have the chance to shine brightly, you have to be willing to risk failure.

And many programs have experienced failure with no upside. There are so many schools that have had major down periods. Look at Southern Cal's record in the 1990s. Look at Oklahoma's before Stoops. Look at Florida's before Spurrier (actually, until Spurrier, Florida was *never* that great). Look at Notre Dame since Holtz left.

My hope and belief is that Rodriguez is the guy to help Michigan *avoid* one of those prolonged down periods. This has been an UGLY 1.75 seasons of football. But every play is an adventure, and most of them are exciting. I think we're on the cusp of greatness and that we've got the guy to get us over the hump.


November 2nd, 2009 at 9:03 AM ^

I think the issue is that our skills were unevenly distributed. Jake Long is maybe the best OT of all time at Michigan. Can you name another OL in the final 3 years of Lloyd Carr that would have been on the two deep in the late 90's-early 00's? While Jake could simply overpower people, I remember a lot of other guys missing blocks, getting blown up on both zone and drive plays, and Henne under pressure. The Hart years saw a lack of backups stepping up at RB - when Mike got dinged we often had to keep playing him. The receivers were generally awesome. How about defense? We had two good safeties over what seems like about 5 years in the mid-00's, and a couple of just awful ones. Our linebackers were not very impressive, with the obvious exception of David Harris. The DL was the other generally awesome late-Carr unit.

So, a mixed bag, with great players at a variety of positions and other guys simply blowing plays. We seemed inconsistent: you might suppose that a program Michigan could be at least decent away from positions of great strength, but we seemed... often pretty bad. Our skills guys were generally better than their skills guys, and that bailed us out of some close games.

How was the coaching? Again, mixed. It's clear we had great ability at developing QBs over the past decade-plus. On the other hand, I think our OL development has been in decline for about that long. The playcalling was universally bemoaned around here for years. We defined predictability, yet the team pulled some games out in thrilling finishes, too.

Frauds? No. But not dominant, either; the B10 seemed to be generally in decline about the time our conference title streak ended, but we seemed to be a part of that, rather that taking advantage of it. It's harder to be a dominant program now, but Michigan could still get to that level. I think RR can get us there, if he can weather these tough seasons.


November 2nd, 2009 at 12:26 PM ^

And further to those points, while Jake didn't give up any sacks, how many did the *rest* of the line give up? And what was the percentage of runs that went to the right? By the end of Jake's senior season, we didn't even pretend to try.

As to the decline of the Big 10, I think it is cyclical. You can see a future where PSU and Michigan are back where they want to be. 2-3 teams in the national picture is clearly not an "awful" conference.


November 1st, 2009 at 8:47 PM ^

I think that Mary Sue will hold the line for Rich Rodriguez. Johnny B is behind him, and a pro-RR AD will be selected with his help. RR will have his five years, and damn the cries of the loudest alumni, for fair-weather fans always come back, and they'll come back in droves.


November 1st, 2009 at 8:57 PM ^

Appreciate your post. I am so sick and tired of the BS around the blogosphere on this topic. Part of our fan base is a microcosm of what our culture is like these days - a demand for immediate success without sacrifice.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:01 PM ^

I just think it's sad when people get overly bent out of shape because of a football game. If Michigan's seasonal outcome ruled my life, my salary, and how I lived, then maybe I'd be in all-caps mode freaking out.

But it's just a sport being played by a bunch of kids. Their success, and failures, need to be taken with a grain of salt, and maybe some hard liquor.

Great post, as always sir.


November 1st, 2009 at 10:43 PM ^

I sure as hell wouldn't, but I'm saying that right now just like he is because right now it isn't so fun to be a Michigan fan. What's wrong with that? I'm still 100% all-in for Michigan, but I won't sugarcoat: right now it's not a great situation.

It's not wrong to capitalize on things things that detract from the unhappiness of your favorite team losing and it doesn't make you any less of a fan; after all, you're still right there every Saturday, biting your nails, hoping with everything for a win.

Sometimes you have to be patient and bide your time. This is one of those times. If you want an offense like Oregon's (see: 47-20) from an offense like ours used to be (apples to, uh, puppy dogs), then patience is going to be needed.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:03 PM ^

Oh, and the Alamo wasn't a set back for a revolution. It was a suicide mission in order to buy time. A successful one at that. Just over 220 men held off 1800 for 13 days, long enough to get the rest of the Texas army gathered and partially organized. They also managed to take out 500-600 Mexicans.

That was no set back in the revolution, it was martyrdom.



November 1st, 2009 at 9:07 PM ^

I'd like to add on a point that I haven't heard mentioned by anyone. People want to act like the fact that Michigan has struggled to win more often than not since RR became head coach is proof positive that the spread can't work in the Big Ten or that no improvement has been manifested. Both are an asinine conclusions.

