Why does Michigan not get a pass?

Submitted by Blazefire on August 27th, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I am sick, SICK and tired of hearing about Michigan's unbelievable downfall last year, or even how, eventually, they'll climb back out of it, etc. It's everywhere you look! You've even got State fans thinking maybe this is the time they can "take over the state", like... in perpetuity! What I wanna know is, why doesn't Michigan get a pass?

If any, and I do mean ANY other team in the country went through a similar experience (ND just DID, and it hardly phased their national perception), the fans, commentators, everybody, would talk about their down year, but that would be it. Why, for the love of God, do they all wonder if Michigan can "recover"?

What's to recover?!? Did the school burn down? Did we hire Gillespie as our football coach? Why the hell dont they just say, "Michigan is working hard and hoping to improve from last year's down year."? Why does it have to be, "Coach Rodriguez is desperate to wipe the memory of last year's catastrophy from fan's minds and rescue his job and the university and prove Michigan won't suck forever more!"

The worst thing is, it'll continue for at least another year! SHUT UP AND TALK ABOUT FOOTBALL, MEDIA AND OTHER TEAMS' FANS!


I Wrote a 4 Wo…

August 27th, 2009 at 3:41 PM ^

I think because of how historically bad it was. I agree that the hype of the "downfall" or whatever is a bit ridiculous but it was worse than most everyone's expectations.

Soon people will just be referring to the 2nd year as another "incredible leap" in wins from the 1st to 2nd year.

Go Blue.


August 27th, 2009 at 6:10 PM ^

And they didn't get the same treatment.

There are two slight differences in the situation:
1) Weis had two BCS games (however ludicrous their invitations to said games may have been) under his belt by the time the Year of Yakety Sax rolled around. Rodriguez, while successful at WVU, doesn't have that kind of track record at Michigan just yet and is still installing his system.
2) Clausen wasn't an utter disaster at QB the way Sheridan was (yes, he got sacked every other play, but he can't block for himself, and he wasn't awful when he actually had time). So they came into last year with a mildly competent starter that had a year of experience. Michigan does not this year.

In the short term, I don't think Michigan will be back to greatness this year, maybe not even next. But they're not likely to fade into perpetual mediocrity either. Programs don't just disappear overnight, unless all of their success was attributable to a single player or a single coach (neither of which is true of Michigan, obviously). Anyone who thinks Michigan is going to turn into Vandy because of one bad year is insane.


August 27th, 2009 at 8:47 PM ^

ND didn't get the same treatment as UM currently is? lol I hope you mean UM's treatment by the media wasn't nearly as bad as ND's.

Maybe it is just me, and it seriously could be but when UM finished the way they did last year, the big ten websites and espn ran the articles and stories throughout the season which has made the original poster so angry.

Throughout ND's '07 season, the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Pac10, Big east, and espn all ran articles on it. Attacking whatever they wanted to.

And your #3 should be the difference in scheduling especially over the first 8 games, the beginning of 15 TRUE freshman's college careers at ND. And if your doubting the difficulty the Sagarin Rankings for the team's schedule was #1 out of every D1 team through week 8.
2007 ND
Georgia Tech (21st at the game)
at PSU (14h at the game)
at UM (finished 18th AP)
at Purdue
Boston College (finished 10th AP)
USC (finished 2nd AP)

2008 UM
Utah (finished rated 2nd)
Miami (OH)
at ND
Wisconsin (9th at the game)
at PSU (3 at the game)
MSU (finished 24th)
It was not cake walk but it was also not as bad as ND's in '07.


August 27th, 2009 at 3:43 PM ^

Just be glad we're held to higher standards. Miami and Florida State have been slowly slip-sliding into mediocrity and it took so long that nobody noticed. This is a pretty unprecedented case of a team going from generally assumed to be elite all the way to miserable in one quick season.

P.S. rrrgghhhhh pet peeve and I don't care what kind of a jackbooted grammar Gestapo I look like: the word is "fazed."


August 27th, 2009 at 3:44 PM ^

Speaking of working hard check out this video of Vincent Smith its pretty sick. I hope he does that in actual games

i cant start a thread but this video is worth putting up


August 27th, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

I don't think that 9 wins will automatically get ND a BCS game. I think it'll take at least 10. I think that voters don't want to see ND cruise to easy victories (while losing actually tough games like USC) and then get clobbered in a BCS bowl. They're sick of seeing it to. Thus, if ND gets 9 wins I wouldn't be surprised to see some people downvote them.

