Has Michigan been a bad team this season?

Submitted by Blazefire on November 16th, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Okay people. Here we are, final week, one more shot at a good season and bowl eligibility. And I have just one question for you:

If you are depressed, and you feel let down from this season, can you explain to me how Michigan, as a team, has been bad this season?

Yes, we haven't hit the win total we want. Yes, players have had bad days, but, how has Michigan, as a team, been bad this season? We have exactly TWO games where we did not perform well. We have three games where we're more than one score and a couple seconds out of a victory. That's right, we're less than two minutes or so away from 8-3. We have youth everywhere. We have our third defensive scheme in one class. And you would call this team depressing? Heck, I couldn't be more impressed!

I could be happier, yes, more excited and less anxious, but I couldn't be more impressed if I tried. Given a lot of sunshine and a little luck on Saturday, we will have our reward, and buckeyes and turncoats will have their comeuppance. We will Hail once more.


The King of Belch

November 16th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

Define "Did not perform well"--and put that into the context of an entire game.

Was Indiana a good performance?

Was Purdue?

Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois--there's three right there.

Would you really consider needing two scores with five minutes to go as a good performance against a mediocre MSU team?

I know the final score was close, but did we REALLY perform well against Iowa?

Are you smoking drugs?


November 16th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

I think he has a valid point. No we aren't dominating anyone but MAC teams, but considering all of our youth and lack of depth, we have haven't exactly flamed out. We are one less turnover against MSU or Iowa away from a win in those games. We are less than a yard (gah!) from icing Illinois. We are a missed XP (double gah!) from going into OT with Purdue. Yes, it sucks spectacularly that all those breaks have gone against us, and I sincerely wish they hadn't since a tiny change in any of those games and we would be bowl bound right now. But you can't change it from where we are now, and I think we will continue to improve in the future.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 16th, 2009 at 3:31 PM ^

If we were a good team playing those games you mentioned we would have won easily. You site that if we only had one less turnover in the Iowa and MSU games we may have won....But should we have? That ignores the fact that in those two games we had about 6 other turnovers. That is what makes this a bad team. Forget the should've would've could've and live in the reality of the situation. This team was bad this year, excuses don't matter.


November 16th, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

An average team would by definition be close to the middle of the Big 10 standings (say fourth to eight place) or close to the middle of the Big 10 standings in total offense, scoring offense, total defense, scoring defense or other metrics.

Unfortunately, if you look at this team by any objective measure, it's below average in the Big 10.

Fuzzy Dunlop

November 16th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

Last season = 2 wins in the Big 10.

This season = 1 win in the Big 10.

Oh, but we beat a winless MAC team and a terrible (even by Div I-AA standards) Delaware State team, so we have two more total wins than last year. GREAT SUCCESS!

For your next trick, why don't you deny that the sun rises in the east.


November 16th, 2009 at 5:44 PM ^

has been better than last years. D played pretty well against a damn good Utah team, played fairly well against ND when ND wasn't starting on M's fifteen yard line, held Penn State and Ohio State at bay for a while until in became clear that our offense was not going to score. Michigan's offense has improved this year, but other than wishful thinking, there is nothing but bad on the defensive side of the ball. (take away BG who is clearly a freak. NFL teams - draft him!)

Blue in Yarmouth

November 16th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

I will simpy reply to your title since I am sure the content is going to try and convince me I am wrong.

Yes, we were a bad team this year. I felt that a modest prediction for this year was 7-5 and we won't hit that. This team has showed some sparks of brilliance, but the overall play of this team throughout the season (save it being against really bad teams) has been less than I would have hoped for.

I will say they have showed promise and given me hope for the future, but overall, have been a bad team this year. Just my e-pinion.

Arizona Blue

November 16th, 2009 at 3:31 PM ^

welll.....we do not have a winning record so yes we are a bad team. We have 4 wins against FBS teams this year (one more than last year) and our defense looks like a pop-warner cluster fuck each and every week, so yes we are a bad team. The difference between a good and a bad team is wins and we don't have many of them. I would admit we are not a horrible team like last year. We went from horrible to bad this season. Who knows maybe next year we will be ok.