The key to consistent winning is defense; one of the most popular cliches in football. I was shocked at how bad the defense was last year and remains this year. I had no idea how dire the personnel situation was, particularly at DB. Until Michigan improves there, the haters will have all the ammo they want that's likely to be at least one year out, probably two.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:07 PM ^

Thanks for this post - could not agree with you more on all of it. I still feel that good things may yet happen this season. Youth and experience can improve as fast as can regress. Beat Purdue and then go for the last two hard with a refreshed attitude.

Rock on.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:09 PM ^

Brutal and beautiful. Couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm thinking of the Michigan brand, that glorious block M that shines like the freakin' sun in my mind. For years I have been drunk on the M Kool Aid... and by drunk I mean shitfaced. Someone spiked that Kool Aid something serious

Welcome to hangover-ville. No one likes a hangover, particularly one so wicked--one wrought with, as JM has elucidated herein, years of saturation with a most splendid elixir of illusion.

We've all been drinking that Kool Aid and some of us are jolly drunks, and some belligerent. But the spike has worn off and we are yelling for more sugary booze!

Rodriguez is brewing up some fine cognac. As you may know, that takes time. More than than it would take to make a run to the supermarket and pick up some Boone's Farm. Well the Boone's Farm days are over, kiddies! It's time to chew on granola and get ready for round two... back to hanging with the big boys! For that, we'd better be able to hold our shit better than has been demonstrated so far by this fickle fanbase, cuz BOONE'S FARM AIN'T MAKING THE CUT UP TOP, FRIEND! If you want instant gratification, you can find it elsewhere.

STW P. Brabbs

November 9th, 2009 at 9:51 AM ^

Man, I sure hope that home-brewed cognac is what you say it will be - you sure seem hell-bent on discounting anything good that happened before Rodriguez.

Under Lloyd, we were one of the big boys, even when were disappointed. I sure hope we can rejoin the gang sometime fairly soon.

I've said this elsewhere - I'd really, really be thrilled for Rodriguez to win as much as Lloyd did. That would be really fucking nice.


November 1st, 2009 at 9:32 PM ^

While I agree with the main thrust of your post (that true fans will root for the team regardless), I disagree that this program was hanging on by the skin of its teeth for the last decade.

With scholarship limits, EVERY team is hanging by a thread. There are no teams out there that are impervious to mass desertion, rashes of injuries, etc. Very few schools truly have depth, so pointing out Michigan's lack of depth isn't that extraordinary.

The arrival of Rodriguez might help Michigan leap forward, but it also caused Michigan to take a step back. Ryan Mallett could be a junior right now and quarterbacking this team in a pass-first spread. Justin Boren should be our starting guard or center right now. Mallett could have been throwing to seniors Adrian Arrington and Mario Manningham last year.

Meanwhile, Artis Chambers might be manning the FS position or be pushing Mouton at WILL. Marques Slocum and Jason Kates could be clogging the middle on defense. None of those guys was really doing anything great, but more bodies naturally would lead to better competition and a better chance of finding a diamond in the rough

And so on.

Carr did a pretty good job at Michigan for over a decade. He RAISED the program's all-time winning percentage. Sure, this team was susceptible to injuries, but what team isn't? Michigan is not remarkable in this way. The losses to ASU and Oregon and OSU became unacceptable, but this wasn't a rare team on the brink. If it weren't for winning the national championship in 1998, Michigan's expectations wouldn't even be as high as they are today. When your worst season as a coach is 7-5, I'd say your program is in a pretty good place.

Bando Calrissian

November 1st, 2009 at 9:49 PM ^

The anti-Lloyd Carr sentiment, and the subsequent re-writing of his career at Michigan, is one of the most mind-boggling things in the current Michigan fanbase for me. I don't get it. Every argument in defense of Rich Rodriguez has to include some disparaging breakdown of Lloyd Carr. I mean, I know there was a lot of rumblings about Coach Carr in his final years, a lot of it justified but geez, last I checked, we went to 3 Rose Bowls in his final 5 years. Yeah, guy was doing a terrible job. And to think he left behind a program coming off of a bowl win, with a starting quarterback and supporting cast in place. You can't hold Lloyd Carr responsible for "leaving the cupboard bare" (which is a debatable charge anyway) when the mass exodus occurred after he had moved his office across the parking lot to Weidenbach Hall.

Unrelated fun fact: In 2 years at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez has more losses against Illinois than any Michigan coach since Bennie Oosterbaan retired in 1958.


November 1st, 2009 at 11:04 PM ^

Anything said in support (or at least acknowledgement) of Carr is deemed to be a slam against RR. That's not the case.

RR will stand on his own record. He will succeed or fail on his own. A bunch of people posting a bunch of crap on the internet will not be responsible for RR's fate (good or bad). His job is to win football games (and graduate players, and satisfy the alumni....) and he will be judged by the administration based on how he succeeds at these tasks, just like the rest of us are at our respective jobs.

As fans, all we can really do is sit back and wait to see how things play out. Personally, I'd like to see him succeed because that means Michigan is winning football games.


