Desperate need to win level?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on August 20th, 2018 at 11:34 PM

For the season opener.

I'd say 9.5. Need to start off hot and prove something if we have any hope of making the playoff. Something to note is no team has won the national title with zero losses yet in the CFP era. Dropping the opener and having to win 12 straight games is a daunting task. 

Comments

Nervous Bird

August 20th, 2018 at 11:53 PM ^

I'd say 10. But, more important is HOW they win. We won a marquee, nationally televised matchup versus Florida last year, but the lack of flow with the offense was a harbinger of things to come. If it is a win where the defense AND offense plays well, then the expectations will soar! If the offense struggles, and the offensive line doesn't seem to have improved much, then that tough schedule will prove worrisome. 

Any loss, however it happens, will simply suck!

jakerblue

August 21st, 2018 at 9:11 AM ^

The problem is, I don't see how the offense could look good and not win the game. We know the defense is going to be exfellent. Unlikely their offense scores much more than 14-17, so to lose our offense has to put up less than that. Unless some really flukey shit happens.

mitchewr

August 21st, 2018 at 9:28 AM ^

Right, but what I'm saying is that a win and an offense that looked terrible is NOT what we need. We need the offense to look really solid, which would 99% result in a win. If the offense is still stuck where it was last season, we lost this game every time while they probably only score 14-17. If the offense is finally and actually fixed, then we win and it's possible that we could even win big.

That's what I was trying to say. The most important take away from this game is the state of the offense, not so much the W.

victors2000

August 21st, 2018 at 9:38 AM ^

I wonder how much pressure Shea is going to feel. I know he's started at Ole Miss but Jake was the starter at Iowa and he lost that first game against Utah after a less than stellar performance. South Bend is going to be rocking, a very tough first venue to play at; that's my biggest concern, how comfortable Shea is going to be.

mitchewr

August 21st, 2018 at 9:55 AM ^

Yup. We all figured he'd win the starting job and so yesterday's announcement was no surprise but, in reality? That young man has a massive massive challenge in front of him:

  • New offensive scheme
  • New offensive playbook
  • New WRs to develop timing with
  • New team, and surroundings in general

And the icing on the cake? First game is a road game, against the #12 team, at night, at South Bend, one of our biggest rivals. We all have high hopes but man that's a difficult task.

My prediction is either Shea plays lights out and demonstrates that the hype has been real and we win the game and the offense looks solid or he completely collapses under the pressure and throws 3 interceptions and we lose ugly. 

BassDude138

August 21st, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

This is true, but I think Patterson has a bit of an advantage over Rudock going into their first game at Michigan. Jake didn't join the team until fall camp, while Shea went through spring practice, and had the summer to work with his team mates. And while Rudock had a bit more experience, I don't think there is much argument that Patterson is much more talented.

I also think it is worth mentioning that Utah was Harbaugh's first game as well, so the whole team was learning a new system. Shea is the only new player on offense this year, so everyone else should have a pretty good grasp on what they are supposed to be doing. Hopefully no issues with wrong routes, etc. like in the Utah game. I don't see ND being an easy one on the road at night, but I think Patterson is a bit more prepared that Rudock was in his first game.

Blau

August 21st, 2018 at 10:34 AM ^

I'd temper expectations just a little as it's the first game, on the road against a ranked, rival team. There's going to be some hiccups and I bet a few mistakes that make you pull your hair out. At this point against a good ND team at night at their place, a win is a win.

Now if the mistakes persist against the likes of WMU or SMU, that's when you should be worried.

Arinix

August 20th, 2018 at 11:54 PM ^

I’m tired of falling just short. Of being told we “put up a good fight” and nearly beat a top 5 team like OSU. Or that our win isn’t legit because it was against an interim coach. It’s time to actually beat a legit OSU and put some passion back into the rivalry that’s been way too one sided. I may get hate for saying this but we need our own Jim Tressel—someone who understand the importance of the game and is able to turn it around.

 

I didn’t mean to rant there, and I know this post is about ND, but I’m listening to Celine Dion and feeling sad, plus I just beat OSU in NCAA 14, and it made me long for the days where we can do that in real life.

 

I can go on forever but I guess I should stop now; just wanted to get that off my chest 

Nervous Bird

August 21st, 2018 at 12:12 AM ^

Okay, since you seem totally focused on OSU, let me ask this: Do you seriously think that Harbaugh, the man who guaranteed a win in Columbus when he was quarterbacking Michigan, doesn't "understand the importance of the game"?

