If seven years ago someone told you this would be the state of U of M football. What would you have said?

Submitted by michfan6060returns on December 29th, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Take yourself back to 06. One game away from a National Championship appearance. Sure the season didn't end the way we all hoped, but the future still looked bright. I would never have believed you if you told me we were in store for:  

  • Losing to App. St
  • Have a 50-39 record
  • Winning zero Big Ten championships and not even be a factor
  • Going 1-6 vs OSU
  • 2-5 vs MSU

Obviously there have been a few bright spots,(beating Florida in the Citrus and winning the Sugar bowl)but by in large being a Michigan fan has been pretty damn rough. Two years ago I was certain Hoke was the guy to bring us back, but now I have serious doubts. I’m starting believe he is just a good position coach who absolutely loves Michigan, but is in over his head.



December 29th, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

Some of the younger posters here have been questioning our reverence to Bo.

At first, I was shocked, but next year will be the 25th season after Bo.

In his 21 seasons, we only had one injury-riddled 1984 season like this one. 


December 29th, 2013 at 4:57 PM ^

People that didn't see it couldn't understand the security the program had while Bo was coach. Ten wins a year was the standard. I was a kid growing up in the heart of Ann Arbor and my Saturday's during the fall were unforgettable.


December 29th, 2013 at 3:46 PM ^

I look at it this way:

We have a marketing guy as AD. He's going to do what likes to do best, namely, use marketing techniques to build a brand.

For a guy like that, the affable and magnetic Brady Hoke is an excellent choice as the face of the program. His recruiting ability adds sizzle to the marketing possibilities.

I don't know whether Brandon is a "product" guy, or not. I know that he tried to make small improvements to the pizza product, but it still was pretty awful, yet he seemed quite content with that. According to his Blog, he's very content with the trajectory of the Michigan coaching staff, despite the evidence of the product on the field.

Our eyeballs didn't lie last night. We all realized that we were not seeing the savior of Michigan Football in Brady Hoke, even if we like him very much as a person (as I do).

It reminds me of GM not so many years ago. I was asked to create a music identity for a GM brand, Buick. The then-marketing director (who was the nicest guy) said to me at a meeting around a large conference table, "We want Buick to go back to being the brand that doctors drive." There was much agreement and head-nodding among his minions. "We want people to aspire to drive a Buick, and the music has to say that."

As Brady Hoke would say, "Weeeeeeelllllll..."

I said, "You know that they're been driving Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus for the last 40 years, and they know the difference, right?"

Ten faces turned and glared at me in unison across the table. A Marketing Department hell-bent on self-delusion does not appreciate the intrusion of truth or reality. 

GM has changed the marketing director of that brand, and all of its brands. It has been through a bankruptcy. There has been a bit more concentration on actual product, and the company is doing better. Oh, they still engage in marketing, and always will, but there is at least a glimmer of reality poking through in the form of better product as of late.

Michigan Football doesn't need better marketing. It needs better product on the field. Better results. That is what builds a football brand, not guys flying in or out of the stadium in jet packs.

I have no faith in so-called marketing gurus like Dave Brandon. Product sells football, not promises. Not image. Product and tradition fill that stadium. 

So if you had said to me, "Dave Brandon from Domino's is going to be the AD," I'd have said, "We're going to be in trouble on the field." And I'd have been right.



December 29th, 2013 at 4:24 PM ^

I'll give you the affable, but I would never put "magnetic" and "Brady Hoke" together in the same sentence, except as an illustration of opposites.

This doesn't mean that Hoke can't have a very successful career here, but he's as magnetic as a lukewarm bowl of plain oatmeal.


December 29th, 2013 at 7:12 PM ^

and charismatic personality, such as Schembechler or Bryant or Jimmy Johnson. It's absolutely true that Hoke is a warm, affable person who has a significant ability to connect with people on a personal level. That's a big factor in his recruiting prowess, but sometimes I wonder if that's actually a handicap as a head coach.