November 16th, 2009 at 3:44 PM ^

Being optimistic about this team's future, or defending its poor record doesn't require that we pretend that this year's team wasn't bad - they were. There are reasons - some were foreseeable, some weren't - and there are reasons for optimism (underclassmen-dominated team, more years with both the O and D systems in place), but dude... 3-9 and 5-7 is pretty bad... defensible with hindsight? Maybe. But still bad.

Tha Stunna

November 16th, 2009 at 3:40 PM ^

Yes. We went from a terrible 3-9 to a pretty bad 5-6. We had three blowout losses, one of which was to a team with one other win over an FBS school. We had 5 close games (ND, Indiana, MSU, Iowa, Purdue) and went 2-3 in those against a wide spectrum of teams. And we had three big wins over three terrible teams, including one that was below terrible. I don't care how you try to spin the season, it has been a failure overall. Certain aspects show promise for the future, like the emergence of Tate, Roundtree, Omameh, Roh, and maybe Kovacs/Leach/Fitzgerald, but it is a failure.

Unless we beat Ohio State.

NOLA Wolverine

November 16th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

Welcome to the M GO "I live for moral victories" blog. Not even people who are labeled as TDoR would say theyre impressed by this team. And no one should be. Two minutes away from 8-3? Yeah why dont we go Mighty Ducks and flip it the other way, two minutes from being 3-9. Havent seen any "first half like Wisconsin" games? Review the second of the Wisconsin game this year.


November 16th, 2009 at 3:51 PM ^

If Michigan played in the MAC or in Div. I-AA, it would be a good team. But that's a bit like saying the Lions would be good if they played in NFL Europe. Performance in your own conference is the most important measure, and by that standard Michigan has been poor.

Yes, a few of the losses, with a bit of good luck, could have been wins. But a couple of the wins, without good luck, could have been losses. Last year's team, I agree, was unlucky: except for Wisconsin, all of the close games in 2008 went against them. This year's team has pretty much gotten what it deserved.

Some of your other points are really just explanations. Being on the third defensive coordinator in three years explains why Michigan is bad. Over-reliance on youth explains why Michigan is bad. But it does not change the fact.


November 16th, 2009 at 3:53 PM ^

whether with a line up of 5th year seniors or true freshman. I would say there were several more games than the all-capped "exactly two" you mention that this team didn't perform well. They played well at moments in a lot of games. But they played well for 60 minutes in very few. Maybe WMU and ND?


November 16th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

What frustrates me is that, even though the team is young and still learning the offense, the offense itself was serviceable. With more of a dual threat QB (Tate and Denard) at the helm, the offense showed glimpses of what it could become. The main problem was obviously the defense. Honestly it is one of the worst defenses I have seen. Let me preface this. Our defensive front was good and we were solid against the run. The play by the linebackers and secondary was just horrendously awful. What really blows my mind is that I honestly feel that to have a chance to win the game, the offense needs to score every single time they touched the football. You cannot win in this situation.


November 16th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

Worst in the Big 10, and that's saying something. It's a good thing most of us have lives outside of college football, this sort of season hits a fanbase like OSU or WVU much harder.


November 16th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

himself has come out and said we are flat out bad this season. There is no point is denying that.

We will be better next year, but we stink this year.


November 16th, 2009 at 4:13 PM ^

I'm really impressed with the offense and special teams (Hooray kick returns and fewer punt-fumbles), but the defense has been a black hole quenching the glow of those two bright spots.

Apparently two-atta-three can be bad.


