This bowl is far from “meaningless”

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on December 3rd, 2018 at 4:12 PM

Every time I see someone call this bowl game meaningless it irks me. 

Right now we’re 10-2 and when that bowl was announced on ESPN, all they were talking about was that last game at osu. Then they tried pushing their narratives about how “Harbaugh can’t win big games” (even though he’s beaten 3 ranked B1G teams, 2 of them top-15 and one who is currently higher than they were when he beat them). 

What exactly do you think will happen if we don’t win this game? 10-3 AGAIN and all the momentum and great things done this season will be wiped out essentially. We will be right back where we were at the end of last season and going into another offseason in the bottom of bpone.

If the 38 other bowls mean nothing, then this sport really sucks. 

The NIT is meaningless. The NCAA Basketball Tournament has 68 teams that renders it meaningless. Don’t get this “playoff” twisted with a sport that actually crowns a non-mythical champion. We’re talking about a NY6 bowl, not the Redbox Bowl.

I know this is a snowflake rant but I just had to say it. Go Blue 🍑



December 3rd, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

I don't think anyone considers this bowl game to be meaningless. I think people are just annoyed because there's not really anything to gain from winning it. There's only something to lose if they beat us


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

Plenty to gain from winning:

11 wins is better than 10

2 losses is better than 3

11 win teams get ranked higher than 10 win teams

Momentum into next season for accomplishing something that hasn't happened since the Hoke era

Momentum in recruiting

Pushing the narrative of success against the SEC (repeated beatdowns of Florida)

Not having to hear for 9 months about Harbaugh not being able to win a big game

The Hot Take Express loses steam instead of gaining traction until the start of spring ball, thus making this board infinitely more tolerable


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

While your points are valid, they don't really move the needle as they are all about the perception, rather than the reality of the program.

If UM wins its 11th game or loses it's third, the season's level of success will neither increase or decrease.  And "momentum" into next season is as ephemeral a concept as luck and Delaney intelligence, as they are all theoretical and cannot be proven to exist.


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

In so many things (politics, recruiting, dating, etc.) perception is reality.  Just think about the mindset around the program last off season after blowing it against South Carolina - absolutely toxic.  A win, even a close win, against the SEC will make the off season much smoother.


December 3rd, 2018 at 6:09 PM ^

I don’t see how beating a lesser ranked team will detract the naysayers from saying JH cannot win big games. To them, the game is outside the CFP, so the game means very little for any of that talk. We needed to play UCF, LSU, or Georgia for this game to be the “big game.” We lose to Florida and we’ve lost to a team we’ve beaten before and the complainers will hate on JH. We win, we’ve beaten them before.

JH can win big games, but can be win the biggest? He has yet done that here, but I think he can. Losing burns me, but I know it burns JH, which is why he’s gotten where he has—and why he’s taken teams to where he has.

To counter, though, the idea that this game has much significance is based on inside the program perspectives. To the average fan, especially the quick hot take fans here: the game means less because it is not for a chance at the trophy. And from a fan perspective, this game is boring. Still, I entertained getting tickets, because I love this program. Yet, there’s no reason to invest in a game with little national fan significance. 

Lastly, the entire BIG has to win their bowls, and win big, for any rankings respect. But we were not given the chance to go up against the second or third best SEC team when we are the second best BIG team. And OSU has to play an underachieving Washington. Yeah, we lose and recruiting and next year’s early rankings will be lower. We lose and lose Shea and any other surprise goners and that’s worse. 

We win and Shea returns, then we start next year as a top 10 team. Haskins leaves and we may end up ranked ahead of OSU next preseason. 


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:26 PM ^

The gain, is:

1) We beat a top 10 SEC team on the road (or at least in the South)

2) Get 11 wins

3) Gain momentum with key recruits that reinforces that Michigan can win on the big stage 

4) Sort of make up for the prior game (or at least show that the O and D are actually good)

5) Don't have to keep listening to Michigan's "lack of speed"


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:53 PM ^

We need to win convincingly to move the needle. Even that might not do it. And the lack of speed myth didn't die with the last three wins over UF; not sure we kill it this time. This game is a pretty thankless task.

The one way that I can see to win that makes a difference--have a really fun and successful game-plan that shows off the wealth of possibilities implicit in the Harbaugh and Warriner marriage. This would be the way to get the offense excited and involved, make the critics believe Jimmy is willing to loosen up enough to prevail.

Hoping that the D shows up no matter what; they have some incentive. You know that Felipe Franks is rehearsing crossing routes in his sleep.

His Dudeness

December 3rd, 2018 at 10:03 PM ^

Lol saying "11-2 is better than 10-3" does not give this game meaning. It doesn't matter. Nothing you say will give it any meaning. If we lose we will be ranked top 15 next year in pre-season and if we win out we will be in the playoffs. If we win this game we will be top-10 next year pre-season and if we win out we will be in the playoffs. Therefore the results of this bowl game quite literally have zero value. It is a meaningless exhibition game. Practice time is valuable but you get that preparing for any bowl. The game itself is meaningless. You can try to make up meaning all you want but you will still be wrong. 


