Winning the Sugar Bowl was the worst thing that ever happened to Michigan football

Submitted by Brodie on November 10th, 2013 at 10:19 AM

It is amazing... less than three years ago, we lost to Mississippi State by 38 points in the Gator Bowl. A year after that we won the flukiest bowl game ever to cap the flukiest season ever and suddenly people thought we were therefore good enough to beat Alabama. A year later, we played a competitve bowl game against a good (not great SEC team) and then lost a large number of our best upper classmen on offense to graduation. This year, we seemed to be expecting a Big 10 title or bust.

In retrospect, two things are obvious:


1. a decline, severe  or not, on offense was inevitable


2. our fanbase has had stupidly unrealistic expectations since 2011, the weight of which could potentially crush the on-going rebuild.

I am not a Borges fan. I don't much care if he's fired (though if the best we can hope for is Loeffler, I'd rather they not all things considered). I support Hoke, but not unconditionally so. It's time for us to all take a step back, look at where we are, accept that there are huge gaps in this team and that solving them will take more than just firing everyone in the Ann Arbor tomorrow. We should hope that they win any and all remaining games but otherwise back the fuck off. As such, this will be my last post on MGo until season's end. Beat Ohio, etc. 


Monocle Smile

November 10th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

But the excitement is starting to wane and the ring is a long way from being paid off. I apologize to those of you who are happily married for the crude analogy.

I don't think anyone's saying that firing staff members will solve all our problems. But it's a good start.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio is making $1,959,744, which ranks 51st nationally and ninth among Big Ten football coaches in total compensation, according to USA TODAY Sports’ annual analysis of majorcollege football coaches pay. Dantonio could earn up to $650,000 more in bonuses. Michigan’s Brady Hoke is making $4,154,000 in total compensation this season and ranks eighth nationally. Hoke’s pay includes a $1.5 million retention bonus that he would earn if he’s the coach through Dec. 31.

Alabama’s Nick Saban is first with a total compensation of $5,545,852, followed by Mack Brown of Texas ($5,453,750) and former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema of Arkansas ($5,158,863). Former Central Michigan coach Butch Jones of Tennessee is fourth at $4,860,000, followed by Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($4,773,167).

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is sixth nationally and first in the Big Ten at $4,608,000. LSU’s Les Miles is seventh at $4,459,363, followed by Hoke and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz ($3,985,000). Hoke, who made $3,046,120 in compensation last season and ranked third in the conference behind Meyer and Ferentz, also could earn up to $550,000 more in bonuses (starting with $85,000 for a bowl).

The other Big Ten coaches: Penn State’s Bill O'Brien (No. 14, $3,282,779), Nebraska’s Bo Pelini (No. 18, $2,975,000), Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (No. 41, $2,221,153), Purdue’s Darrell Hazell (No. 43, $2,160,833), Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen (No. 47, $2,120,823), Illinois’ Tim Beckman (No. 60, $1,700,000), Indiana’s Kevin Wilson (No. 66, $1,291,220) and Minnesota’s Jerry Kill (No. 67, $1,200,000).


November 10th, 2013 at 10:56 AM ^

What you're saying is that with the money we spent on Hoke we could've spent on a higher quality coach (Dantonio, Anderson make less)?  

This post is a pretty big refutation of how I thought the AD just did not want to spend money.  Now I know what the problem is: they do throw money at the problem, just not very efficiently.  Someone should go tell the kids their tuition is expensive because we spent millions on a bad coach.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

teams will take quality bowl wins any way they can get them.  I don't think most fans have unrealistic expectations.  Fans thought that this team had a shot (certainly not the favorite) to win the BIG and at least be in contention for our division.  I think that most fans are upset with the fact that this team has talent that is not being used or maximized.  When you get beat up by teams that are on massive NCAA sanctions (Penn State) and another team decimated by injury (Neb) that do not have the same level of talent people are understandably upset.  The expectation Michigan fans have is for competence in football product, which is not what we have witnessed since the ND game.

At some point you have to get rid of all the excuses (too young, new QB, etc) and just win.  How many teams can we point to that have contributing freshman and sophs that don't have the same problems we do?  Many.  Why can other teams plug in players at key positions like the O-line, RB, and QB and we can't?  That is where the frustration stems from.

Hoke and company got a break for a couple years for being something other than RRod and that honeymoon is now over.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

Florida State with their freshman QB, Nebraska last night used backup QBs to beat us as well as plugging in back up O-lineman, Stanford, Penn State's Hackenberg is a true frosh and looks more competent than Gardner, the list goes on.

Also, I don't think it is unreasonable (even with growing pains) to win our side of the division with as weak as the BIG is.  It says a lot when you can't even be competitive in one of the worst conferences in the nation.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Id have to say that season and game helped with recruiting but did set high expectations too soon for Hoke and co...i still think he is your answer. But truthfully you need a big time big name but none are really available right now.

swan flu

November 10th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

So, because we changed coaches, we should temper our expectations for 4 years?


