Would you rather?

Submitted by SpikeFan2016 on August 13th, 2015 at 2:58 PM
Disclaimer: This is a “silly” hypothetical that’s not meant to be taken too seriously; rather, the purpose is to pass time during submarine week (weeks? month?). I acknowledge that this is overly simplistic and just one possible iteration for how the season may transpire. Obviously, there are scenarios we would much prefer to both alternatives, but I think it's a genuine tough call between the two given.


I was having an interesting discussion with a fellow Wolverine (and a Spartan) about what the Michigan fan base would rather have in their first season of Harbaugh:

  • a strong record and a chance at a New Year’s Six bowl, but with losses to both rivals at home


  • a fairly decent, but not great, record with a huge upset win over one rival (without specifying which).

In order to make this plausible and succinct, I present two records to consider:

10-2 vs. 8-4 

The reason I picked 8-4 as the comparison is that I think 9-3 is not a significant enough difference to make this challenging. Furthermore, if we go 6-6 or worse there is not a realistic chance we would beat either MSU or OSU. (this isn't a "10-2 vs 2-10" impossible scenario).

Frankly, I did struggle a bit between choosing 7-5 and 8-4, but in the end I figured there would be more, "of course we'd take 10-2 over 7-5!!!" than people saying, "of course we'd take 8-4 w/ OSU over 10-2!!!" Also, I personally think that in general 8-4 is a more likely season outcome than 7-5 so I decided to stick with it. Let me know if I was wrong/if 7-5 would have been a more challenging comparison. 

Lastly, the reason that I’m saying a win over only one rival is not because I think that there is no chance we beat both (trust me, I do think that’s definitely a possibility), but I believe that if we beat both we will have at least 10 wins anyways so the comparison would be moot.


Well, Wolverine fans, what do you think? What would be your considerations/rationale?


Blue Mike

August 13th, 2015 at 4:28 PM ^

It did wonders for us in 2011, right?

I'd think beating OSU would do the most for our momentum going forward, what with the national championship, reliving 1969, and all of that.  Also, it should mean that we're improving as the season goes on. I'd take 8-4 with a win over OSU over 10-2 without, especially since the B1G is weak enough that the best win of that 10-2 season would be... Utah? Penn State?  Who knows how good those teams are going to be.


August 13th, 2015 at 5:51 PM ^

I absolutely agree.  8-4 with a win over the reigning national champion OSU on the last weekend of the season would be the story of the year (1969 all over again).  That's much preferable to 10-2 and another loss to the Bucknuts.

I don't live in Michigan so the 8-4 with a win over Sparty isn't as attractive to me.  That case is more of a tossup.  Probably the bowl we'd get with 10-2 would make me chose that option.


August 13th, 2015 at 3:13 PM ^

I don't see how we have a shot at an NY6 bowl with losses to both rivals, even with a 10-2 record. I'd be reasonably satisfied with taking one of them down on the way to 8-4. At the risk of dredging up horrible memories, we've beaten each of them once in the last 7 tries, and so I've learned not to take those wins for granted the same way I did as a kid in the '90s.

Gentleman Squirrels

August 13th, 2015 at 3:21 PM ^

You underestimate the Michigan fanbase. The NY6 bowls would love to have us with a 10-2 record just because of the revenue Michigan would bring. I mean, if we look at it objectively, that was one of the reasons we were in the Sugar Bowl in 2011. There were teams that were probably more deserving than either Michigan or Virginia Tech, but our revenue potential pushed us ahead.


August 13th, 2015 at 3:33 PM ^

Certainly that's fair enough. I'm not aware of potential fan support being one of the committee's selection criteria, but they do have to create good matchups. Nevertheless, 10-2 with losses to MSU and OSU in our most recent game (which presumably would put us out of the B1G Championship) means, if nothing else, that we will likely not be at the forefront of that discussion.


August 13th, 2015 at 3:47 PM ^

Of the 8 teams selected last year, 5 went 10-2 (or worse) in the regular season (Michigan State, Mississippi State, Arizona, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, the last of which was only 9-3).


Assuming we lose to a 13-0 Big Ten Champion, reigning national champion OSU and an 11-1 MSU, I think it would be highly plausible we are included (unless they both absolutely blow us out, which I am not assuming). Especially given the size of our fanbase and the media hype Harbaugh would generate.  


August 13th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

Fair enough. 11-2 Wisconsin certainly could keep 10-2 Michigan out of the NY6. In that case I think they would put the team in that played OSU more closely (unless UW nearly defeats Alabama which I view as highly unlikely). 



Anyways, the point wasn't that 10-2 Michigan would be a NY6 lock, but they would very likely at least be in the conversation. 


August 13th, 2015 at 3:13 PM ^

This used to be a thread on MSu boards for years on end.  Except it would be "6-6 and beat Michigan or 9-3 and lose to them".  I hate how roles have reversed.

Btown Wolverine

August 13th, 2015 at 3:15 PM ^

I'd take 8-4. I was all set to take the losses against rivals becuase I'm already preparing myself for that (depressingly likely) scenario...then I saw the final records you were proposing. I've already decided I'd be happy with an 8-4 season for Harbaugh year 1, and if that includes a win over a rival I'd be quite happy.