In 2015, the Michigan team was simply overmatched, and the stellar defense was stretched thin. In 2016, Coach Harbaugh took a highly ranked team into Columbus, and earned a $10k fine for his criticism of the refs after a controversial loss. Then last year, a Michigan team who had been putrid offensively for most of the season, followed a brilliant game plan which put them in position to win the game with 3 minutes left. Coach Harbaugh had a 3rd string quarterback, whose confidence was shattered, on the cusp of the team's biggest upset of his tenure. 

Do you seriously think THAT man doesn't "understand the importance of the game"? Do you seriously think THAT man isn't "able to turn it around"? You claim Michigan fanhood, yet slander Coach Harbaugh by invoking Jim Tressel? 

"APOLOGIZE TO YOUR KINSMEN"!!!

mitchewr

August 21st, 2018 at 9:13 AM ^

I agree, if anyone understands the importance of this game it's Harbaugh. 

But, to OP's point, so far the only thing we've done is come close but still falling short. We've been doing that since the 2004 season. At some point you have to start winning those games. OP brought up Tressel because he went 3-1 in his first four games against the already established Lloyd Carr and never lost a game after that.

We all love Jim's strong connection and understanding of Michigan football, but the wins against OSU need start happening. We've played close for far too long. Gotta simply find ways to win at some point. I hope to god this is finally the year but man if we lose again and are 0-4 it's going to really put a damper on my hopes and dreams for a Harbaugh coached team. 

Perkis-Size Me

August 21st, 2018 at 8:13 AM ^

Spare me the bullshit of Harbaugh not "understanding the importance of the game." Harbaugh fucking played in this game. He guaranteed a win over them. You really think he doesn't understand this game or take it personally? He's probably more reserved about it than you'd like him to be, but don't make the mistake of thinking he cares any less than Meyer. And I don't care if the '11 win came against Luke Fickell. OSU fans sure as hell aren't discounting the wins over RichRod or bad Brady Hoke teams. They relished in watching those games. So you shouldn't care about it either. 

saveferris

August 21st, 2018 at 9:03 AM ^

Or that our win isn’t legit because it was against an interim coach. It’s time to actually beat a legit OSU

So, if the OSU BoT dismiss Meyer tomorrow, The Game this November will have no claim to legitimacy because if we win, we'll have faced another replacement coach?  I'm so tired of this bullshit argument.  You score more points than the other team, you win; period.  Now if you want to cast aspersions as to Luke Fickell's coaching acumen based on that 2011 OSU team, that's fair, but claiming that Michigan's win "doesn't count" just because he was holding the clipboard is some major ego-salvaging weak sauce.

stephenrjking

August 20th, 2018 at 11:58 PM ^

It's 8.5 or 9. Mostly because every game is so important for Michigan. I think Michigan can still have a great season (including a playoff berth) with a loss to Notre Dame; note, for example, OSU's loss to Va Tech in 2014. Everything is still on the table.

The game is more important for two reasons: 1. The fanbase will be maddening if we lose, and even wins won't be enough to quell the frustration until we beat Wisconsin at the earliest. 2. It's what it might mean, not what it is: Michigan will have every chance to win out and go to the playoff, but a team that can't beat ND will have trouble doing so. 

Michigan needs to win big this year. A playoff berth isn't absolutely necessary if there are big wins, for example, in Columbus and East Lansing. But it's harder if we don't win in South Bend.

dragonchild

August 21st, 2018 at 7:34 AM ^

Michigan will have every chance to win out and go to the playoff, but a team that can't beat ND will have trouble doing so.

I agree with this one particular sentence though we may not agree across the board.  I'm not a believer in momentum or symbolism or whatnot; I've seen hot streaks die in spectacular fashion and teams rebound from what were thought of as lost seasons.  A lot can happen in a week.  And while it'd be nice to get revenge over the whuppin' ND laid on UM last time, I'm strangely apathetic about it.

No, the reason this is a "need to win" factor 9 is because this game is when we see the result of Harbaugh's offseason changes.  Looking at the defense and the talent on offense, if the offense has been repaired, Michigan wins and may go all the way to the playoff.  If they don't, it'll be because the offense is still broken, which means it's going to be another long season.  ND almost doesn't matter, except as a solid test of what we've got.

saveferris

August 21st, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

It may be a little much to ask that Michigan demonstrate that the offense is completely "fixed" in Game 1 on the road in South Bend.  I'd settle for an offense that gets progressively better week-to-week as the season progresses, a la 2015 under Rudock and 2016 until Speight got hurt at Iowa.

