The disappointment is almost worth it

Submitted by Larry Appleton on February 7th, 2018 at 12:01 PM
It was a disappointing football season. It’s a disappointing end to the recruiting cycle. But knowing that all the UNACCEPTABLEs are pounding-the-floor miserable right now almost makes it worth it. They deserve nothing better. And truthfully, I don’t think they’d want it any other way. Now delete this thread.

Comments

B1G Winning

February 7th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

Almost as bad as the "Unacceptables" are those who have grown complacent with the abundant mediocrity over the past 15 years.

It is ok to still love Michigan yet question the current happenings around the program. After all we are the "Leaders and Best!"

The motto isn't "Those who stay will be 4th in the B1G East and likely lose to every team with a winning record (sans Purdue! Yay..)"

Toby Flenderson

February 7th, 2018 at 12:06 PM ^

I think characterizing people giving criticisms to the program this year as part of the "Unacceptable" crowd is quite patronizing. There are signs of issues with the program that were exposed this season. 

Toby Flenderson

February 7th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

There was also the blowing of a 19-3 lead to a bad South Carolina team and losing under the lights to an MSU team that was just as inexperienced as Michigan was. There was also the losing of top targets this recruiting cycle when rivals such as ND and OSU are bringing in elite programs. There was also a horrid O-Line leading to the injury of two Michigan QB's this season, in which the OC had to apologize to his players about his bad coaching. There was also a hand off to a tight end on 3rd and 1 which led to a fumble. There was also the stubborn nature of putting Mike McCray on talented Running Backs when it was clear he could not handle the responsiblity.

 

Youth can only be used as an excuse for too long. It is reasonable to lose to teams more talented such as Wisconsin, OSU, or PSU last year. Michigan lost to teams they shouldn't of lost to.

abt424

February 7th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

Exactly. 

Pointing out issues or stating one is concerned about the direction of the program doesn't mean one doesn't support the program.

Michigan football, unfortunately,  has not been consistently great since the 1980s/1990s. While it looked like Harbaugh was returning the program to that level, this past year was a tough one. Following it up with a meh recruiting class that includes lower-rated prospects in the areas we've had problems in the recent past (quarterback, offensive line) makes worrying about the program logical. 

 

The Fox Says Hail

February 7th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

  1. The offense had two new coaches that attempted to change the offensive scheme
  2. Michigan was young in some vital areas such as QB and WR
  3. You listed many 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stringers

That being said, I don't think we can't just hang all the failures on "youth" and just shrug our shoulders. It's clearly a combination of problems and we'll see if Harbaugh can turn the corner in 2018/2019. 

DairyQueen

February 7th, 2018 at 9:07 PM ^

Everyone talks about "Youth not being an excuse", citing that because "other teams also played 1st and 2nd year players", don't ever address that there's a clear difference between playing young players by choice and playing young players by necessity.

Also, Harbaugh clearly wants to run a complex offense, even his 3rd year at Stanford was 8-5 (yes, he inherited a different program in Michigan, which is why the 2nd year bests the 1st year and the 3rd year). Many, many, many analysts and people on here considered Michigan's schedule and concluded they would finish with 3-4 losses.

I'm not trying to whitewash Harbaugh's mistakes or say that he's perfect, but there's a fair bit of hyperbolic "sky is falling" (and yes that has to do with Harbaugh's push for publicity--which puts you in more limelight when you inevitably crash) attitude toward the program.

First 4 classes:

Hoke - #30, #6, #4, #20

Harbaugh - #37, #8, #5,,#21

And yet everyone would agree that the programs are CLEARLY trending in opposite directions.

Recruiting can also have to do with turnover and a recruits' desire to see the field early. USC gets Top-10 classes with ease, so top recruiting is a necessary-but-not-sufficient to competing for NC's

Don't get me wrong teams like Alabama and OSU prove to be an exception to the rule as they recruit so well (and in Alabama's case literally "process" 5-stars to make room for new recruits) that so many players leave early that they can regularly take ~25 players per cycle

Clemson is a great example of a team that never had the top of the top classes with great regularity but built up it's program slowly.

mGrowOld

February 7th, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

Quick question OP - are YOU happy/satisfied with the results?

During my four years at U of M (78-81) we did the following:

Won the B1G twice (78 & 80)

Won the Rose Bowl once (80)

And it was considered a dissapointing 4 year stretch because we only finished 8-4 in 79 and 9-3 in 81.  

I'm not saying "unacceptable", as a matter of fact just about nobody is, but dammit man pretending like everything is great is just as foolish IMO as the "unacceptable" crowd you like to mock.  

We're in year four and getting our ASSES KICKED in recruiting this year.  We just are.  Not saying this is a trend but to act like it doesnt matter is silly - it DOES mattter which is why everybody gets so excited when we do land a 5 star like Peppers or Gary.

 

The Mad Hatter

February 7th, 2018 at 12:25 PM ^

is honestly more concerning to me this year than the performance on the field last season.

We are never going to beat OSU and compete for Big 10 and national titles on a regular basis with inferior talent.

We're paying the coaches a damn fortune.  Top 5 classes, 5-star players, and top 5-10 finishes should be expected almost every year.

The Mad Hatter

February 7th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

they are overpaid.  Not so much Harbaugh (or Brown), but Pep and Drevno are two of the highest paid assistants in the country.  And for what?  The offense was crap last season, and that falls on those two as much as it does on the team's youth.

Wisconsin is great, and I'd give a toe to have their record over the past 10 years instead of ours, but given our institutional advantages I expect much more.  I think when Wisconsin finally makes it to the playoffs, Alabama is going to hand them their asses.  Hell, put Wisconsin in the Big 10 East and see how often they finish better than tied for 2nd or 3rd.

