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Comment 08 Jul 2014

Chief - I think there's a big difference between accepting mediocrity vs. acknowledging it.  The numbers are what they are - Michigan has been largely mediocre for a decade, outside of the 2006 and 2011 seasons.  If I or any other Michigan fan were to try disputing that, we would be accused of being delusional.  But just because we acknowledge there's a problem doesn't mean we've accepted mediocrity as the ultimate end game.  

I think the team underachieved last year and should have been better.  While the OL had some issues in part because of RR's recruiting and there were some overall youth issues in part because of the significant attrition that occurred in the 2010 recruiting class (the guys who would have been 4th year seniors last year), that doesn't explain a 7-6 season.  That explains maybe why the team should have won say....9 games instead of 11, for example.  There were clearly a lot of other issues plaguing last year's team beyond the residual RR effect, and I (and many other UM fans) make no excuses for them.

I will say that your use of hyperbole is fantastic though, most notably the U.Chicago irrelevance quip.  Because while UM football has clearly been in the crapper recently, it's nothing compared to what the basketball program put itself through from 1999-2007.  And if the basketball program could find its way back to national relevance after that tire fire, then I'm pretty sure that with the resources at its disposal the football program eventually will as well.  But it's pretty clear that this will take far longer than any UM fans ever envisioned when things first started going downhill.  

Comment 08 Jul 2014

After what went down last year, I have no read on this team whatsoever.  To me, these guys are one of those high variance teams with a very low floor and a very high ceiling.  I could see them going 6-6 or 11-1 and would be equally unsurprised by either.  The most logical outcome is that they go 9-3 with road lossses at MSU and OSU, but I'm not predicting that because I honestly have no clue of what to expect.  

Specific records aside, I think that based on the level of talent this team has and the motivation coming off of last year's debacle, underachievement means losing to both MSU and OSU again.  To achieve based on the level of their talent, Michigan needs to win one of those games this year.  Winning both and taking the division title would be an overachievement in my book.

My uneducated guess is that they will underachieve again and things will get worse, but keep in mind that I am still extremely scarred by the last half of the 2013 season.  The thing about college sports is that things can change in a hurry from season to season if the talent is there and has some experience.  Look at the sequence of UK basketball 2012-2013-2014, or Notre Dame's surprising run to the NC game in 2012, or the turnaround season that Auburn had last year after being complete dogshit the prior two seasons.  

As a Michigan fan, I'm simply going to watch them this year and see how things play out.  I can't control what happens anyway, and over analyzing every last quote and practice report in July isn't going to mean anything come November.  If they have a good season, then I'll absolutely enjoy it.  And if they suck again, then I'll start feverishly following all the news about who the next HC might be.  

Comment 19 Jun 2014

Disclaimer:  this is coming from a Michigan fan, so this will read like a bizarro confession compared to the other posts on this thread.

1.  I used to truly believe that Michigan football and athletics held its players and coaches to a higher ethical and moral standard than other rival programs such as MSU and OSU.  My belief was eroding for some time and then everything that happened with the UM football team over the last 18-24 months completely killed it (e.g. Lewan assault charge, Gibbons issue, Stonum drinking/driving issues, Touissant DUI, etc)

2.  Whenever I look at the fanbases of OSU and UM now, I feel like I'm experiencing a complete role reversal from what I saw most of my life.  OSU's fanbase is now the more arrogant of the 2 and focuses on much more than just the Rivalry and Conference Championship.  Michigan's fanbase is now the more "woe is me" fanbase obssessed more than anything with simply beating its main rival, other games be damned.  I'd much rather be part of the arrogant fanbase than the "woe is me" fanbase.  I already root for the Lions, so one of those teams is enough for me.

3.  I am seriously wondering whether the UM football program is cursed.  What started out as a small rut (last couple years of Carr) turned into a larger but explainable blip (the RichRod era) and has now turned into a fully fledged lost decade.  I have no idea how and when Michigan will get back to being a regularly strong football program and am quickly losing confidence in the current leadership.

4.  Even though I follow it regularly, I think everyone on all sides stresses out way too much about recruiting.  Every time a recruit pledges to OSU, MSU, UM, ND, etc the homer recruiting analysts and fan bases act like every one of these players are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and on-field dominance for the next decade is assured.  The reality is that most of these guys will be lucky to be average players at best, and that on-field coaching and teaching is far more important than winniing a given recruiting battle for an 18 year old.

5.  I have actively stayed away from this site for most of the last 4 months because there's not much I can say lately to defend the state of UM's football program.  And there's only so much negative stuff I can read about UM/positive stuff about OSU before I just become apathetic and don't want to deal with it.  In a related story, my work productivity has increased dramatically during this time.

6.  I think I've lost confidence in Hoke and crew but am willing to give them one more shot in 2014 before saying for certain.  That said, I think that my biggest fear around firing Hoke and his staff is the fact that I don't trust Dave Brandon to find a better candidate.  I've seen how much the program can get set back when a new coaching regime comes in, so I only want to start over again if there's clearly a better candidate out there who would be willing to coach the team.

