Oregon and Oklahoma Losses -- Context for UM?

Submitted by SC Wolverine on November 8th, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Seeing the beat-downs that both Oregon and Oklahoma suffered last night, I thought they provided some helpful context for our recent debacle in East Lansing.  Even though the Oregon game ended up being close, it was a beat-down.  And Oklahoma got crushed.  The lesson: there are some teams that just have another team's number for a stretch of time.  MSU knows how to beat Michigan, just as Stanford knows how to beat Oregon.  

This does not make us equal to Oregon, although we may be closer to Oklahoma.  But it does remind us that we just had a really bad game and need to move on without despair.  We have things to fix and hopefully it will get better.  Our offense can light up a bad defense for 700 yards and then get crushed by a great defense.  It does not mean the sky is falling.  It means, as Brady Hoke has said, that we need to get better.  It means that we have some really good parts to our offense and a glaring weakness that we have to overcome.  

It also means that we have a serious challenge before us, one that we may be embarrassed to admit but which is real anyway: We will know we have passed a milestone when we go up to State and beat them on the road, hopefully next year.



November 8th, 2013 at 10:39 AM ^

The lesson: there are some teams that just have another team's number for a stretch of time.  MSU knows how to beat Michigan, just as Stanford knows how to beat Oregon.  

Yeah, I disagree with painting last week's game like that. MSU didn't do anything different to beat Michigan. They just straight up outplayed them. And Michigan's struggles were the same struggles they've had all season. There was nothing unusual about last week's performance, other than the degree of how bad it was.

Not to be too big of a debbie downer, but there are clear systemic issues on Michigan's team. There's nothing specific about MSU in that regards.


November 8th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

I would agree - I hesitate to say that MSU has our number when they really didn't have to do anything glaringly different than in other games (sit in that 4-3 and play pressure coverage) to exploit a known problem and beat us.

Oregon was held to about half of its normal offensive production (by Oregon standards, snuffed out basically) and beaten by a team that boasts the #78 offense in Division I. All Stanford had to really do is be a completely un-fancy power football team. 


November 8th, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

I agree that there is a systematic issues with michigan. I cant beleive it that people are saying ah its okay that we lost, MSU has our number for this period of time which is the last 6 years and we dont match up well with them.  They just have our number.  What? We are talking about MSU, a team we are suppose to own every year.  It suppose to be UM giving them a beat down every year.  Not the opposite.  That is why I insiist that there is a major issue here with the coaching staff and some of the fan that want to defend this staff at any cost even if that cost was michigan football.  I think HOKE deserves next year, but after that if things dont change, then he has to go.  Things changing mean we field a comptent team with a good game plan even if we lose, we have to be competitive.  This is a joke MSU has our number.  Are you serious


November 8th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

when you say supposed to own


What? We are talking about MSU, a team we are suppose to own every year. It suppose to be UM giving them a beat down every year. Not the opposite.


do you mean you wish it were true. At this point (unfortunately), the roles seem to be reversed.  Most observers, including Vegas, had Michigan as the underdogs.  BTN had MSU winning as a foregone conclusion.


November 8th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

The other 75 times you posted it.

And MSU was never beaten down every year. They've won about 1 out of 3 for most of the rivalry. And that's when they were bad. I don't know if you noticed but they're not bad anymore. Just accept that Dantonio is running a pretty good program and they're currently the Iowa/Wisconsin type second tier team that's going to be good every year and you'll sleep better. Doesn't mean we can't do better against them. But they're not going anywhere.

SC Wolverine

November 8th, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

Yes, we have had systemic problems all year, but we have not gotten beaten like this all year.  As for "MSU having our number," here are some quotes from Brian's UFR that get at what I mean:

"At times it seemed like Narduzzi was calling Michigan's plays for them."

"Even after a bye week they had nothing that really caught MSU off guard."

"The six-man OL consistently saw MSU's LBs make the right read."

"The consistency with which this happened makes it part of MSU's gameplan."

"The number of plays M gets stuck in where they have no chance is alarming."

"It sucks going into this game annually and expecting MSU to adapt while Michigan sticks its finger in its lip and goes brr-brr-brr."

And the RPS score for UM Offense vs. MSU Defense: -19.

That is what I mean by MSU having our number.



