Submitted by BILG on November 25th, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Perhaps the most depressing and annoying part of ND going to the title game is not all the media buzz or the fact that they pulled a bunch of wins out of their Irish asses this year, but ultimately that another of the historic college football heavy weights will be going to the biggest game.  We've been close, but as we all know never made the BCS title game, leaving us one last year to get there and all the 6 week media love fest that comes with it.  The BCS era will not be a remembered fondly for us Wolverines.  Our Orange and Sugar Bowl conquests while glorious, can't outweigh the beat downs administered by USC in the Rose and the heart breaker to VY's Longhorns.  

Including this year, that's 13 years of the BCS, with Michigan holding a 2-3 record in those Bowls. Sorry but I think we all have higher expectations than just 5 appearances.  This will be Notre Dame's 4th BCS bowl appearance.  They have yet to win one, but of course, a victory in the championship game would make up for all that.  Point being, we are no more relevant than ND.  With ND now on the list, it seems that all historic football "powerhouses" except Michigan, Penn State, and Georgia have managed to make it to the title game.  Georgia has a shot next week.  The following have all gone to a BCS title game.


LSU (Not sure if they are part of "historic elite", but with 2 BCS titles and 3 championship game appearances, couldn't leave them out)



Florida State


Ohio State





Notre Dame


I consider Oregon, V Tech, and Auburn outside the "historic elite" programs.  

So how we looking for a title run next year?



turd ferguson

November 25th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

Fine, but you're cherry-picking a little bit in that we won the national title in the last season before the BCS started.  I also don't think it's news that the Rich Rod era didn't go so well and we're still working our way back up.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

Well, we are digging our way out of the defensive hole and are digging our way down into an offensive one. We have now slide about 30 places in each of the last two years in total offense.

I would take RR paired with an elite defensive coordinator over this retro Big Ten 1970's direction we are heading in now.  Any day.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

I don't know, yes Oregon is fun to watch but does anyone give them a shot against lsu or Alabama who have fast AND big athletes and focus on defense?

Systems are fun and can lead to consistency but if you want to win it all, you need the latter which Michigan is historically wont to land. It'll happen with another year of consistency


November 25th, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

I would give Oregon a shot against anyone. There is no replacement for speed. I think of the Oregon methods as those that are still being prefected and will come to play a more substantial role in the future of the college and professinal game. There will be an Oregon approach in the NFL within the next 5 years.

The whole "system" thing is funny. Everyone has a system. It is a philosophy and strategy accompanied by a tactical execution plan. Oregon and others do not have a "system" and UM, Alabama et al don't.  They just have a different approach. Descriptions  of a "system" as if it were some kind of voodoo really puzzle and concern me. Sometimes its the old ideas which should scare us more than the new ones.


November 25th, 2012 at 6:08 PM ^

Oregon lost to Stanford, a team that is built in the mold of Alabama, LSU, and those 90s to mid 2000s UM teams by scoring only 14 points at home. I am not sure why it always seems to be an either or thing, but I will take a defense that can shut them down over the team that scores 50 points a game.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

Brady Hoke's winning percentage is higher than Carr's, Moeller's, and the last ten years Bo was on the job.  We have been "back" for a couple years now.  If you factor in the schedule (just about all losses coming away from home to a series of 11+ win teams) and the performances (we could have won a number of those games without key injuries or without a completely atrocious offensive performance) then we are way better than we've been in a long time.

We aren't at the bottom of some long rebuilding process.  If anything, we've missed some great opportunities the last few years because we haven't been able to pick one offense or the other and stick to it.  Hopefully next year we can focus on practicing one system instead of a half-assed combination of two and that will lead to the just-competent results we need to have a great season with what should be a fantastic defense coming back.

turd ferguson

November 25th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

I'm not sure I follow.  Part of the OP's point was that we haven't been to a national championship game in the BCS era, so maybe we're not in the class of the programs that have.  Did you really think that anyone we hired post-Rodriguez was going to take us to a national title game within two seasons?

I agree that we're back at this point, largely because I think we made the correct head coach hire after letting go of Rodriguez.  Who knows, with next year's schedule and returning starters, we could stay in the title race at least for awhile.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

I think it is within the realm of possibility that under some set of circumstances we could have beaten MSU and Iowa last year.  That would have put us in the conference title game playing for a spot in the national championship. 

I don't think any coach gets us past Bama in the opener this season but every other game this year has been winnable (and the losses were to elite teams, one of which is playing for the national title) if we protect the ball at all against ND/OSU and give Devin a shot against Nebraska (though a loss there with Denard getting hurt is entirely excusable either way).