Ultimately, magnetism or charisma, however it's defined is not a prerequisite for high-level success, since Nick Saban has the charisma of a fence post.

steve sharik

December 29th, 2013 at 10:09 PM ^

...the one thing every good marketer knows is that the most important thing you need to build a brand is a quality product (or, more accurately, a perception of quality).  

And DB's head coaches throughout the dept. know that if they don't get to a point where they're in the hunt for B1G titles almost every year, they're gone. 


December 29th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

Our basketball team was in the national title game, the big chill, Hunwick, under the lights, Denard Robinson - all of that has been pretty unexpected too, and in a positive way.

Other unexpected negatives: uniformzzzz, Special K


December 29th, 2013 at 4:14 PM ^

What happened to Those who stay will be champions? How did we fall so far away people including me complained about Lloyd but hell even he had his ups after a disappointing season. 1996, 2001, 2005 were disappointments but u always had the feeln that we'd bounce back I don't have that feeling anymore. Even those disappointing seasons still had some good wins against ranked teams. How many ranked teams have we beaten in the last 6 years??


December 29th, 2013 at 4:50 PM ^

We could see it coming 7 years ago.  Carr was not recruiting anybody and his teams were horrible.  Played the most boring football ever.  Then he sabatoged Rodriguez and we know what happened from there.  Brandon though he needed a Michigan man but there were none avail so he hired Hoke.


December 29th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

Just left the barbershop, my barber is a Michigan fan also and in the middle of my haircut I say; I'm sick of being a laughing stock when is this going to change. He went into how all we need is a receiver or two to step up next year things will get better but I fear it's much deeper than that. Bottom line is this: if we go into next season with the same coaching staff things will only get worse. And what really pisses me off about the state of affairs when it comes to our football team is I know sparty and ohio are just tickled pink by our misfortune.


December 29th, 2013 at 5:37 PM ^

I would have said, "wow, yiu mean instead of trying to get back on an even footing with osu we now have slightly worse records and are still losing to them in heartbreaking ways?"


December 29th, 2013 at 6:13 PM ^

Bama was in bad shape then too. They just came off of probation and missed out on coach Rich Rod who turned them down for a better job. Funny what a difference a few years can make.


December 29th, 2013 at 6:20 PM ^

Lloyd Carr's team made 4 appearances at the Rose Bowl during his tenure.  Their last appearance was in 2007.  How long will it take for Michigan to return to the Rose Bowl?


December 29th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

Carr had one great team and some good teams and a few nice bowl wins but largely we were 8-4 and 9-3. Fans were in uproar over his porous defenses at the end. Made it to Rose Bowls but embarrassed against USC twice if I recall and throttled by Tenn in the Citrus. It's been the exception vs rule that we have had truly great national contending teams since the 70's and Harbaugh teams of mid 80s. Of course the Big 10 was weaker in the 70s than now.


December 29th, 2013 at 6:39 PM ^

Fire Hoke? Borges, et al?  Hire hot-coach-of-the-moment, and go through yet another transition period, only to find that hot-coach-of-the-moment isn't the second coming of Bo... wash, rinse, repeat ... Congrats, we're Notre Dame!


December 29th, 2013 at 7:04 PM ^

yup. 4 of the worst years in michigan history have been in the last seven, i'd say. 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013. 2013 might have been the worst, all things considered. im a little nuts but i thought we'd be undefeated going against osu.

i want to see this regime succeed. i wish the previous regime hadnt been given the short end (imo). firing people is not a cure all, unless we're bringing in saban or harbaugh (we're not).

to play devil's advocate, maybe this was just a bad football team this year and not indicative of the coach's ability. maybe akron and uconn were fair representations of who this team is. maybe the coaches did well just to get a winning record out of this team. maybe the coaches have the foundations for a successful program, but couldnt overcome the short term mistakes of the last guy (especially an awful 2010 recruiting class).

im pissed at hoke and co too. but i want winnnig football again. it can happen with them. i dont agree with that last paragraph entirely  (the psu loss was their fault. they overreacted to our best playmaker turning the ball over), but i think people are just (rightfully) pissed right now.

the team less excited about the bowl game is usually the one that loses. last ngiht was fairly predictable.