November 8th, 2013 at 1:19 PM ^

I agree with you that MSU have our number, but in the original post, I just felt you are making it sound like it is okay for them to have our number. It isn't okay for MSU to have our number, that means we hired the wrong coach. And I do agree we are an average team at best, which should not be okay with this program

SC Wolverine

November 8th, 2013 at 1:27 PM ^

Well, neither.  I did not mean that this is okay.  Rather, this is the hurdle we must climb.  I also don't mean that we have the wrong coach.  I mean that he needs to get his act together, along with his staff, and get past this.  I also mean that we may not be as bad as that loss makes us look.  MSU flat out exploited us -- kudos to them for doing it.  They did us a service in highlighting our glaring weaknesses and making clear where our challenges lie.  This is what Stanford is doing to and for Oregon as well.


November 8th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

It's not that we just played a poor game at MSU - which many expected - it's that we have played poorly since Notre Dame against very poor competition. Oklahoma was obviously overrated but I wouldn't compare our situation with any top 20 teams right now.


November 8th, 2013 at 1:05 PM ^

Michigan is a mediocre team feasting on an easy schedule.  They have played no one of consequence other than MSU ND and PSU this year.  Of those 3 only MSU is truly a good team.  ND I find to be a mirage and PSU is not very good. Minnesota is cute and all I guess - they are "Big 10 good" (translated - average).  Nebraska is likewise a mediocre team without Martinez at QB, with a soft defense.  

Bottom line when UM now plays good teams, they rarely win.  2011 Nebraska which lost huge to Wisconsin earlier that year, 2012 NW, and maybe 2011 Va Tech which we stole, and that team lost by 30 to Clemson a month early are the only significant wins in 3 years.  None of those teams are great.  The OSU team we beat was the worse in 2 decades and the MSU team beat was their worst in the past 4 years and it was a dog fight at home between 2 even teams.

The team is good at beating mediocre or bad teams, often in a fashion that is uncomfortably close.  UCF destroyed Akron and UConn.  Save for a tackle in the closing second we had a great chance to lose one and looked in trouble for most of the game versus the other.

With how down the Big 10 is, UM should be "Ohio-ing" teams but is mostly battling teams close because frankly - they are no different than those teams.  Wiscy, MSU and OSU are above the bunch.  Exclude a few awful teams like Ill and Purdue and everyone else you can throw in a blender and they are all about the same (Iowa, Neb, UM, Minn, PSU).  People say how could we do that versus PSU esp when they tried to give us the gme over and over?  Well newsflash - we are not that much different than a broken and sacntioned PSU team with a freshman QB.  Over time teams play to their level - this is our level.  And has been for a while.  All the excuses are just that - its a mediocre team that due to a bad conference and easy schedule will do its normal 8-4 .


November 8th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

I will agree that MSU was an absolute debacle.  The defense was ok - not great, not terrible, just ok - but the offense and special teams were a shit show.  And let's not even discuss our "softness" issues, or the fact that Lewan played like a classless thug.  Debacle.

It is hard to call Akron or UConn a debacle because we ultimately won the game, and that is all that matters.  Disappointing, enlightening, eye-opening - yes, but a debacle?  No.

As for PSU, we lost a game in 4xOT because our kicker missed two FGs that he should have made.  Again, very disappointing, but hardly a debacle.

What is the 5th?  Indiana?  Because while the defense was bad, the offense was pretty amazing so I don't see how that was a debacle.


November 8th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

You know what I took away from last night's Oregon game?  That OSU is definitely in the discussion for the MNC game and even though margin of victory is SUPPOSE to mean nothing, everyone knows that simply isnt true.  So when they roll into Ann Arbor in a few weeks, if they're still unbeaten (and I sure dont see anything on the schedule that looks like a loss), they will want to beat us 125-0 if they can.

And that is a bit worrisome.  Especially if we continue to stumble in games in leading up to it.


November 8th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

Well you know what they say with wounded animals and all that. Michigan will have absolutely nothing to lose in that matchup in our home stadium and, in fact, a victory could change the entire complexion of the season for the better. It is likely we lose but maybe the team plays with reckless abandon and finally spring a trap on that team. 


November 8th, 2013 at 11:57 AM ^

they will....but we have the opportunity to play spoiler to a lot of OSU dreams, putting a massive chip on our shoulder

1. Spoiler to their perfect conference record (2 years running)

2. Spoiler to their (inflated) hopeful 24-0 record under Urban

3. Spoiler to their MNC hopes

We will also hopefully be defending Brady's perfect home record. Brady was here in the mid 90's, he knows what it feels like to ruin a few OSU dreams. If he can't get the team jacked up for this one, I don't know how he ever gets a team jacked up. Especially one that should have a massive chip on its shoulder.

