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Date Title Body
01/12/2019 - 12:45pm ”But he’s never demonstrably…

”But he’s never demonstrably called a play.” “But he couldn’t be good if he left Alabama and went to Maryland first.” “But JH isn’t going to allow him to call plays,” said the hive, collectively.

The donkeys all nodded in agreement with what the bees were buzzing about. “We suck,” one said. “Six teams in D-1 college football had better regular season records. Time for Harbaugh to go.” 

The donkeys all nodded.

01/07/2019 - 3:40pm How is this even a big deal?…

How is this even a big deal? How many of us would turn down a pay raise and a chance for a promotion if the offer was from the largest competitor of your company? Being a coach is a career, part of a business, and a school isn’t a religion or a marriage.

Mattison gets one more shot at being a DC, which is obviously why he came to Michigan in the first place.

Michigan will find a fine D-Line coach, either from the current staff, or from outside.

Smart move on Mattison’s part. The hate is childish. As for the rest of the reasons, it’s pure speculation.

01/06/2019 - 2:30pm And after UCLA’s 6-7 2017…

And after UCLA’s 6-7 2017 season with Fisch as OC, despite having a star QB (Josh Rosen) and plenty of offensive talent, whose head would you have been screaming for if you were a Bruins fan?

Exactly six Power 5 teams had better records than Michigan in the 2018 regular season. Six. Michigan lost one conference game - it was a big one, but the offense did put up 39 points against OSU, and that number was pretty consistent with its 37 point-per-game average.

Fisch’s Bruins team averaged 31 points per game in the regular season, and only scored 17 in their bowl.

While Fisch’s 2016 team averaged more, the schedule was significantly weaker, so it’s hard to compare OCs.

We needn’t be an echo chamber of negativity. We have a good coaching staff.

01/05/2019 - 10:19pm Thank you for your sanity!

Thank you for your sanity!

Some of the opinions in this thread are absurd. Run a consistent coach who wins ten games 3 seasons out of four, out of town! Fire a ten win OC/pass game coordinator, because obviously nothing’s working!

Blame the coaches because the team lost a supposed “meaningless” bowl game when 4 of the team’s best players - difference-makers - wouldn’t show up for the bowl!

And rumors repeated as though fact, not speculation.

Harbaugh “better” start winning these games!  Or what? You folks saying that plan to personally show up in his office and fire him? Bring the torches and pitchforks, let’s storm the castle! Bullshit.

Our AD will show more balls ignoring the whiners and bellyachers, and standing by an excellent coach, than by insisting on ridiculous staff changes to appease them.

 

 

 

01/02/2019 - 2:49pm As with so much following…

As with so much following the Florida bowl game, being ignored is the fact that teams that practice and play together for a summer and for a season tend to rely on each other during games. And star players matter.

They didn’t have that in the Florida game.

Apply Occam’s Razor here; the simplest, most obvious explanation for the collapse of Michigan’s defense and lack of running production is the four starters who sat this game out. There’s no need to speculate on other issues to explain this loss.

You can blame the coaches all you like, but if there’s a glaring fault, it’s on the players who (in my opinion) quit on their teammates, or, taking the case of Bush and Gary in the kindest light, were too banged up to play.

To pin this loss on Harbaugh is nuts, especially after the success the team had when everyone was healthy and playing.

And if, as many here think, it was smart and good and wise for the four players not to play, it’s still the most obvious reason for the blowout loss.

01/02/2019 - 2:37pm Nonsense. I wear the same…

Nonsense. I wear the same combination of clothing every day because that’s how I like to do things. No justification needed, and no bullshit analysis/criticism of someone else’s lifestyle is required or appropriate.

12/30/2018 - 12:41pm Ethan, if this game was…

Ethan, if this game was truly as meaningless as you claimed it would be the other day, this column would’ve been far different. 

The team needs work to become elite, no doubt about it. On the other hand, the sky isn’t falling. We had a ten win season, and there was significant improvement over last year. Improvement is a good trend.

After the Wiscy, MSU and PSU games, this fanbase was full of happy horseshit, and JH and especially Don Brown were geniuses. After two losses, and a 10-3 season they’re goats? Bullshit. 