November 16th, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

Other than the emergence of Stonum, I have been really disappointed in special teams. Maybe they are not quite as bad as last year (how could they be), but there has been a critical special teams blunder in multiple losses this year. Muffed punts, poor decision to fake, missed xp or fg, roughing the punter, give up an onside kick. I am not asking for Virginia Tech, but just stop making mistakes. I


November 16th, 2009 at 4:22 PM ^

However, I predicted 5-7, so I thought they would be a bad team from the start. And despite what some people say, I believe we did improve from last year, although the last four games have felt familiar. My criteria for a "good" year, meaning we overachieved, has always been winning our last game of the year. If that happens, we finish 7-6 and I think most will be happy. If not, we did what I expected based on our schedule and our talent with last year as the starting point. I still think an 8 win season next year is not only possible but probable barring injuries to essential people.

Fuzzy Dunlop

November 16th, 2009 at 4:31 PM ^

I hope you didn't hurt yourself stretching for something positive to say.

In all the years that Michigan was doing well, did you EVER look at a team finishing with one win in the Big 10 and call them anything other than a bad team? I don't think so.

Add to that the fact that we did not outgain a single non-MAC / Division I-AA school in the entire season. If you don't think that's bad, your standards are way too low.


November 16th, 2009 at 5:07 PM ^

I think "bad" is the wrong word because it's meaning is too broad and absolute in it's tone. To call the team "bad" would seem to preclude that there is no reason for optimism going forward, which I feel isn't true, particularly where the offense is concerned. I think a more fair characterization would be to label this team as unsuccessful or even disappointing, but not bad.

Now if Blazefire wanted to start up another thread asking if the Defense is "bad", we probably could have an entirely different conversation.


November 16th, 2009 at 5:55 PM ^

The rationalizing on this board has gotten out of hand. I have never seen a fan base do so much with so little. The continual statements like "we almost won this game and that game, but we didn't for [x] simple reason," have gotten comical.

This team is bad in systematic ways from micro levels, such as the continual inability to hold onto the ball, to more macro levels, such as the continual inability to perform at a high level in the second half. Yeah, its bad.


November 16th, 2009 at 6:39 PM ^

I see your pt b/c we were just a couple of plays short of 8-3, but we were also a couple of plays away from a 3-8 record as well. I would like to say it’s just our defense that is “bad,” but you are only as good as your weakest link so I have to say; yes we are as bad as our record indicates. I would love to shock the world sat though.

Bando Calrissian

November 16th, 2009 at 6:56 PM ^

"That's right, we're less than two minutes or so away from 8-3."

We're also 2 minutes or so away from being 1-10.

There were a lot of us who were predicting a range of 5-7 to 7-5, but I don't think any of us thought 5-7 would look like this. We've lost games this season even a mediocre team should never have lost, have undeniably regressed as the season progressed, and our defense has become merely a formality of having to play 11 on any given play.

Yes, we were/are a bad team.


November 16th, 2009 at 7:01 PM ^

about this season is that the team seems to have regressed week by week. After Notre Dame, they were sluggish against EMU and Indiana and then things got worse. Everyone keeps saying we're playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but by now they've had a full season under their belts and they should be playing like that. Instead they seem worse each week.


November 16th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

This regression stuff is going to make my head explode. Since the ND game, which is what everyone seems to agree was the high water mark of the season, we have lost starters on both sides of the ball, both of which were crippling from the word go. Losing Molk disrupted the progression of what had been a fairly good O-Line. Losing Cissoko meant that our already perilously thin secondary was ripped to shreds. What exactly were the expectations considering that? Another win? Yes, I would've liked that too, but to run around screaming about regression doesn't fix it.

Blue Durham

November 16th, 2009 at 7:48 PM ^

Of all of the football teams out there (NFL, all of college football, high school teams, Pop Warner, prison leagues, etc.), this team is excellent; no doubt top 2% of all teams, at least.

Of all of college football (all divisions), this team is real damn good (I'd guess top 10% of all college teams, if not better).

Of all of Division I, the team is, well, mediocre at best (probably a little below average).

Of the Big 10 (which is probably an average BCS conference), this team is lousy.

Which is actually an improvement over last year, when this team was an explicative in CAPS.