December 29th, 2013 at 6:48 PM ^

To be honest, I thought as far back as 10 years ago, during the 2003 season that Michigan was on the verge of being a mediocre program. There were brief glimpes of hope (almost getting to the National Championship in 2006, hiring Rich Rodriguez before we knew it wasn't going to work). However overall, none of this is the least bit surprising to me. 

gustave ferbert

December 29th, 2013 at 8:07 PM ^

But right after the game. . . reeling from the loss of the game and of Bo.  I would have agreed with you this was coming.  

I often get mocked on this board about the significance of losing Bo.  He dominated the culture of the program the moment he set foot on campus.  And when he died the cult of personality went with him.  We were no longer a united front, Lloyd lost his edge (and four games in a row including App state.)  We had the bungled coaching search.  The destructive infighting and so on and so forth. History is riddled examples, with governments, with corporations, with football teams, any organization that was led by a domineering force who dictated the culture would crumble after that force left the scent. . . how many times have you heard this team is trying to find an identity?  Our identity died with Bo.  We always harken back to "those who stay."  but those are just empty words now.  Not until someone can come in and fill the void and create a culture that everyone will buy into.  Perhaps that's why everyone wants Harbaugh to be here so badly.  He can coach obviously, but he has the connection with Bo that the old timers would want and he has the character to define a culture and identity that can lead Michigan back to greatness again.  


December 29th, 2013 at 9:29 PM ^

I have real concerns about the football team. Other sports in the athletic department are flourishing and facility improvement has been wonderful. But the bottom line is that football is king at Michigan. For two years I have been feeling the football team has been ill prepared. It appears to me that we are getting decent players but they aren't playing to their potential. That falls squarely on the coaching staff. I don't want to hear about young teams this and young team that. There are plenty of other young teams and many teams with players that are not as talented (by ratings) as Michigan is. It starts with coaching. Hoke recruits very well but if this staff can't coach then it's not going to work. No assistant coach is guaranteed a job at this point and that includes both coordinators. If Hoke can't fix the disconnect that is going on with this team then he has to go also. The disconnect is this team being unprepared to play. Lack of effort, penalties, line play and anything else you can come up with. We as fans are being told to stay supportive of these 19 to 23 year old young men. I agree in part. But when I have to pay the heavy price for 4 seats and the others fees then I expect to see a decent product. I'm not upset at the student athlete as much as I am upset at the AD and the coaching staff. Get it fixed soon or Michigan will turn into an all so ran. Forget about the Michigan Man ideals. Bo wasn't a Michigan Man. He created the Michigan Man thing. It's time to stop yakking Michigan Man and time to start getting a staff together that will coach these kids up and make them better than they think they can be. The result will be football wins. Then I'll be happy.

Feat of Clay

December 29th, 2013 at 11:09 PM ^

I would say they are lucky they have fans like me and others here who are wolverines for life and plan to stick it out. There will be better seasons and I look forward to them.


December 29th, 2013 at 11:19 PM ^

I wasn't surprised to see the Rose Bowl loss to USC, but even I was flabbergasted at how badly Michigan played.  I just thought that the program would continue its pattern: have great potential and preseason top ten ranking but find a way to lose 3 or 4 games, depending on the strength of the bowl opponent.

The Appy State game was bad, but the Oregon debacle was the worst indication that MIchigan couldn't defend elite teams, especially those that run spread offenses.  They are still having trouble, unless giving up 42 points to Ohio constitutes a "good" performance.

I am looking forward to the next two years, when we will truly see what Hoke and Co. are capable of doing.



December 30th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

I think the brand has been diminished, certainly in the eyes of many key recruits. We may be relegated to middle-of-the-pack status for years to come. 

The luster has worn off the coaching staff, too. Hoke, Mattison and Borges had tremendous momentum and gravitas coming in, but I think the staff is showing signs of the Peter Principle and recruits are questioning the direction of the program. 

Sadly, I objectively see the trend toward mediocrity continuing for the foreseeable future.