I don’t expect this blog to be happy about a loss, or be unrepentant homers, but for the folks who run it to be as miserably bandwagon-oriented as random internet folks is pretty damned short-sighted.

12/30/2018 - 1:43am This meltdown is so…

This meltdown is so annoyingly predictable! Three team leaders - talented players - headed for the NFL don’t play for whatever reason, and before the game the fans are saying, “No big deal, this game is meaningless.”

Michigan loses - and Winovich explained that on defense missing those guys made a difference, in addition to the guys who got hurt - and the fan base blames the coach. Suddenly the meaningless game is important. Off with their heads!

Obviously the guys not playing affected the outcome. So what does the fan base do? Acts like babies and explodes, but not at the guys who decided not to play; they’re off limits. They blame the coaches who led the team to a ten win season, in itself not an easy task.

Regardless of what we think players have a right to do - I certainly think they have a right to play or not play - there are the issues of team, of sportsmanship, of loyalty. Any team would lose cohesion under these circumstances, and that is simply not on the coaches.

As for the conservative play-calling, yes, perhaps that’s on the coaches, but I also understand also that they may have wanted to control the ball to keep a depleted defense off the field, since they knew it was going to be a much tougher slog without those players - and Don Brown said so before the game. He was not kidding himself.

In view of this trend where players sit out bowls to protect their future pro careers, my take is that, like it or not, the bowl system is obviously dead. College football is a junior pro league where it’s about money, not sportsmanship and all the rah-rah stuff. Have an 8 team playoff, call those 4 games bowls or whatever you like, because they’re all that matter to anyone, and kill the other bowls for Division 1 or whatever it’s now called.

As for those interested in seeing non-professional athlete students play other non-professional athlete students for the sheer sportsmanship of it, there are other leagues, like the Ivies. The idea that Michigan athletes would sit out a bowl game bugs me an awful lot, and I’ll admit it makes me lose interest.

12/30/2018 - 1:04am Missed the RichRod and most…

Missed the RichRod and most of the Hoke eras, huh?

12/29/2018 - 10:17pm You seem to know a lot. But…

You seem to know a lot. But it doesn’t do to merely complain,

Name an available coach you guarantee can do better than ten wins in our division and conference 3 out of 4 years.

The last sure-fire, understands-the-modern-game, bet was RichRod. 

12/29/2018 - 5:03pm Odd that folks who called…

Odd that folks who called this game meaningless are now disappointed/pissed off.

I don’t blame the coaching for this at all, since they didn’t sit this one out.

12/23/2018 - 1:04pm I sat in the stadium through…

I sat in the stadium through that Indiana game thinking we were going to have some difficulty with a passer like Haskins, but I didn’t expect anything like the defensive breakdown that happened throughout the OSU game. It was painful to watch a Michigan defense literally get picked apart, and I’m still feelin’ it.

12/21/2018 - 12:01pm I realize the idea of…

I realize the idea of amateur athletics has become kind of a joke when it comes to the money sports. However, the idea of The University of Michigan Professional Football Team puts a sour taste in my mouth.

Things have been creeping farther and farther along in this direction in all the money sports, it’s true. That doesn’t make it consistent with the idea of higher education, and since the money doesn’t go into the University’s general fund (correct me if I’m wrong? I’m under the impression it goes to the athletic department), it’s just getting a little too weird - for me, not necessarily for others.

I’m not saying a pro team is wrong, just that it doesn’t make sense to me. I’d prefer to see something like the Ivy League, where the athletes actually are amateurs. I know I’m alone in this, but there’s a reason they do it that way, and it’s not altogether stupid.

12/20/2018 - 6:31pm I’m not into blaming people,…

I’m not into blaming people, personally; this is all personal choice stuff as far as I’m concerned, and I encourage players to look out for themselves. Everyone has that right, and should be free to make these kinds of decisions.

But isn’t it also true that a meaningless regular-season game can be a career-ender, too? “I’m not playing against Rutgers, I can’t be hurt in a game that doesn’t really matter.” 

I’m not saying for a moment that I know where the line should be drawn on this stuff. But it’s not difficult to imagine that this kind of thing could turn into a problem down the road, if college football as we know it is to continue.

Then again, ‘college football as we know it’ is in a financial world of its own, and it’s clearly going to change. None of us has a crystal ball, though, as to what will be in the future.

