Should Devin Gardner take a redshirt or play in his freshman year? The answer to this question depends upon how much impact you think he might have in 2010, versus how badly we will want him to play in 2014 as a fifth year senior instead of a new starter. We don’t know what he will do in college and we most certainly don’t know what he will be like five years from now. However, one thing that we can do is look historically at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>Michigan football team in the years where they have had a fifth year senior quarterback at the helm. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Devin Gardner led team. Then, we can compare those results to the years where Michigan has had a new starting quarterback. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Michigan if Gardner leaves after the ‘13 season.
Let’s look at fifth year senior QBs in the last 30 years against our two biggest rivals, and the bowl game results.
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Let’s tally up those results, shall we? In the last 30 years, we are a combined 13-2-1 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a fifth year senior starting at quarterback. In those eight seasons, we made a BCS bowl game all but once, and we have won four of those (for those of you in Columbus – that means we won a BCS Bowl game 50% of the time). Yes, yes, I know that the BCS didn’t exist before 1998, but I think you get the point.
Only three times did we not win vs. OSU and MSU. Wow. I should point out that in two of those games, the 5th year senior did not play the whole game. In 1992, Elvis Grbac got injured in the first half with only two pass attempts. In 1999, Tom Brady sat out a little more than a quarter in place of Drew Henson.
Now, let’s take a look at the results the last 30 years when we have had a new starter at quarterback:
|1987||Brown||Loss||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
|1993||Collins||Win||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
In the last 30 years, we are a combined 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a new starting quarterback. In those thirteen seasons, we made a BCS game only once, and we lost it (for those of you in Columbus – that means a 0% success rate). 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU, and only one Rose Bowl in thirteen seasons. Wow, that really sucks. 8 of MSU’s 9 victories against us in the last 30 years have come in a year where we had a new starting quarterback. This is a crappy trend that is consistent over all four Michigan coaches in the 30-year period. Please note that I left out 1988 because even though Michael Taylor was technically a new starter, senior Demetrius Brown finished the season with victories in Columbus and Pasadena.
So what does this mean for Devin Gardner? Ideally, Forcier will be a four-year starter, which means that Gardner might take over the team in 2013. If history is any indicator, that means 2013 will be a mediocre year in which we split the two big ones, at best, and have almost no chance at a BCS game. If we have another new starter in 2014, expect the same. On the other hand, if Gardner is playing as a fifth year senior, expect lots of misery for the residents of Columbus and East Lansing and a BCS bowl game.
I think that my opinion on this matter is clear. Devin Gardner needs to take a redshirt, if at all possible.