Then again, I'm sure some people will vote them higher than they deserve (if Lou Holtz has a vote you know he will). So maybe it'll even out and I'm wrong.


August 27th, 2009 at 6:17 PM ^

That's the requirement for an auto-bid. If they're between 9th and 14th, they're eligible for an at-large just like everyone else (assuming they have at least nine wins).

That said, if they get to 9 wins there's a good chance they will get in, because:
1) the hype machine will be in full swing and the pollsters will vote them ludicrously high, and
2) they're a huge draw money-wise, so somebody will take them if there's an at-large available.

restive neb

August 27th, 2009 at 6:46 PM ^

I looked this up a while back after a discussion on the fairness of the BCS with respect to non-BCS conferences. Here is a summary of some of the rules for automatic qualifications:

1. Top two ranked teams
2. Conference winners from BCS conferences
3. The highest ranked champion of any of mid-major conference including the Moutain West will earn automatic berth if team is ranked in top 12 -- or top 16, if it ranks higher than the champion of a BCS conference.
4. ND, if ranked in the top 8.

So, a champion mid-major ranked #12 gets an automatic berth, but ND must be at least Top 8 for an automatic. Notre Dame's bar is actually higher than either a mid-major's conference champ, or a BCS conference champion.


August 27th, 2009 at 8:54 PM ^

Your sick of watching ND lose ? Seem to be going against the grain.

Money had a lot to do with why ND got a BCS bid in '06. Katrina flattened New Orleans, Bowl was in Louisiana, ND will sell out stadiums if the opposing team doesn't. People will watch ND in a BCS game whether they want them to win or lose, whether they want the opponent to win because their an actual fan of the team or an anti-fan of ND, they will still watch them.


August 27th, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

I wouldn't call Lou Holtz everyone.

Also, they went to a bowl game and won last year, albeit a crappy one.

I am pretty sure if you went to ND and it was a year ago to the day, you'd be saying the same thing about ND needing to get a pass.

(full disclosure - I despise Notre Dame, but I do know many alumni from there and they definitely felt national heat over the past couple of years)


August 27th, 2009 at 9:05 PM ^

Its funny you call ND's bowl win last year a crappy one, because I would go out on a limb and predict that you along with the majority of the country last year, predicted Hawaii to win the game. Hawaii's coach even said that his team was the favorite to win the game in the post game news conference.

But in spite of beating the favorite it is a crappy win, thanks for that insightful post.

Also not even the most band wagon fan complained about the news coverage, they complained about the coach, the players, the play calling, and the recruiting but the news coverage wasn't one of them. The news on ND is whatever will get more newspapers sold or more hits to a website, its always the same build us up as big as possible for the inevitable misstep and burn them at the stake for it. Fans have been desensitized to it, no reason to complain.


August 27th, 2009 at 9:11 PM ^

When he said "they went to a bowl game and won, albeit a crappy one" I'm pretty sure he's referring to the Bowl, not the opponent. The Hawaii Bowl is not exactly something to write home about, but a bowl nonetheless. That said, beating Hawaii last year also shouldn't be something that The Notre Dame Fighting Irish should see as a particularly big deal.


August 27th, 2009 at 9:17 PM ^

The point still stands though, despite proving the majority wrong it is still disregarded like a fart in the wind. lol

I don't think to many ND people think of it as a big deal, but more as a step in the right direction and a preview of what the team is capable of. Which is why I would actually have rather we not been ranked at all in the pre-season. We have proved nothing yet this year.


August 27th, 2009 at 3:44 PM ^

probably 90% of the people writing the articles were not born or were infants the last time Michigan was that bad. Also, when you are good for like 40 years, people will not like you.


August 27th, 2009 at 3:47 PM ^

"Also, when you are good for like 40 years, people will not like you."

Yes. Also this. Everybody likes to see a changing of the guard every now and then. We shouldn't assume Michigan is well-liked around the nation any more than, say, Florida is well-liked.


August 27th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

There does seem to be a lot of this but also remember; you're specifically attuned to the negativity because it's M. After a while, you tuned out the ND "is crap for ever!" because you heard it ad nauseum. It's hard to tune it out when it's your team.