November 2nd, 2009 at 3:40 AM ^

My biggest gripe with Carr was his stubborn insistence on playing conservatively, even when the circumstances seemed to dictate that some assertiveness might have been advisable. He never met a punting situation that he didn't like, even when we were up by only a few points and our D had been unable to stop the opponent's offense at any point in the game. He always acted as though he still had Woodson and the 1997 defense to back him up, even when the defense was quite porous. I shudder to think of how many games under Carr ended with our defense scrambling around trying not to give up a game-winning score (or giving up the game-winning score), rather than by taking a knee because the offense played for first downs rather than punts.

With some of the offensive weapons that we had come through the program during his tenure, you have to wonder what we could have done if Carr had loosened the reins a little bit. I recognize that doing so might have resulted in greater variance in our results, and might have led to some seasons that were worse than under Carr, but that variance might also have resulted in another NC, or at least another NC appearance.

I don't blame Carr for all of our problems, nor do I absolve him from all blame. This team is neither Carr's nor RR's at this point. By the end of next year there should be enough of RR's fingerprints on the team to begin to judge his tenure here. Until then, this is just a painful investment that I hope will return significant dividends in the future.


November 1st, 2009 at 10:37 PM ^

I don't disagree.

What I'm saying is that this incarnation of the Michigan Wolverines was set up to have more talent than it does. Regardless of whether Mallett would have left or not, Lloyd Carr recruited him and was grooming him to be the next starter at the University of Michigan. So while we've been breaking in freshman quarterbacks for the past two seasons, you can't really point to Carr and say, "The lack of talent at QB was his fault." Carr had a 5-star (Mallett), a 4-star (Threet), and two 3-stars (Cone and John Wienke) lined up to take over once Henne left.

(Not that jamiemac was saying that, but it's kind of implied with the whole "This program was hanging by a thread" theme.)


November 2nd, 2009 at 10:24 AM ^

if switch to spread formations in the bowl game against FL wasn't in part an attempt by Lloyd to show Mallett that a pocket passer could be productive in the spread.

Could the talent have been better when Rodriguez took over? Probably. But could Rodriguez have done a better job at convincing some of the talent that was here to stay here? Probably.


November 2nd, 2009 at 7:14 AM ^

Again, look at all the guys that have transferred since Rodriguez arrived. Artis Chambers could be starting in place of Kovacs. Marcus Witherspoon could be providing depth or starting in the LB corps. If Toney Clemons didn't transfer, perhaps James Rogers moves over to CB earlier and is contributing right now on defense.

Obviously, these are all "what ifs", but these are all scholarship players who could have provided depth before you get to walk-ons...


November 2nd, 2009 at 9:40 PM ^

I'm not blaming anyone. I don't have the stats on hand, but something like 20 scholarship players have left Michigan early (transferred, gone to the NFL, flunked out, whatever) since Rodriguez took over. The "blame" can maybe be shared by both Carr and Rodriguez, but either way, it's a mess that Rodriguez has to clean up. With that kind of attrition, I have a hard time expecting too much from this team, especially the paper-thin defense.

STW P. Brabbs

November 9th, 2009 at 9:54 AM ^

I don't think anyone was going to get the Fuck Lion to go to class, 'read books,' etc. Can't blame Rodriguez there.

But full agreement that all these people who think Lloyd did what he did through luck, smoke, and mirrors are fucking morons. It's pretty damned hard to win as much as Michigan did under Lloyd. Rodriguez's tenure so far is testament to that.

919 Brown

November 2nd, 2009 at 3:06 PM ^

I sat down at my desk tonight with hopes that some sanity would finally be put into the right words for everyone to read here, and I can honestly say you did not disappoint. It's not a hard concept, if this is your team you stick with them no matter what the circumstances. If this is your team only when they're enjoying some success, then you're not really a true U-M fan. Sure you can pull out the Michigan gear when they start winning again, but that's only if you can bring yourself to change out of your (insert current championship team here) gear. Fair-weather indeed. Go Blue!

los barcos

November 1st, 2009 at 9:41 PM ^

am i the only one who is equally as tired with the facist wing of the pro-rr faction as those are of the OMG FIRE RR trolls? for everyone whose posting about pitchforks we get one of these "we were a bad team before RR, anyways" posts.

as someone already mentioned on this here blog, appy st finished 44 that year in sagrin rankings. thats no toledo, folks.

i dont even know how to argue with this notion that the famed 2006 team almost lost to a mac team, and therefore, that just goes to show the downfall. that famed 2006 team also was a few plays away from being in a national championship game.

if you want to call the 2004 team the luckiest team in history, what would you call 2002 ohiostate team, who won 8 games by a touchdown or less?

ahh, this meme is just as tiring as the crap being spewed by mcfarlin. were we in a decline? sure. we still went to rose bowls and were even inches away from a chance to play for the national championship. if thats considered a program in decline, then i dont even know what we got going on here.