That's absurd.  Wisconsin changed coaches this year and they are arguably a BETTER team.


Auburn changed coaches, has 3 underclass offensive line starters (Including Alex Kozan), and has a top 10 rushing offense in the nation.


It is not unrealistic to assume a program with the largest fanbase, the largest stadium, and top 5 in revenue could be able to compete for a Big Ten Title EVERY YEAR.


Expecting less is settling for less than we have the potential to be. To be anything except the best is unacceptable.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

I don't really like how people say, "Oh, because we're Michigan and the tradition we should be good always".  Nothing is guaranteed.  Just because we are huge in terms of money and support does not mean that we would be the best.  Just look at Stanford, Michigan State, and Baylor: three teams that are not traditional football powerhouses that are great a football.

Our success is not guaranteed and the failure of staee is not guaranteed either.  Setting for less might end up having to be acceptable: Michigan might actually one day go the way of the Ivy Leagues: great academic school with minimal sport ability (except for basketball) that used to be amazing at football.  

A program collapse is not impossible, nor is a return to elite inevitable.  Just like every other program, to reach elite levels, effort must be put in.  I'm convinced that winning isn't exactly #1 on Dave Brandon's list, however.

swan flu

November 10th, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

Theres a difference between tempering expectations and accepting this flaming tire fire of an offense.


I said nothing of tradition. I spoke of infrastructure.  When you have the infrastructure that Michigan has, there are no excuses for not being a perennial top-15 team.  You can attract the talent, you can pay the coaches.




November 10th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

I think that with long-term sucking (ever since the last year of the Carr era, we have been pretty mediocre by Michigan standards), the program can be ground down.  With so much awfulness recruits are driven away, good coaches are not willing to come, and nobody really wants to watch the football games.  Just ask Yale: they used to be pretty good back in the day.

There is a spiral of death that can happen to this program if the AD's are not on top of their games.  To avoid it, like you said, we probably need a high-level coach.

Expectations might someday be lowered so far that our favorite sport becomes college basketball.  Don't be too surprised if it happens.  The infrastructure is not something that can withstand the beating it is taking now.

snarling wolverine

November 10th, 2013 at 11:25 AM ^

Let's not go overboard here.  It was just two months ago that we beat ND under the lights in front of an all-time record crowd and electric atmosphere, with tons of recruits watching.  

It sucks that we've lost three games, but it doesn't have to mean it's the end of the road for the program.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

Your post inspired me to find this article:…

about how a 3-9 team changed the O Line coach and now feature a back avg'ing 102 yd/gm playing in the SEC with a very young offensive line (as has been mentioned in this thread).

Money quote: "No matter how many players Arkansas was putting in the box, it didn’t make a difference. Auburn’s line held — and more often than not, drove defenders clear out of the picture."

snarling wolverine

November 10th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

I don't know a ton about Auburn, but keep in mind, we won 11 games two years ago and rushed for a ton of yards, too.  Whether they can keep it going longer than we did remains to be seen.

As for Wisconsin, they're the 3-time defending B1G champion so it's not really a fair comparison.  Of course they're going to be good.

I do think that, under normal circumstances, Michigan should contend for the B1G title every year.  But we're not yet under normal circumstances.  The huge lack of upperclassmen at several positions illustrates this.  Having just nine guys on the team left over from the 2010 class (originally 27) hurts.   That's not to say that the coaching (especially on the offensive side) is optimal, of course.  I think the problem is a mixture of inexperience and coaching.



swan flu

November 10th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

two years ago we had veterans on the offensive line.  auburn is a top 10 rushing offense with the same youth issues we currently have.  The point is they adapt and find ways to succeed given their constraints.


If you think Michigan needs certain circumstances in order to win, then youre going to accept a losing team for many many years. a great team can win under any circumstances. 

snarling wolverine

November 10th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

Again - let's see if Auburn actually keeps this up or is just a flash in the pan this season.  That program has been all over the map the last decade: undefeated in 2004, then bad, then national champs in 2010, then bad, now good again.  Who knows what to expect with them?

You can spout out clichés like "a great team can win under any circumstances"  but when you don't have many upperclassmen, it's hard to have a great team in the first place.  (Again, I am not saying the coaches are blameless, but the inexperience is adding to the problem.)




November 10th, 2013 at 12:04 PM ^

And we have won how many B10 championships, national championships and had an undefeated season since 2004? I can say as a true "Michigan Man" not being as good as a 2nd rate SEC school like Auburn over the last ten years is a complete and utter failure by our administration and institution.

Hell, when your own Heisman winner WR is dogging on your alma mater on College Game day and Buckeye slappy Kirby piles on and says no team has regressed this year more than Michigan, this isn't just an execution issue. This is really some fucked up shit going on in AA.