Let's be clear here. Yesterday sucked. It was disheartening to see the offense, special teams, coaching, and run defense all have games ranging from sub-par to disastrous. I'm not here to convince you that any of that didn't happen or isn't concerning going forward. I'm not here to convince you that we will be favorites in the Ohio State game.
But this is still a great team. This still has the potential to be a GREAT season. And, god dammit, we are not going to give up on our team just because we lost by one point in a road, night, trap game. We are better than that. Bailing is for Buckeyes.
So, I have 5 points to remind you why IT IS (still) GREAT TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!
#1) Michigan is the only team in the Big Ten that 100% controls its destiny for BOTH the Big Ten Championship and the Playoff.
- Literally nothing changes for us. We had to beat Ohio State to accomplish our goals and we still do. It was fanciful to think of other scenarios to get in, but guess what? OSU was never going to lose to the Spartans and an 11-1 Michigan that lost to OSU in Columbus would've been passed by at least one of Louisville and Washington.
- Ohio State's Big Ten title hopes are all but dashed. They will likely be in the playoff if they win out by convincing margins, but it's definitely not a sure thing; if Washington slaughters Top 25 WSU and Top 10 Colorado and Wisconsin demolishes Penn State, Buckeyes could be toast. Championships matter.
- Penn State may have the best raw odds to win the East, but they don't control their own destiny and would need help getting to the playoff even if they do win out.
- Wisconsin controls their Big Ten destiny, and likely their playoff destiny as well, but it's not a certainty like it is for UM. An OSU blowout of UM plus a close Wisconsin win over PSU likely keeps the Buckeyes ahead of the Badgers and Washington would be favored over them too.
#2) As of this upcoming Tuesday, Michigan will be the only team in the United States with 3 victories over top 10 teams.
- Michigan has beaten three top ten 8-2 teams (Penn State, Colorado and Wisconsin), all by margins/statistics ranging from convincing to dominating. On top of that, Michigan is the only contender in America that, if it wins out, will get the chance to play two more Top 10 teams in the regular season.
- Alabama has zero wins over teams that are poised to be ranked in the Top Ten this week, and it will likely head to bowl season with that fact still intact.
- Ohio State has two Top Ten wins (Oklahoma and Wisconsin).
- Clemson has one Top Ten win (Louisville) and has no more opportunities to play even a Top 15 team this season/in the championship.
- Louisville has zero Top Ten wins and will not get the chance for one.
- Washington has zero Top Ten wins and will only get the chance for one more.
#3) Seven of the last ten teams to win National Championships have lost a regular season game, including both teams to win the College Football Playoff.
- It's really difficult to go undefeated. Urban Meyer hasn't done it at Ohio State (sorry, 2012 doesn't count because they didn't get to face a team in Indy or a bowl). 3/4 of Saban's national championship teams at Alabama had a loss. It's not the end of the world.
#4) Every contender has had bad games this year, most of which were worse than Michigan's last night.
- Alabama was losing by a touchdown at halftime against Ole Miss and only wound up winning by 5 points.
- Ohio State lost to Penn State and followed it up with an extremely narrow 4 point home win over Northwestern.
- Clemson lost at home to Pittsburgh and should've lost at home to North Carolina State (won in OT after NC state missed two short field goals in regulation). In addition to these two games, 4 of their other wins came by 6 points or less (at home to Troy, @Florida State, at home against Louisville, and @Auburn).
- Washington just lost by double digits, at home to USC.
- Louisville lost to Clemson, and more importantly, was losing late into the fourth quarter against 2-8 Virginia, a team much, much worse than Iowa in an environment 1/100th as hostile.
- Wisconsin and Penn State both lost to yours truly, and had another one on top of that.
#5) Calm down about Ohio State
- Yes, we will be underdogs. Yes, it will be hard to win in Columbus. Yes, last year was a PTSD-inducing nightmare. But this is the greatest rivalry in college football. They have had just as many struggles as we have had this year. Overall, our resumes are still totally even. Have some belief.
- Last year obviously was horrific for Michigan in The Game. But the people saying "OSU is definitely going to play their best against us, as always!!!" are wrong. MSU is the rival that does that (including this year), not OSU.
- 75% of Urban's games against the Wolverines, including both played in Columbus, have seen OSU teams underperform and Michigan teams over perform.
In 2012, a 12-0 OSU team was losing at home to an 8-4 Michigan team at the half, and only managed to escape by 5 points after not being able to score a TD in the second.
In 2013, a top 10 OSU team let a previously anemic Michigan offense (which lost in Iowa City) score 41 points and was a shitty 2 point playcall from being defeated by a 7-5 caliber team.
In 2014, a 5-7 Michigan team was tied at halftime in Columbus, tied a minute before the 4th quarter started and it was a one score game until there were 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter; this was against an OSU team won the national championship.
In 2015, a previously undefeated team from the state of Michigan went to the far western reaches of the conference in early November, lost to a team worse than Iowa 2016 and then won in Columbus exactly two years later against an OSU team that had blown everyone out in the weeks immediately prior to that game.
Yes, we lost all three, but there is a big difference now: those Michigan teams had nowhere near the talent and coaching this one does.
Have some hope, there is a lot of football left to be played. There are other threads for the negative stuff, leave them out of here.