The assumption that we just don't have the horses to, I don't know, score a single touchdown against Notre Dame without turning it over 6 times is complete bullshit.

turd ferguson

November 25th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

Okay, I guess it's "within the realm of possibility that under some set of circumstances" we could have played in a national championship game over the past two seasons, but that would have required (1) unbelievably good luck and (2) maybe the best coaching job I've ever seen in sports. 

In 2010, we went 7-6.  All six losses were by double digits, and our wins included UMass by 5, Indiana by 7, and Illinois by 2.  Our defense was a disaster, and we underwent a coaching change to a staff that prefers a radically different offense and defense.  I really don't think I'm stretching when I say that I'm not surprised that we haven't played for a national title for the past two years.

It's always easy at the end of a season to say, "Hey, we only lost these games by a couple of points, so if we had executed, we would have been undefeated."  Generally, though, you win a few of those games too (for us, the ND, OSU, and VA Tech games last year and the Air Force, MSU, and Northwestern games this year).

The Baughz

November 25th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

We have been a mediocre program during most of the bcs era. I see another 3 loss season next year. We need to land some elite skill position recruits, and land an elite OC. Until then, the block M will stand for mediocrity instead of Michigan.


November 25th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

Hoke will never lead us to the national title, we will be lucky if he even leads us to a big ten title considering he's never won a conference title. When you look at those programs they all recruit about the same as us but they just produce better talent and have better coaching.

turd ferguson

November 25th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

Heck, we'll be lucky if we ever win another game with Hoke.  And I guarantee that no recruit ever will choose Michigan while he's here.  Honestly, I think it's 50-50 that we have a football program next year.  And if Hoke sticks around for a few years, who knows if the University of Michigan can continue to exist.  Then, there's the state of Michigan and the country more generally.

I mean, the guy hasn't even won a conference title.


November 25th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

So one good year makes ND as relevant as us? Ok buddy.

In 2006 we were 3 points and a voter screw job out if the title game. If ND had to play a top 2 team this year on the road do you think they'd be where they are? Nope.

It's been an up and down 10 years. But there are lots of good moments too. 2003, 2004 big ten titles. 2006 11-0 start. 2007 Cap One Bowl win. 2011 11-2 Sugar Bowl Champs.

People always get too high after big wins and too low after big losses. Just keep some perspective please.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:27 PM ^

In 2003 we lost to 8-5 Oregon, Iowa, needed a miracle comeback to beat Minnesota, and got manhandled by USC.

In 2004 we lost to the ND team that got Ty Willingham fired, beat 4-7 SDSU by three points at home, beat Minnesota by 3 and Purdue by 2, needed a QB injury and Braylonfest to beat MSU in 3OT, and got smoked by OSU.

Even the 2006 team made its reputation off the ND beatdown but struggled mightily on offense when Manningham got hurt (17 against Penn State, 20 against Minnesota, 17 against Iowa) and survived on a crazy good run defense.  Ball State took us down to the wire and exposed the major problems we had in the secondary before OSU and USC exploited them to close out the season.

We've finished in the top-5 twice in the last 20 years.  One time we had a Hall of Fame NFL QB running the show.  The other time we had a Hall of Fame, Heisman winning DB.  And if we had to play Nebraska or Peyton Manning instead of Ryan Leaf things may not have turned out as well as they did.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

It really takes recruiting, coaching, and a bit of luck to make to the national championship game.  Look at Alabama and Notre Dame this year.  Recruiting and coaching alone did not get them there.  Alabama, despite most pundits proclaiming them best team by far in CFB this year, it took the luck that every other undefeated and eligible team (except ND) lost in games they were huge favorites to win. 



November 25th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

This is a very good post, it's a fair assessment of where we are in terms of our tier of teams. Our best year in that time frame also came in osu's best year unfortunately, so luck has a lot to do with that list.

hokes ability to recruit and teach tough football, and yes, Dave Brandons willingness to upgrade facilities and play the money game are putting us in a good spot to capitalize on luck when it inevitably comes our way


November 25th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

This ND team is loaded with talented seniors that Brian Kelly had no part in recruiting.  They aren't bringing in a linebacker as good as Te'o, maybe ever again.  Acting like this proves they are going to be awesome going forward is just as silly as assuming Gene Chizik is going to continue kicking ass at Auburn indefinitely.



November 25th, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

He was there for only three years.  He didn't build a team there either.  His success at that stop says more about Mark Dantonio (who has had similar success building a program at MSU) than it does about Kelly in the aspect of the job that coaches actually make a significant impact at, recruiting and building a program.


November 25th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

Simmer down, all. This was a hellacious schedule Michigan just fought through, including the (probable) #1 & #2 teams in the country on the road (Bama neutral site, yeah, yeah).

