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. 



November 10th, 2013 at 10:37 AM ^

The Sugar Bowl gave the program some much-needed publicity that propelled us on the recruiting trail.  Without it, we might not have had a chance on Hand and Peppers.

On the other hand, if we didn't win it/go to it, we might still be suffering from the disappointment of the RichRod era.  


November 10th, 2013 at 10:44 AM ^

I might be wrong here, and Brodie can correct me if I am, but I think what he is arguing is that we still are - in some regards both significant and not so much - suffering from the disappointment of the previous staff and that the ripple effects of mistakes made there affect this team now. It isn't an excuse for subpar performance in certain aspect of the game, but it serves as part of the explanation. No one is saying that you should expect less than the best, but expectations also require context - more context than wins and losses. 

That's how I interpreted this anyway. 

beat ohio

November 10th, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

You know, the first thing I was going to say when I saw this was "you are a complete moron". But honestly, to an extent, you are right. I always think we're better off winning rather than losing (I know, I'm a revolutionary), but I actually really like your point about unrealistic expectations. I think it caused us to think the transition would be easier than it really ever could have been, and now that we're finally making a (very rough) transition, it's causing what looks like an implosion. Note, i'm not saying I'm happy with the way Borges is calling things - I really don't think he's doing a particularly great job. But at some point, we were bound to have a rough season, and unfortunately it's been worse than most of us expected, and everyone is losing their minds, pretty much.

Wolverine Devotee

November 10th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

I agree 11-2 year one was the worst thing that could happen for Hoke. Because the lunatics who don't realize this program has been decimated by the poor recruiting in some areas, their expecations are insane.

That 2011 season though was something I'll never trade. Probably the best season since I was very young in 2003.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

So, we should not have been blinded by the Sugar Bowl and an 11-win season in our prospective outlook for the program, based on your retrospective, 20-20 hindsight.

Ok. Great post. Thanks for the heavy-handed pedantry. You are indeed smarter than the rest of us. 


November 10th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

2012 wasn't that bad of a season, given that

  • We lost in one-score games to three Top 10 teams
  • We were about to take the lead on Nebraska when Denard was injured
  • and lost to Alabama.

Sagarin team ratings

2010  60

2011  11

2012  20

2013  54


While it's true that the impact of the 2010-2011 recruiting class talent vacuum is at its peak right now, we shouldn't have fallen this far. 

Bo used to say, "Identify what is wrong, and fix only that."  I think it's safe to say that the O-Line is what is wrong.  Hoke & Co are drawing down capital this year.  Next year, Hoke needs to see marked O-Line improvement, even with the loss of Lewan and Schofield.

Team 101

November 10th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

I can think of a number of things that qualify as 100% worst thing ever in Michigan football.  Winning the Sugar Bowl isn't one of them. 

I would probably put the shaft that the Big Ten athletic directors gave forty years ago to Team 94 as number one.

Losing to App State would be number two.

Every time we lost to Moo as a tie for number three.


November 10th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

This is true...but seriously come on youre michigan. The big ten is down has been for awhile. Being just competitive isnt michigan! Maybe the expectations are unrealistic but this is big time big money college football its a business. Look at tv contracts...hokes salary. Screw


November 10th, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

Competitive is the point that was brought up. We have been competitive. I want more than competitive, but the team with the least returning starters in the B1G should be expected to face some bumps. This is especially true when the offensive line is in the condition that it's in. Personally, I didn't want to fire Rodriguez when we did, becaues I think he was rebuilding, but that does not matter now. Now Hoke is rebuilding, and I think we should give him the time he needs. Many coaches have struggled in their early careers and turned out well.


November 10th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

I thought about that, but then if you go back through the numbers, it is not statistically true at all. This honor would be Purdue's to lose this season. We're definitely not in the same world of hurt that West Lafayette is. If we're going to think about it, let's do it in three dimensions, please. 

Bobby Boucher

November 10th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

I'm having a tough time accepting a BCS Bowl game win as the worst thing to ever happen to Michigan football.  However, I would've accepted:

A 7 year losing drought to Ohio

Losing 5 of the last 6 to Sparty

The hiring of RR when there were so many better candidates

Jim Tressel


I think you get the point!



An Angelo's Addict

November 10th, 2013 at 11:11 AM ^

I understand the point you are trying to make but the problem I have with this year is the very obvious fact that we are just straight out-coached on offense every game and our players are showing zero improvement. I don't think winning or losing the sugar bowl would change that fact


November 10th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

You are right.  Firing Hoke now is a really bad idea.  We have to give him two more years.  I am as pissed as anybody and was yelling, "fire his sorry as...." but after cooling down and recognizing the amazing recruiting job he is doing I changed my mind.  This team is just not what we thought it would be.  That doesn't mean we won't be great.  For now we need to wait.




November 10th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

Coaches never see major success three years into taking over a top tier program that's recruited in the top 20 every year, especailly when they play in possibly the worst of the major conferences (and no AAC isn't a major conference). 


November 10th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

You make a good point there's no doubt the sugar bowl gave us unrealistic expectations but regardless the offense should have been better. -60 yards rushing over 2 games is the worst I've ever seen. It's not just the statistics the play calling is horrible. This will still b an issue even if the team improves


November 10th, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

Les Miles at OSU: 9-3

Les Miles at LSU: national champions.


Urban Meyer at Florida: 9-4 (aftering winning title in year two)


Jim Harbaugh at Stanford: 9-4, improved every year. 


Hell, Jerry Kill's 8-2 in year 3 at Minnesota. 


I don't expect to be Alabama in year three, but we have better recruiting than everyone in the conference except Ohio State. Saying that we shouldn't expect to at least compete for a division title in year three is ridiculous. Rich Rod got fired for a season like this and he was improving every year.  We basically fired our coach without a good plan B if our top choice didn't come to Ann Arbo three years ago and now we're stuck in a position where we can't make a change. The program is in idle. 


November 10th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

What is so mindlessly rediculous about posts such as this and blind apologists is that Hoke himself would disagree with you all - he set the expectations of winning a Big Ten title every year. He has said this numerous times. And he would agree that we have fallen well shy of those expectations. The apologists need to get their collective heads out of the same ass. I do not think Hoke should be fired, not by a long shot. That would be awful for the program. But changes need to be made. 


November 10th, 2013 at 11:48 AM ^

I have lost some passion for Michigan football, there's no way around it. Here's why: Michigan has great men to lead the program. HOWEVER, they coachspeak about "Putting players in positions to win" and "Becoming a Michigan Defense" and "Techniqur" blah blah blah. They the. Do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they talk about.