December 3rd, 2018 at 6:43 PM ^

Agreed. The narrative for the season has basically been written: still can't win the biggest one, still can't crack the playoff. Almost, just like 2016. Most of the college football world outside of UM and UF fanbases won't remember this game even happened in 2 years. 


December 3rd, 2018 at 7:44 PM ^

So, what people are saying is that finishing in the top five or six in the country and winning a New Year’s Day bowl is nothing to win? What exactly do people think is a worthy finish then?

After the misery of the RichRod and Hoke years, literally the worst in program history, and to a lesser degree, last year’s 7-5, I think playing for 11-2, is pretty terrific. 


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:17 PM ^

It is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, it is not meaningless to the program or to the players choosing to participate. But to players who have decided to leave for the NFL, it is a meaningless game, and it's nothing more than a meaningless exhibition. Which is fine. Both things can be true. 


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:56 PM ^

The problem there is this: if the player in question is truly a Michigan Man, who loves the school and the program, how can they not care?  Look at Desmond, Woodson, Brady and others who went on to bigger stages after UM: they still care.  They watch the games.  They don the gear.  The fans still care.  The alumni care.  I'm sure the guys who are going to play in the bowl want to win - why not support them?


December 3rd, 2018 at 9:30 PM ^

The problem with that assessment is that you make it sound as though it's all or nothing.  This kid has great options anyway you look at it.  He sits the bowl, he gets drafted and makes millions.  He plays the bowl, most likely (99%+ chance) gets drafted, makes millions.  He plays, gets injured (a la Butt, <1% chance), rehab, gets drafted, makes millions.  He comes back, plays his senior year, gets drafted makes millions.  There are, or course, worse scenarios - but all unlikely.  He plays in the bowl, gets really hurt (<<<1% chance), still has fruitful career with degree.... probably similar odds as getting hurt in car crash, bar fight, slipping on ice in winter, or having a random sudden health problem.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.


December 4th, 2018 at 4:53 PM ^

It's not all or nothing, but when you can secure the financial future of your family by missing a game that was designed to be an exhibition, then absolutely do it. I could not care less if Rashan Gary plays or not. He's given me 35 fantastic Saturday's over the last 3 years, he's dedicated 3 years of his life to this program, he has given nothing but maximum effort, so good for him. And it's not a <1% chance of him getting hurt. Football is a violent game, Jaylon Smith and Jake Butt both lost millions of dollars. Millions of dollars is a lot of money and he can finish up his degree whenever he wants.


December 7th, 2018 at 10:39 AM ^

How is it not a <1% chance of (serious, requiring time-off) injury?  I don't believe the stats would support that kind of injury rate on a per game basis, either for that position or for the support.

That being said, where is the line drawn?  Bowl games are exhibition games - that was the intent with the first bowl game (Rose Bowl, 1902) and for every bowl since.  There is nothing wrong with that; this does not equate to being meaningless.  The main points are 1) if this is something you love, do it regardless of the money and 2) even in player X doesn't care about the game, maybe their teammates do and want to win - play for them.


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:20 PM ^

This bowl, like all of life, is meaningless.  Just a momentary diversion as we hurtle toward oblivion on a small clump of dirt in an empty, dark, uncaring void.

Maize N' Ute

December 3rd, 2018 at 4:21 PM ^

So Michigan beats Florida....big whoop.  That would be the 3rd time in 4 years.  What does this win prove exactly?

Now, if Michigan had a chance to play UGA and beat them, then you're talking about something.


December 3rd, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

I understand the general sentiment but disagree slightly.

First, a blowout can still be a statement win.  Total domination from start to finish shows resilience from a devastating loss and ends the year on a high point.  More importantly, it's a chance for the coaching staff to demonstrate that they learned lessons from the OSU game.  On D, you know Florida's going to try cross routes and short passes.  Can we stop it decisively?  On O, will the play calling be more aggressive and better utilize our weapons in the passing game?

I agree that this game could very well be a meh win.  But it's also an opportunity to spark optimism and change the narrative going into next year.

Maize N' Ute

December 3rd, 2018 at 4:42 PM ^

Getting a bowl win is always nice.  It boosts the morale heading into the long offseason.  I agree with you on that point. 

Let me play devils advocate on the Offense and Defense

-What IF Harbaugh opens the offense against Florida and look unstoppable?  I'm pretty sure everyone will be asking where has this type of offense been all year....i.e Florida 2008.  I know I will be asking that.

- What IF Don hasn't found a solution to the crossing routes and Florida continues to exploits Don's defense?  People will start to ask if Don is the man for this team?  I think it would be crazy, but there will be those people.

Consider me one of those extremely disappointed fans. I admit it.  I just think it's a no-win for this game.