Blue_by_U

February 7th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

Here's what I see and settle on. Growing up then attending UM in the 80's and early 90's UM reached peak force at the end of Bo's career... We won a lot and had great recruitment. Then slowly transitioned to the early 2000's and shit fell apart. Kids today really don't know great Michigan football. All the kids where I live grew up Michigan fans. Now it's probably 70-30 OSU/MSU vs Michigan...the national image I am sure follows that and we have to dig in and start winning some big games. Certain that the talent is in place. Need to improve a few coaching positions but not pressing. Need to shore up line play and develop a qb instead of this plug and play system...maybe Shea Patterson gets a couple years to do that...it just takes patients.
Calling for harbaugh to be fired is ridiculous...can't just start all over again and put us another decade behind. Jim can get it done he's proven that and one really good ten win season from putting us back into the national scheme of things...think about it

stephenrjking

February 7th, 2018 at 1:10 PM ^

Agreed, the recruiting is concerning. Moreso than the record with a young team.

If this is a one-year blip, fine. 

If next year is bad, look out. I suspect next year's recruiting will depend a great deal upon on-field performance.

I used to think 2018-2019 was a "range" of years in which Harbaugh had to produce. I'm changing that.

I think 2018 is a must-win-a-lot. Full stop. I expected struggles this past season, perhaps even a recruiting dip. But there are some signs of trouble and Harbaugh needs to win and win a lot to pull things around. Maybe not a national title, and perhaps even not a playoff berth (if they win the B1G with two losses and miss out and win the Rose Bowl or something, not 3 or 4 losses and continued mediocrity). But winning. 

mGrowOld

February 7th, 2018 at 1:31 PM ^

Stephen:

I am very pessimistic about our record next year largely due to the insanity of our schedule.  I believe we'll be a better team but I think the record will be about the same (8-4) as it was this year.  Here are the games in question IMO

Sept. 1 -- at Notre Dame - lean to loss
Sept. 8 -- Western Michigan - win
Sept. 15 -- Southern Methodist - win
Sept. 22 -- Nebraska* - win
Sept. 29 -- at Northwestern* - lean to win
Oct. 6 -- Maryland* (Homecoming) - win
Oct. 13 -- Wisconsin* - toss up
Oct. 20 -- at Michigan State* - lean to loss
Oct. 27 -- Bye Week
Nov. 3 -- Penn State* - lean to loss
Nov. 10 -- at Rutgers* - win
Nov. 17 -- Indiana* -win
Nov. 24 -- at Ohio State*- loss

So then what happens in your opinion?

 

 

The Man Down T…

February 7th, 2018 at 2:03 PM ^

I kept hearing about how bad the schedule is but never looked at it.  You see 8 wins there?  WMU, SMU, NW, Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana are probably wins. Nebraska?  I don't know.  We get them early so there's that but their new coach is much better than their old coach.  PSU without Barkley will be interesting.  MSU is a maybe.  Jeeze that's brutal

stephenrjking

February 7th, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

What happens?

Fans are upset, probably a lot of irrationality. The program gets a "toxic" national image, accurate or otherwise. Recruiting is bad for a second straight year. Harbaugh stays on, makes some major changes. Anyone who has a chance at the draft leaves. A couple of high-profile guys transfer. Harbaugh stays and there's no public issues with the AD, but there are more and serious staff changes; perhaps even a philsophical change. Season tickets sell out (great home slate) but the waitlist goes way down and donations plunge. Serious NFL rumors swirl around Harbaugh whether founded or not.

Whomever is left comes back in 2019 with a fair amount of recruiting stars but some key holes. The fanbase is desperate. The team is "embattled." Harbaugh is at the top of most preseason "hot seat" lists in summer of 2019 (he'll appear on a few this year). The first loss, if there is one, causes total fanbase meltdown. 

I think the team has the potential to be really good this year. But at this point a lot depends upon the OL, and even more depends upon Harbaugh developing a great QB.

The QB is going to be the thing. A prolonged talent deficit against OSU is impossible to overcome EXCEPT with a superior QB. If Patterson or McCaffrey can be the man, if they can be a top-five national type of guy, Michigan can be a dominant team for a couple of years. But the rest of the team is simply not good enough to be elite right now.

It's Shea or Dylan for greatness, or panic.

The Mad Hatter

February 7th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

that our record in 2018 is similar to 2017 given the murderers row of rivals on the road.  What I want to see is improvement.  Win a game that we're supposed to lose.  Punch ND in the mouth in the opener.  Take MSU to the woodshed.  Play all 60 mins of every game.  Beat OSU.

Hell, just beating OSU is worth 2 or 3 non-OSU wins in my book.

Maybe I'm crazy, but 8-4 with a win over OSU (and preferably MSU) is a better season than 10-2 with losses to both.

 

mGrowOld

February 7th, 2018 at 1:07 PM ^

The worst four year stretch in Bo's tenure up to that point.  People were NOT happy with only winning two B1G titles and going 8-4 & 9-3 and were claiming the game had passed him by.

So I'll ask you  the same question the OP hasnt answered yet....are YOU happy with the current results both on the field and in recruiting?  Cause back in 78-81 we sure as hell werent.

Additional context mi amigo.

MGoHail

February 7th, 2018 at 1:34 PM ^

78 was 40 years ago and we had won the BIG 6 of the previous 7 years, losing only 7 games in the process. Considering we haven't won the BIG since 2004 and have lost more than 7 games in the last 2 years, that seems like pretty important context to keep in mind. These are obviously different eras of Michigan football