August 27th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

Notre Dame has been the butt of jokes for well over a decade. To say that their reputation as a football powerhouse hasn't taken a hit in the eyes of analysts and fans is just wrong. Other than some delusional Irish fans, NOBODY considers them to be an elite program anymore and haven't for quite a while now.


August 27th, 2009 at 4:26 PM ^

When you're "The Leaders and Best", people love to prey on you when you're down. It's all cyclical though. Remember how dominant Oklahoma was when Switzer was there? When he left, they went to crap until Stoops arrived. Same thing with USC prior to Pete Carroll.

This will all be an afterthought in another season or two when RichRod catapults Michigan pack to its lofty perch.

Sorry if I'm rambling, but I am sick of hearing that the WINNINGEST program in college football history is doomed to suck forever.

F*** Ohio State.


August 27th, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

Those programs were bad for a long time too. I remember the media referring to USC as Southern Cal Community College.

And the Red River shootout between Oklahoma and Texas? Nobody gave a crap about that game unless you wanted to watch 2 bad football teams.


August 27th, 2009 at 4:38 PM ^

They'll be fine this year. Actually, I think they'll be better than fine, because they've got a chip on their shoulder after last year.

Regarding getting a pass: I don't think Michigan should get one. Don't think anyone should. There is NOTHING worse than a team getting a bowl bid or a rating based on the past, and not on reality. That's what keeps on happening with ND, and people are tired of it.

Look at it this way: we basically think that State is getting a pass this year, and is overrated. Nationally, many are starting to think that OSU is overrated, given their bowl performance the last several years. I would much rather Michigan be underrated and surprise people, slam teams, and overperform expectations, as did the 2008-2009 Basketball team. I don't want to have Michigan be overrated, as they were prior to the 2008 campaign. That would be disastrous. Think of all the angst and endless analysis on "what went wrong" and "how long RR will last" and those irritating references to him being one of the coaches on the "hot seat." No, I absolutely don't want Michigan to get a pass. RR has said as much. IIRC, his comments amount to, "when we deserve to win, we'll win."


August 27th, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

It's annoying, yes. But I'm not surprised. Our first losing season in 41 years combined with the fact that it was the worst season in school history. People are going to talk. And Sparty will talk about taking over the state until the end of time. Nothing is going stop that.

I just hope and pray that it doesn't take forever to get the program back in shape. Oklahoma, USC, Texas and LSU were the laughing stocks of college football for 13+ years before they got back on track.


August 27th, 2009 at 5:15 PM ^

Nebraska started going downhill when their iconic coach retired unexpectedly. The replacement wasn't quite as good, but then a terrible hire unraveled the program. The damage Callahan did to Nebraska (and the Raiders) lingers to this day.

To suggest that drug testing was the cause of Nebraska's slide is to assume something for which you have no data instead of suggesting the obvious -- the loss of Osborne was the root cause.

Osborne leaves after winning a share of the NC, and the slide begins somewhat later. Remember, Nebraska played in the NC game against Miami under Solich. Even if they didn't deserve to be in the game, they were good enough to be in the discussion.

Super J

August 27th, 2009 at 6:10 PM ^

Nebraska's down fall came when they hired a new coach who brought in a completely different culture. And it didn't catch on. They gave Callahan a pass the first year because he didn't have "his type" of players.

I understand anyone who draws parallels to us and gets scared.

However, RR is in a different dimension when it comes to recruiting. Callahan relied on this is "Big Red" speech to get kids to come. And his field of dreams grew over with corn.


August 27th, 2009 at 7:53 PM ^

I agree with nightavenger. When the NCAA started testing for steroids, the "tradition" of the 195-pound walk-on who earns a scholly his junior year at 305 was pretty much stopped cold, along with the stereotype of the "corn-fed Nebraska linemen." The team seemed to shrink overnight. The reason they seemed to shrink was because they no longer had "help."

The coaching staff may have made mistakes, but the sudden conversion of Nebraska from the most 'roided team in the country to one that tried to be clean was the main reason they lost their edge for awhile. When they were a perennial national power, Nebraska out-powered people who knew what play was coming. That is not coaching; it is having stronger, faster players. They didn't recruit better than anyone else, but "grew" their players once they got into the program. They lost their long-standing illegal advantage over other teams and paid for it.

Now, they have to recruit and coach on an elite level to play on an elite level, just like everyone else.