We all thought about it: What did this game make you think about our team?

Submitted by stephenrjking on January 9th, 2018 at 1:56 AM

I usually hate-watch national title games because they're important to a sport I love but they wind up just reminding me how disappointed I am that Michigan is not good enough to be there. And they're harder to skip now that the coaches film room is must-watch viewing every year.

But if you're like me you watch these games with one eye on the teams we all jealously wish weren't there and one eye on the strengths and particularly the weaknesses of our own team.

So let's just get right out and admit stuff that the title game highlighted for us about Michigan in the past and going forward.

What sort of things about our team came to mind when you watched the national title game?



January 9th, 2018 at 2:06 AM ^

To avoid clogging the OP, I'm dropping my own as a comment. 

A few high/lowlights for me:

  • Michigan's larger strategies are fine. Aggressive defense, running game, good but unspectacular passing offense? Basically both teams tonight. A radical redesign is not necessary, just proper execution of what we have.
  • Yeah, even great defenses can get beaten over the top. Both Bama and Georgia gave up long TDs. Don Brown isn't the only one with that issue.
  • Not all freshmen QBs can be great out of the box, and neither of these were Baker Mayfield, but great ones can make (simple but clear) reads and make accurate throws. I honestly feel like Peters should be further ahead than he has been.
  • QBs nailing accurate throws downfield depend on pass protection. There's no way Fromm would be able to hit that TD to Hardman behind our OL. 
  • The coaches at one point were discussing the challenge that is involved in calling plays as a head coach while also trying to manage the game. Gundy said that things worked much better now that he doesn't call plays, and one of the guys (Bobo I think?) said that a coordinator basically has to watch 8 hours of film a day to do it right. This helps illustrate why Harbaugh needs a good guy making the calls, even if he is a big part of the offensive braintrust.
  • Both of these programs are going to be monsters for years and I feel like we're going to lose ground recruiting against them until we prove we can be at that level. Kinda dispiriting.
  • Georgia ran a Hardman read option in goal line and scored and it looked great. Then they ran the same play later and it looked terrible. Happens to teams besides Michigan.
  • I think we're an OL and a QB away from being capable of being in the same position as these teams. Getting those things taken care of? That's the question.
  • And as optimistic as I am in that point, I want Michigan to be in this game so badly, and this year it feels so far away. Ugh.


January 9th, 2018 at 2:18 AM ^

Isaac Nauta, Najee Harris, Mecole Hardman, Dashawn Hand, and other important contributors were guys that Michigan wanted and would have taken. 

We're capable of landing top 5 classes. This coming class won't be one, and 2019 will be huge to keep it from being a pattern, or we've got a problem.


January 9th, 2018 at 9:14 AM ^

This is a logical fallacy. "Alabama is cheating" and "Georgia is cheating" is not the same as "Everyone who wins is cheating."

I will say I think there are a combination of factors.

  • Alabama has a record of National Championships. This is going to help their recruiting. If I wanted to be part of a National Championship team, I'd want to consider going to Alabama.
  • I suspect that the culture of the bagman in Alabama is more savvy than it is in some other places. In other words, I think there are considerations that are pretty well covered up:  it isn't easy to see them cheating.
  • Alabama is geographically closer to a lot of good football players. If I was a kid from anywhere in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisianna, or South Carolina, my folks could get to the games, and I'd be in southern culture. Michigan is pulling from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, as far as close geographically. And right now, we're going to struggle to get kids from Ohio that OSU wants.
  • Let's face it, the quality of academics is not first on the list for many football players. And for those who car about it, we're also competing with Stanford and ND and Texas and a few others out there.


January 9th, 2018 at 9:21 AM ^

on top of that, those programs had/have stability at the head coaching spot.  Richt had a rough last couple years, but he was a hell of a recruiter and Saban is Saban.


Richt was at Georgia for 15 years. Saban at Alabama for 11.  In that time, Michigan is on it's 4th head coach.  