12/20/2018 - 12:30pm So here’s a question: do the…

So here’s a question: do the teams that go to the playoffs get all their players to suit up (I don’t know the answer to this)? If so, in practical terms, how are the playoffs vs the bowls more important to a player’s future? A Natty pays them nothing. They don’t necessarily go higher in the draft. They stand the same risk of injury as they do in any other game.

Maybe they do it for pride/prestige? I’m asking, not arguing the point.

I also wonder about the perceived difference between a league game and a bowl game, if these future pros are concerned about losing a shot at the dollars? Why bother finishing out any season once it’s clear you have high draft stock? A game’s a game - chance of injury no matter if it’s a bowl or a regular season game. And in fact we saw that come into play with Bosa at OSU this year. I could see this becoming a trend.

The solution of paying the players...I dunno. Their degrees (if they stuck around for them) are worth a lot of money, and they aren’t burdened with student loan debt. But in any case, the nickels and dimes they’d get paid in college probably won’t matter much if they stand to lose millions via injury before the pro draft.

Paying players is probably fair, but at the same time, they’re not going to be paid very much compared to what they’d earn as pros. How does that make them want to compete once it’s clear that the high dollars are waiting to be grabbed in the pros?

To take the “pay the players” argument further, why should colleges be in the pro sports business in the first place? Their job is ostensibly education, or at the very least, being good four-year vacation hosts to students.

Pay the players and possibly you kill off the mythical premise of college athletics that people actually do buy into - that it’s all about the school. It’s certainly a factor in how fanatical folks are about college games. Whether that’s good or bad, I can’t say, but I doubt you’ll draw the crowds and interest as strongly as still happens now.

12/19/2018 - 1:02pm What fun it has been to…

What fun it has been to watch Devin Bush play with such fire and hustle! I’ll certainly miss him, as will the team. 

As for the bowl game...the playoffs have done their best to kill off the significance of other bowls. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s a big factor in evaluating their importance. And that being the case, the playoffs should expand to include more teams, so more bowls will be regarded as important. It’s a shame that the PAC 10 and B1G aren’t in the playoffs, every power 5 conference champion really should be there. I also think Notre Dame should join a full-time conference, or be ineligible. 

However, I still think this game is important to the program, and it’s a shame that some of our star players can’t be in it, even though I respect their decisions, especially in view of their injuries this season and their pro draft stock.

12/17/2018 - 6:35pm All speculation until/unless…

All speculation until/unless Solomon explains why.

With young guys, it could be something as simple as a personality conflict with a coach, a girlfriend problem, whatever. It’s going to happen from time to time.

Maybe they weren’t going to start him in the bowl game, and he was pissed. Maybe it was grades. You just never know.

12/05/2018 - 1:56pm As to their coach getting…

As to their coach getting down on all fours, well, maybe he enjoys being our dog?

I like that we’re hand-wringing over an undefeated team, and a sub who didn’t play as well coming in cold off the bench as Teske, one of the team’s best players. Wouldn’t be a Michigan fan base otherwise!

12/04/2018 - 1:19pm I know I put my crystal ball…

I know I put my crystal ball somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t find it. Experience suggests that OSU is a superb program where top talent gets plugged into the machine year after year.

Going beyond that is pure speculation.

12/04/2018 - 1:11pm I do think it’s probably for…

I do think it’s probably for real medical reasons, and here’s why: A chronic disease can be discouraging as hell; I know from my own experience. You go through periods where you’re down and think the party’s definitely over, and you go through periods when you think you’re fine and can handle whatever career pressures you might face.

In other words, your mind goes back and forth between what you think you can, can’t, should be, shouldn’t be doing.

I’m not surprised that Meyer has gone back and forth regarding his retirement. It’s not atypical, and it doesn’t mean he’s lying. I don’t see a reason to read any more into it than that.

12/03/2018 - 4:28pm I really like that Harbaugh…

I really like that Harbaugh had nothing but praise for McElwain, and for the quality of play he got this year from his team. No one’s pointing out that while MSU and Wiscy didn’t turn out to be great this year, Penn State finished the season at #12, and Northwestern was #22, and both MSU and Wiscy are headed to bowls at 7-5.