That said, if Michigan comes out and just manhandles ND in Week 1, boy, it sure will seem like the sky is the limit for this team.

mitchewr

August 21st, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

The problem though is that, in 2015 that made perfect sense. It was Harb's first year and he obviously needed time to establish his program, his system, his offense, etc. But my gosh man, if he still can't put it together in four years, how on earth is that going to inspire anyone that year 5 will be any better?

At some point, the system has to be finished installing and you just go forward. Can only claim to be rebuilding a team for so long...

Realus

August 21st, 2018 at 9:49 AM ^

It's not anything to do with installing your system / culture this year.  It's that QB play in absolutely critical in football.

A strong case can be made that if Saban doesn't put Tagovailoa in the championship game last year, then Alabama loses.  And QB play was the reason Alabama lost to Clemson the year before.

So, QB play is critical.  With great QBs and QB play, you can do what OSU did (once) by having three QBs play well in a season.  Without it, you lose.  And even great coaches (Saban) can be hobbled by bad QB play.

So, the problems we have are:

#1 QB - Patterson - Great, but first year on team

#2 QB - Peters - Could be great, but didn't prove it last year

#3 QB and #4 QB - M & M (?) - Young, completely unproven, zero starts, not use if either has played in a game yet

THIS is the primary concern for this team (and QB play WAS the real problem last year).  Yeah OL play was bad and contributed to bad QB play (maybe even getting your one good QB injured) but the root problem was bad QB play.

If UM QB play is above average P5 this year??  Then the championship is not out of the question.

outsidethebox

August 21st, 2018 at 9:21 AM ^

I am a fan...your posts are most thoughtful and astute.

However, I do not give a damn about the fans...never have, never will. Not as a player, not as a coach, not as an official. Fans are generally way beyond stupid...closer to pathologically ignorant. These games are for the players. These games are not about the fans!!! 

In general the players will have very fond memories-win or lose. The fans...OH MY!!!

grumbler

August 21st, 2018 at 9:51 AM ^

As a player, you thought that the games were about you.  Got it.  That's not the way the world works, though.  All that coaching and equipment and facilities that you had as a player?  The fans, whom you think aren't worthy of your consideration, paid for all of that.  It's ironic that you use the very phrase I would use in response to your ideas: "way beyond stupid."

maize-blue

August 21st, 2018 at 12:02 AM ^

For ND, I'd say 7 or 8. Mainly for season momentum. In the long run of the season, a loss there would be survivable but it would be a miserable week following that loss.

MSU is a 10.

Leaders And Best

August 21st, 2018 at 12:06 AM ^

The schedule is tough. Anyone expecting 10 wins as the floor for expectations may be setting the bar too high.

Personally for me, part of it depends on how the team looks, not just the wins and losses. Really need to win 3 of the 5 marquee games (@ND, Wisconsin, @MSU, PSU, and @OSU), but ALL three of the rivalry games are on the road. Nebraska and @Northwestern are not gimmes either.

victors2000

August 21st, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

Honestly, we really don't know that. Frost did some great things at CFU, taking the team from 0-12 to 12-0 and the national championship in a little over two years. Shocking would be an understatement if Nebraska came into the Big House and beat us but they could go 8-4 or 7-5 this year. I'll tell you this, Michigan State better be ready November 17th when the head to Memorial Stadium. 

mitchewr

August 21st, 2018 at 9:22 AM ^

I understand the schedule is tough, but it's year four. We have to set high expectations at some point and if year 1 and 2 weren't fair because it was still early, and year 3 was just a bust, then why should we not set high expectations for year 4?

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, they all play in this conference too and I'm sure all of them are setting expectations of 10+ win seasons and B1G championships. We're in the B1G and in the East division, so it's going to be tough every year. We can't keep waiting until we have the easiest opposition in the world before setting high expectations. None of these other teams are slowing down so we either step it up and meet them where they're at or we better get comfortable with 3rd place.

victors2000

August 21st, 2018 at 9:23 AM ^

I was in the Navy and did two 6 month deployments that made it seem like those two years never happened to me, with respect to civilian history. I had to work the day of the Outback bowl and it was so busy I never even got a chance to check out the score until after the game. All I have is this frustrating feeling of missing a very frustrating game, which has stayed with me far too long.