UM Fan from Sydney

January 9th, 2018 at 6:54 AM ^

This holier than thou attitude is why Michigan is so far behind. I just want to win. Fuck being ethical. The big dog programs that win constantly don’t give a shit about integrity. NCAA won’t do anything about it, either. It’s time to not give a shit and put winning ahead of everything. Probably get negged, but that is how I feel. If you don’t feel the same way, then you must be OK with the likes of OSU and Alabama winning so much.


January 9th, 2018 at 8:44 AM ^


It's like the speed limits on interstate highways.  I "cheat" every single time I drive on one.  So does everyone else.  I have zero guilt about it.

Those "rules" were made by beaurcrats for their own self-interest.  They don't make sense, everybody ignores them, and they don't even enforce them consistently.

Same with the NCAA's rules about letting players receive some financial compensation.



January 9th, 2018 at 8:48 AM ^

every once in a while you're the one that gets pulled over.  "I was just keeping pace".  Just as the cops may pick out the 'ticket me red' sports car, the NCAA picks out its cheaters (Mississippi State) and lets the rest go free.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 9th, 2018 at 9:38 AM ^

Integrity.  that's why Michigan and Harbaugh and Beilein don't engage in the underhanded business these other programs do.  If you believe Michigan can win without stooping to that level then the championship will be that much sweeter when they do win. 

Also - wouldn't it suck to win a championship only to have it revoked years later after an investigation for massive cheating?  I mean, I don't know for a fact if Alabama is a dirty program but if a major investigaiton in the future finds serious wrongdoing I would be 0% surprised. And as a fan it would feel pretty shitty to know the victory was the result of cheating and wasn't 100% clean.

And look at UNC's last 3 NCAA tournament wins and Louisville's championship.  They haven't been disciplined yet (and may never be) but those championships are forever tainted and will always come with an unofficial asterisk.  

Just because you won doesn't mean you cheated, but these days I'm increasingly suspicious of almost every program.

Inflammable Flame

January 9th, 2018 at 10:21 AM ^

No. If you win on the field, you win on the field regardless if the QB has a free tattoo or the RB is driving a new Chrysler 300S. Those impermissible benefits have nothing to do with the play on the field. It is stupid that people think because some kid got a Rolex or his mom's water bill paid, that suddenly it adds points to the scoreboard. A counter-argument could be that it attracts better talent? I'm pretty sure that more than just "talent" went 13-0 this year. There's plenty of talent and good coaching to go around since each team can only have 85 scholarships.


January 9th, 2018 at 10:43 AM ^

The cheating issue is not just about a few teams stockpiling the top talent, but the teams it is taking that talent away from.

Look at Michigan, how better would they have been had Laquan Treadwell, DeShawn Hand, and Isaiah Wilson been on the team over the past few years. Michigan almost lost Gary to Clemson due to illegal funds. What does our defense look like without him? Thankfully we don't have to speculate on that one.

And it's not just the historically good programs cheating who would have had good recruiting classes anyway. When schools like Ole Miss and Clemson start getting players they normally would not have gotten, that really starts to drain the talent pool the other schools have to recruit from. 



January 9th, 2018 at 10:54 AM ^

"If you believe Michigan can win without stooping to that level"

But the question is "Can they?" College athletics is definitely an arms race and to have any kind of sustained success, it's becoming increasingly apparent that you have to keep up with the joneses somehow

"Also - wouldn't it suck to win a championship only to have it revoked years later after an investigation for massive cheating?"

Not really. I mean, yes, the NCAA won't OFFICIALLY recognize it, but sports fans, sports writers, the internet, the Associated Press, etc. literally everyone else would recognize who played in that game and who won that game. I mean, Reggie Bush still won the Heisman. It's barely a footnote on John Wooden's wikipedia page that he endorsed a booster buying his players cars, plane tickets, stereos, etc... John Calipari still won all those games at UMass and Memphis (and I'm sure eventually Kentucky)

"And as a fan it would feel pretty shitty to know the victory was the result of cheating and wasn't 100% clean."