Despite the loss to Ohio State - and please don’t think for a second I’m happy about that - a 10-2 regular season is a good result, an improvement over the previous three seasons, and I’m proud of our guys for everything they’ve done this year.

The Peach Bowl is now what it is - a big time bowl. Florida at 9-3, the #10 team in the country, who beat LSU and a good Kentucky team, is a solid opponent. Back in the day, incidentally, the Fiesta Bowl was also a “nothing” bowl, compared to the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Cotton. It only rose to prominence in the 90s and the BCS era.

We’ve played Ohio State; UCF and Washington aren’t particularly exciting matchups; the only other really exciting choice would be Georgia. As an aside, be honest: how do you think Georgia’s excellent QB would do against our exposed defense on crossing routes? We’ll be without Rashan Gary as well. I think we have a fine matchup that will be competitive.

12/02/2018 - 6:56pm Any New Years’ Six bowl…

Any New Years’ Six bowl invitation is an accomplishment, not a punishment. I’m going to watch the game and have fun. It’s healthier than dwelling on negatives.

I hope the team is excited and plays their best game of the year.

Go Blue! 

11/26/2018 - 12:09am Don’t be fooled.

This whole…

Don’t be fooled.

This whole thing about Urban Meyer having a brain cyst is a coverup; what he has is a device implanted in his brain by highly intelligent, though evil, alien beings. These aliens are called the “Grays”.

The device literally calls the shots during games. That’s why he wins. Occasionally the device malfunctions, and the result is the Purdue Anomaly. The device also allows the aliens to cause physical pain to Meyer if he doesn’t listen to their instructions. This is why we see him bent over in pain from time to time.

The solution to Michigan’s lack of invincibility is for Harbaugh to get his ass over to Area 51 as soon as possible, and get an implant from the highly intelligent, good aliens, called the “Blues”, who are giving our government alien technology for national defense. They’ll give him alien technology for football defense. They’ve already given Brown some insight, but his software needs updating.

 

11/25/2018 - 9:59am As difficult as the game was…

As difficult as the game was, we scored 39 points. With our highly ranked defense that should’ve been enough. This one’s on the defense.

But let’s not lose perspective; 23 point losses aren’t plagues of locusts, they happen regularly to other good teams, because it turns out that perfect seasons are hard to come by. Ohio State lost to Purdue by 29 points this year, a worse loss on a lot of levels.

This edition of Michigan waxed Penn State by 35 points, and beat Wiscy by 25 points.

This is an excellent, if imperfect, football team that had a season to be proud of, this loss notwithstanding.

11/25/2018 - 1:11am Three ten win seasons out of…

Three ten win seasons out of four is ‘hasn’t built shit’? 

I understand being frustrated by today’s game, but we haven’t had a coach this good in a very long time. Yes, OSU has his number. He needs to improve on that and adapt his playcalling, Maybe get a great O.C.

I’ll bet he addresses it with changes in the offseason. Harbaugh’s shown that he will move his assistant coaches along to correct problems. Right now, the offensive game plans aren’t flexible enough to effectively gameplan OSU.

But let’s not talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water.

11/24/2018 - 5:28pm It was an execrable shitshow…

It was an execrable shitshow. What else can one say?

11/24/2018 - 5:28pm It was an execrable shitshow…

Sorry, accidentally hit the Save button twice. Please delete.

11/24/2018 - 10:04am After the last couple of…

After the last couple of decades, the realization finally dawned that my T-shirts, underwear, socks and hats have no mojo.

I have therefore absolved them of responsibility for all of the bad results of the past couple of decades. The Team will win because The Team must win!

Michigan, 42-21.

11/24/2018 - 9:46am Epic, gentlemen. Epic.

Epic, gentlemen. Epic.

11/21/2018 - 6:29pm Thanks, it’s interesting…

Thanks, it’s interesting stuff. I was thinking the game would result in us scoring in the range of 35 to 40 points just having eyeballed a few OSU defensive performances. No one’s put up more than ND’s 24 points on us (if I’m recalling this correctly). I figure it’s unlikely OSU will do much better than ND. OSU’s performance against MSU’s defense is probably similar to how they’ll do against us, only our pass defense is a strength, so that might be generous.

Obviously you have more information than I do, but my guess was we win by double digits.