OSU is good, but everyone knows they are not as good as their 20-0 record under Urban. Carlos Hyde, and our O-line are the only 2 things that really scare me. MSU's strength's played heavy to our weakness on the O-line. OSU's offensive strength will be a huge test for our D, but Devin will have more time to throw, and more open receivers than he did vs. MSU. I'm not expecting a -48 yards rushing and a 9 sack game for OSU (knock on wood). I see OSU as little better version of notre dame, pretty good front seven, not near as tenacious as MSU, lousy secondary. Where they have ND is the offense.

This UM team still has 4 games to show they can play somewhere near their talent level, and they should be hyped as ever for OSU assuming this coaching staff indoctrines them enough to have that hatred for OSU that Ohio and MSU clearly have for us.

GO BLUE! strive for 10-2! regardless of how hopeless it may look. I remember in 2011 how doubtful we were after the MSU game as well, maybe that was the spark the staff needed. (i understand this is not 2011).


November 8th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

"OSU is good, but everyone knows they are not as good as their 20-0 record under Urban.

Um no - they are exactly as good as their 20-0 record indicates.  No better, no worse.

As Bill Parcells used to say "you are where you are".  And they are 20-0 in the last two years and we are 14-7.  Where the two teams will be at the end of the year is still up for grabs.

Wee-Bey Brice

November 8th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

I was just about to write this same post (mad you beat me to it) but with a different perspective. As far as the national championship picture goes, their loss does nothing for us. However, it made one thing very clear for me as a fan... You have to win in the trenches!

It doesn't matter if you run spread or if you play out of I-Formation 80% of the time, games are won with the offensive and defensive lines. It doesn't matter what your scheme is or what you're trying to do if you cant move the line. Oregon has proven that two years in a row. Just like those gun slinging Texas Tech teams under Mike Leach, it looks nice when you're playing overmatched opponents but once you're playing someone who can control the line of scrimmage the entire offense goes to shit.

What does that mean for Michigan? This year it doesn't mean anything good but as for the future, it has wonderful implications. Our offensive line recruiting has been stupendous and the defensive line recruiting is just as good (assuming we land Hand & McDowell). Win in the trenches and you can play with anybody! We aren't there yet but soon!


November 8th, 2013 at 11:16 AM ^


Manball works just fine, but it takes time to get there. We're going to have our struggles before we get to where Stanford's at. It's worth keeping that in the back of our minds as we're freaking out about the losses that will certainly come along the way.


November 8th, 2013 at 11:33 AM ^

Just to be clear - I have zero issues with manball.  In fact, in the mGrowOld utopion playbook we go full manball and reinstitute the I form - option attack of the 1970's (loved that offense) so that's not my issue with Borges.  

My issue is that NO offense works when you tip your hand in advance of the play what you are about to run.  And given our either unwillingnes or inability to disguise formations and subsitution patterns we make it painfully obvious to other D-Coordinators the nature of our play before it is run.  Which dooms it to failure unless we can simply out-execute the opposition every time.

To me it's like playing cards with a marked deck.  


November 8th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

Really? When Stanford lined up in jumbo formation Oregon didn't know what they were going to do?

The difference is Stanford is good enough at one thing that it doesn't matter what the opponent tries to do. We have the opposite situation, we're so completely bad at everything except for one thing that that's what the opponent knows is coming and can stop it. You can't disguise stuff when you are only "good" at one thing.


November 8th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

That was my first time watching Stanford and I really liked what I saw. I don't think power or the spread is inherently superior, but I do think an individual can have an inherent preference for one over the other, and I liked Manball. Unfortunately, what Stanford was doing looked nothing like what Michigan is doing. I don't know what it takes to get there, but I hope we make it.


November 8th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

4 of Stanford's 5 OL and 6 of their front 7 on D are in their 4th or 5th year in the program. They also redshirt pretty much everybody, which we haven't had the luxury of doing lately.

Oregon also left a boatload of points on the table in the first half. If they just kick the FG early and don't fumble twice at Stanford's end (including once at the goal line) that would have been a very different game even with Oregon generally getting beaten at the line of scrimmage.



November 8th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

They've also ran the same system offensively since 2007, Shaw was the OC before he was head coach. Like Wisconsin, continuity is way underrated in an atmosphere where fans demand changes (coaching/scheme/personnel) at the first sign of adversity.


November 8th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

Be physical and outmuscle Michigan.  That's the blueprint to winning that game.  There's a reason why the team that wins the rushing game has a +90% winning percentage.  The problem is that they have experienced talent and solid coaching to match that physicality.  

If we did not suffer losses to transfers or career ending injuries the past six years, our performance would've been better regardless of our HC.  I'm not a coach, but I'm sure there's a difference between having a bunch of 21-22 year olds matched up against 18-19 year olds.