Say what you will about ND, but they just completed one of the most difficult schedules nationally (barely) unscathed, almost entirely on the strength of their defense.

Here's my admittedly optimistic hypothesis: Michigan is on the verge of having several elite recruiting classes (back-to-back) with a coaching staff that is focused on and has already proven to be outstanding at coaching defense. There is significant offensive talent coming in to supplement some stars already here. You can't convince me that U-M's offense going forward will be worse than ND's. So: Why can't U-M be playing for a National Championship in 1-3 years? Why is everyone talking as if mediocrity is all they see on the horizon? Am I missing something here? Why all the sudden pessimism for the immediate future?


November 25th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

There is a big opportunity next season.  The defense should be a beast if Countess comes back healthy, especially if we start to see some added contribution from the guys redshirting this year.

Devin is a difference maker at QB who will actually be practicing all spring/summer at the position he's going to play.  The offense should be less of a mishmash of various things and instead the line, though young, will be practicing the power/conventional run game twice as much as they got to the last two years.  If Gardner can spend a successful offseason stint in turnover prevention camp the team has a clear shot at a great season.


November 25th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

along with our younger players becoming juniors and seniors with the class we have coming in with the easy schedule we play with Devin at the helm of the QB spot I have Michigan going undefeated next year. I think ND is one and done this year and I don't see us losing at home anytime soon.


November 25th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

What gives you reason to believe that MIchigan's offense going forward will be as good or better than ND's? 

I admit that I have not been a fan of the Borges hire from the start.  Our total offense ranking has gone from 8th in 2010 to 42nd in 2011 to 81st in 2012.  Having studied his past failures as places like Indiana, Cal, Auburn, etc., we are getting the regression that I expected. 

Hoke admittedly has no role in our offense (a defensive version of RR), so we don't need to debate the Hoke v. Kelly angle (which would not favor Hoke). 

I would love to have optimism about our offense, but see no basis for it.  The fact that Borges doesn't recruit just makes the comparison to Greg Robinson uncanny.  What logical reason is there to believe that we will be able to be as good or better than ND on offense with this offensive coaching staff? 


November 25th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

How about the fact that we we have Morris coming in next year.  ND has an offense full of seniors and juniors and it still isn't that good.   Basically every one except for Golson. Kelly has had 2 full recruting classes and most of them still haven't seen much of the field on offense.  Auburn is a shining example of why one year doesn't change everything.


November 25th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

Finally, a voice of reason. Yes, we all hate ND. Especially those us who had to stomach the Touchdown Tim Brown and Rocket Ismail years. But you have to be completely blinded by Maize n Blue glasses to seek and dismiss their undefeated season with comments about how they won and who they played. Seriously? They played a far more difficult schedule than Michigan did....than 99% of the country did. You don't have to like it, but denying their success by somehow trying downgrade it is just homeristic foolishness.


November 25th, 2012 at 6:01 PM ^

They did not play a far better schedule than Michigan did at all.  Stanford, Ok, and no one else with over 7 wins other than Michigan.  Compare that to neutral against Alabama, @OSU, @ Nebreska, and 9 win Northwestern.  Take a look at the Gators schedule or say Arizona.  They didn't play better schedules than them either.  


November 25th, 2012 at 7:18 PM ^

Sagarin has ND's SOS at #30, Michigan at #32. Oregon was #31. Here's the top of the list--you might notice something about the teams here.

  1. Kansas
  2. Missouri
  3. Oregon State
  4. California
  5. Stanford
  6. USC
  7. Baylor
  8. Arizona
  9. Iowa State
  10. Auburn
  11. Oklahoma
  12. West Virginia
  13. Florida
  14. Oklahoma State
  15. Colorado
  16. Washington
  17. Washington State
  18. Kentucky
  19. TCU
  20. Texas

The PAC 12 and Big 12 are the only conferences playing nine conference games, and 16 of their 22 schools were in the top 20. Playing one less cupcake really changes things.

Massey hasn't updated for yesterday yet, but since almost everyone was playing a conference game that probably won't change the conference makeup much. At Massey, the top 4 and 7 of the top 10 schedules were in the PAC.


November 26th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

We won the NC the year before the BCS.  

We won the 2000 Orange Bowl against the team that the media was saying was the best in the country at that time.

We had a shot at a BCS NC in 2006, and had another shot at it in 2006 via the voters.

We were a tipped field goal away from beating Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, something that  even Rose Bowl-invincible USC could not do.

We won the 2012 Sugar Bowl in thrilling fashion in OT.

That's hardly a poor record.

But, the hell with the incredibly flawed BCS.  50 years down the road, all those BCS champions will have * by their names.  

What I really want is not to win the last BCS NC game, but to win the first Playoff NC game.