11/21/2018 - 1:48pm Nice analysis, and much…

Nice analysis, and much appreciated! Here’s what I’d like to find out: The numbers don’t lie as to what’s happened in past games, but exactly how predictive are they for future games? I wonder if there’s an analysis showing the margin of error? As someone put it on FiveThirtyEight, if there’s a 14% chance the plane you’re planning to take will crash, how likely are you to board the flight?

Seems also that I’ve not yet seen stats re: how teams react to turnover opportunities, as opposed to things like total number of INTs or fumble recoveries. Is there a study of which teams turn opportunities like that into so-called lucky breaks? I’m thinking that a “capitalizing on opportunities ratio” might be fun to know. It might be an explanation of why certain teams sometimes pull wins out of a hat when they shouldn’t really have much of a chance based on other stats.

Michigan has not played as well away from home as they have at home; ND, MSU, Rutgers and Northwestern are examples. How’s Michigan’s statistical record away from home versus the statistical record at home, and by that I mean, more than scoring. How about performance in adverse weather conditions, as we saw at MSU and against Indiana, vs good weather?

I have no experience with statistical analysis, and am not equipped to do the hard stuff it entails. I just wonder how much info’s really available.

 

11/20/2018 - 11:22am Aren’t we called “the…

Aren’t we called “the University of Michigan?”

11/20/2018 - 12:17am There is no 10 when it comes…

There is no 10 when it comes to The Game. I go to 11.

I’ve arranged for an anesthesiologist to be on hand to sedate me in case of a loss, He may also need to sedate me if we win.

My brother who went to MSU says he’ll burn his couch in my honor either way. I’m a little worried, since it’s in his living room.

11/18/2018 - 9:43pm Everyone around me in the…

Everyone around me in the stands was enraged when Winovich went down after that cheap crap shot. And I’m not talking kids, I’m talking blue-hair longtime season ticket holders who graduated UM in the 60s. Everyone was on their feet for every play. Folks were PISSED.

11/18/2018 - 2:51pm Both teams will be jacked up…

Both teams will be jacked up. There won’t be a letdown. Both teams will “want it”, and both will show up. OSU will certainly be energized by playing at home, and Michigan will be energized to prove they’re a great team.

I think our defense will be the difference-maker, ultimately, because the old saw that defense wins championships is a proven thing.

And their defense is less scary than it’s been in a very long time. 

I also think we missed JBB in the red zone and on other running plays. I hope he and Winovich can play next week.

11/18/2018 - 11:42am Excellent points. I’d guess…

Excellent points. I’d guess there’s an organizational difference between being the head of a program and being a coordinator. Maybe Carr saw that he was suited for one, and not the other?

In any case, I had two thoughts sitting in the stands: Indiana looked like they had an effective offensive game plan; and what were they thinking when they gave the TV people the power to dictate playing essentially a night game in mid-November? I was really cold once it got dark.

11/18/2018 - 1:03am This was another typical…

This was another typical chaos Indiana game, only worse because of the cheap shots, defensive issues, and not least because it was so frickin’ cold and ugly in the stadium!

I have a question about Mike DeBord. Lots of disdainful references here might lead readers to conclude that he’s a lesser light. If I recall correctly, though, he was offensive coordinator at Michigan for the ‘97 championship team, and some other good Michigan teams. I thought he called a pretty good game for Indiana today, one that came close to being successful against a more talented team. His team ran some good plays, he used his quarterback well, etc. They put a lot of yards up. From where I sat in the stadium, they looked surprisingly well-coached.

So I kinda don’t get references to stuff like ‘the Debordening’ that seems to imply he’s thick-headed. Indiana’s problem this year seems to be more on the defensive side.

I’m no football expert. Why all the disrespect?

 

11/17/2018 - 10:55am Best ever. Thanks guys!

Best ever. Thanks guys!

11/14/2018 - 1:28pm Harbaugh’s building a…

Harbaugh’s building a Program. There’s no simple formula for that; it clearly takes time, a bit of trial and error, and patience. I give him credit for weathering the largely unwarranted storm of criticism of the past couple of years. He’s stubborn, and so far this year is mostly proving him right.

Might win the Big Ten, might not. Might make the playoff, might not. But the program is on the right track. That’s the great thing. I’m celebrating what’s happening regardless of final outcome.