I believe that, depending on the allegations, most fans probably would not care. Honestly. With so much scummy shit that has come to light over the last few years (shielding a serial pedophile, covering up mass rapes committed by athletes and trainers/coaches, buying hookers for players), that giving some star players some disposable income on the side does not even register to me anymore, and for now, this is all anyone can reasonably assume Saban and his staff are doing and I am fine with it. I don't care.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 9th, 2018 at 12:37 PM ^

I 100% think the players should be paid and I think it's bullshit that they don't.  And I don't blame players for taking $, but my problem is with the systemic flouting of rules by certain programs.  Rules are rules. Are you good enough to win a championship while operating within the rules? Good. Then you deserve it. 

As bullshit as the NCAA investigations of Michigan were I sure would like to have those Final 4 banners back up.  And it sucks, that technically, it never happened because of alleged 'cheating' among M players and boosters.  

If a Louisville fan ever talks shit to me in the future, I will immediately reference the team's prostitute scandal. That absolutely takes some shine off that accomplishment and is a major embarassment for the school. As a UNC fan I would never be able to feel 100% good about a string of championships that occurred while the school turned into a diploma mill for dudes to play basketball.  

And yes, Baylor and Penn State should probably never be allowed to field a football program ever again. Winning isn't everything. Every program should conduct itself with class.


January 9th, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

Well the speed limits on highways are there for your safety and mine, because you’re less like to die or kill someone if your crash happens at 60 than at 80. Remember Science? Remember how we used to rely on it to make public policy that is rational and cost effective? We could effectively enforce the speed limit if we installed speed cameras at every mile, spent 100 times more on highway patrol, or shifted all our policing resources over to speed limit enforcement. Which do you prefer?


January 9th, 2018 at 10:27 AM ^

Obviously the Freep was willing to sell their soul to sell newspapers with the hit job on Michigan and extended hours.  If local news media are willing to go after Michigan for something that minor, you better believe they would be willing to go after Michigan for something major.

I have not been to Alabama, but I imagine there is no way any newspaper would ever try somehting like that.  To make cheating work you need the right people to turn a blind eye, and the general public and local reporters are a huge in being required to keep their eyes blind. 


January 9th, 2018 at 9:01 AM ^

we would rather have our "diamond in the rough" over alabama 5-stars. we recuit like crap to win a n.c. -- this years class has some good players. but why do we settle for a generic 3-star when not pressuring a 5-star-- because they dont want to come here... and dont give me that crap that so-and-so was a 3 star and became and all-american. did you see all the 5-star talent (mostly freshmen) that was all over that field last nite. oh- and by the way, did you see all that offensive line 5-star talent out there --we have none!!


January 9th, 2018 at 4:53 AM ^

This comment touches on something I thought about all game long: how many guys were playing who had Michigan among their finalists. I think we were second for Harris, Hand, Nauta, Isaiah Wilson (who might be a RS) and Alex Leatherman. Maybe for Hardman as well. (And, to be honest, I'm still nt sure whether Harris was shining us on).

I also agree with your comment about Peters. It is enormously frustrating to see other freshman QBs, including true freshmen, perform at a high level while Peters was trusted only with basic plays.


January 9th, 2018 at 8:19 AM ^

.....Alex Leatherwood (FR) and Damien Harris (JR).  It was a little disheartening to see how many guys Michigan was close to landing (but couldn't seal the deal) playing in this game.

I'm surprised at the state of Michigan's OL and QB situation going into year 4 of Harbaugh.  A KJ Costello or Devery Hamilton would really help at this point.  They need more big wins on the recruiting trail.

Yost Ghost

February 5th, 2018 at 9:41 AM ^

8-5 seasons make the recruiting trail a little less friendly. I hope to God that after a successful schedule next year from his flow of talent coming to the top of the 2 deep will translate into more "Wins" for recruiting.