11/13/2018 - 6:20pm Glad you mentioned Ron…

Glad you mentioned Ron Johnson. His greatest year at Michigan was coincidentally my freshman year at Michigan, and he was an amazing player who was fun to watch, so I have great memories of the guy.

And yeah, he was The Man on campus. Oh, and yeah, I’m old.

I think he went in the first round of the NFL draft when he finished his career at Michigan.

11/13/2018 - 12:48pm Not to give too much credit…

Not to give too much credit here, but that was a very well-executed play by Rutgers, and it had some very good defensive players who’ve proven themselves all year fooled completely.

You can’t blame one guy here. The D was faked out of the play at all levels.

A successful play only takes a moment’s hesitation by the D when you have a fast back.

11/11/2018 - 3:17pm Maybe JH was referring to…

Maybe JH was referring to their offensive staff’s Cory Robinson? I think he coaches QBs/receivers.

Then again it was politically a good idea to give Rutgers a little love, and to tell the committee that the game wasn’t as easy as it looked.

11/10/2018 - 9:35pm Does their stadium have…

Does their stadium have awful lighting, or am I imagining that?

Give Rutgers credit. They scored a touchdown. Pretty clearly, our guys weren’t up for this game.

11/10/2018 - 11:29am The Rutgers Problem solves…

The Rutgers Problem solves itself. During the course of this century, New Jersey and its 130 miles of Atlantic Coast will be subsumed under the Atlantic Ocean. Unless people evolve into fish-mutants very rapidly, therefore, there will be no Rutgers because there will be no New Jersey. So there’s nothing to worry about.

Now, whether College Park, Maryland is far enough inland to survive the Great Warming Flood is an open question, but I’m saying there’s a chance.

Great Lakes levels are more difficult to predict, of course, but for now scientists are telling us they are unlikely to put Ann Arbor, Madison, and Minneapolis under water.

I know what you’re all thinking: will the Scioto and Red Cedar rivers overflow and inundate Columbus and East Lansing? Highly doubtful, and I don’t think we need worry over the Huron, either, but if it were to happen (heaven forfend), Michigan sports the best Hydraulic Engineering program in the world, so our school’s continued existence is assured.

I hope this little discussion allows everyone to enjoy the remaining Michigan-Rutgers football games, if not for the quality of the competition, then for their fleeting historical significance. 

Go Blue!

11/09/2018 - 5:32pm In some alternate universe…

In some alternate universe this is a close game. I mean, you’re the Rutgers coach. What the hell do you tell your guys? 

”Coach?”

”Yes, Sitkowski...”

“Look at this, my foot just totally fell off!”

”Your shoe is off, numbskull, your foot is in your pant leg.”

”Oh. Uhm...look, my hand fell off!”

”Sitkowski, you’re trying to get out of playing tomorrow, aren’t you?”

”Well...coach, look... how about you play quarterback tomorrow and get crushed by Winovich, Gary, Uche, and those other guys?”

”Well, I, uh, can’t do that Sitkowski. I’m playing linebacker tomorrow. Because several of our guys actually did shoot their feet to avoid playing.”

11/09/2018 - 11:26am Compared to the last three…

Compared to the last three games, I’m having a hard time getting excited about watching this game, except watching the younger players work could be interesting.

I sure hope the team doesn’t share my lackadaisical attitude.

11/08/2018 - 5:36pm I kinda still want this to…

I kinda still want this to happen.

11/07/2018 - 12:12pm Anyone who thinks that…

Anyone who thinks that conversation makes any difference at all to the outcome in either game is a little bit crazy. 

You’ve got two quarterbacks who are friends comparing notes about a mutual opponent neither of them like. No big deal.  I kinda think OSU wins that game pretty easily based on MSU’s many offensive and defensive issues.

11/04/2018 - 2:24pm I’m trying to decide which…

I’m trying to decide which is more wonderfully delusional; this MSU dude’s suggestion, or the idea that Sparty could beat even this less-steady version of OSU if they felt like it.

11/04/2018 - 9:15am Ah, the sweetness of PSU…

Ah, the sweetness of PSU revenge, and the deliciousness of OSU fans’ defeatism.

This is the best Michigan team we’ve seen in many years, and that makes me really happy.