7.  "This is Michigan" is the equivalent in stupidiity to the whole "O-H......" thing.  I hate both quotes/chants with a passion.

8.  I don't know who I want to beat more this year - MSU or OSU, but I'm certain that if UM doesn't win at least one of those games the fanbase will lose its mind.

9.  I think the 2013 UM offensive line was the worst offensive line I've ever seen at the NCAA or NFL level.  By the way, I've been watching football  like a crack addict for over 30 years.

10.  I still can't understand how when UM hired a spread offense guru as head coach (RichRod), the offense couldn't score points against the good teams in the conference but when OSU did the same thing a couple years later (Meyer), they had no problem putting points up on almost everyone in the conference right away (defense is another story, of course).

11.  This post is way too long.

Comment 13 May 2014

I think the recruiting momentum slowed down because of last year's shitty 2nd half of the season, along with the fact that the 2015 class for Michigan will be very small (projection is a total class size of only 15-17).   I think the negative vibes are more about Michigan's on-field performance and subsequent concerns that this coaching staff may not make it another 4 years rather than anything about Hoke's specific coaching abilities.

I wasn't too concerned about the coaching quality until last year.  Felt like the coaching staff as a whole really underachieved and made me seriously question if they'll be able to make Michigan anything more than a 9-win team at best going forward.  I thought they were pretty good in 2011 and 2012, especially on the defensive side of the ball and special teams compared to 2008-2010. Last year it seemed like things spiraled out of control and there was no coherent game plan on offense or defense in the latter stages of the season.



Comment 13 May 2014

As a UM fan, I can't really argue with anything that Ace said, other than the fact that I wasn't a huge fan of the 2010 offense (it crapped out against the really good teams on the schedule).  I don't know that I've accepted mediocrity so much as I simply acknowledge the fact that it's clearly present in the UM football program and has been for the better part of the last decade.  I don't have high expectations for 2014 primarily because of the disaster I witnessed last year, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it or have any good excuses for it.  If I had to make an argument for why Michigan might improve significantly in 2014 vs. 2013, I'd hang my hat on 3 things:

1.  A generally more experienced team throughout the roster than last year with less reliance on true freshmen

2.  A roster that has good talent overall.  The recruitniks on here can argue about exactly how overrated past Michigan recruiting classes were, but I think it's fair to say that on paper there's more than enough talent on the roster to field a much better team than last year's 7-6 tire fire group.  That was some serious underachievement in my opinion.

3.  An improved defense that can hopefully help offset the inevitable rough patches the offense will hit as the O-Line tries to turn into something better than "complete dogshit".  The secondary, in particular, has the potential to be much improved this year (more so because of Jordan Lewis and Channing Stribling than Peppers).

Do I think these things will happen?  Probably not, but I also didn't think that Auburn would be anywhere near the NC game last year and I didn't think that MSU would go 12-1 after a middling 7-6 season the year prior.  At this point, I'm just going to sit back and see what happens rather than constantly obsess over it in the offseason.  If they suck again, then I'll know it's probably time for a new head coach.




Comment 18 Apr 2014
I'm just going to put it out there that bragging about Spring Game attendance is right up there with celebrating a September Heisman. Have fun with that.
Comment 17 Apr 2014

Ooooohhh, sick burn Urban!  In all seriousness I liked the coloring book joke better.  Was funnier, more original and added a little heat to the Rivalry.  Meyer's comments at the luncheon were pretty tame.

Comment 17 Apr 2014

I'm pretty sure that Hoke's near-term future hinges much more on the performance of his 2014 offensive line than on the Gibbons thing.  The only thing he's guilty of on Gibbons is being misleading with the public as to why he didn't accompany the team to its shitty bowl game.  That won't get him fired.  Overseeing a team with an offensive line that leads the nation in negative plays/tackles for loss again will probably get him fired.

Comment 19 Mar 2014

I agree that Michigan won't make it back to the title game as this region is loaded.  My prediction is either Sweet 16 or Elite 8 and I'll be happy with either outcome.  Michigan outperformed how I thought they'd do this year after McGary went down.  Remember that at one point in December they were 6-4 and simply making the NCAA tournament as any seed was very much in question.  One thing I do believe is that Beilein's style works better in the NCAA tournament format than in the Big 10 season.  The NCAA tournament refs don't favor the physical teams as much as the Big 10 refs, Beilein's offensive sets are difficult to defend against if you don't regularly face Michigan and have to scout them on short notice (see Florida in last year's Elite 8 round) and while the 1-3-1 zone they sometimes use is a crutch to help mask their significant defensive liabilities, it's another thing teams have to prepare for in an already compressed schedule.

Of course, now that I've said all this Michigan will make me look like an idiot by losing in the first round.



Comment 16 Mar 2014
Your post literally reads like dozens of MGoBlog posts I read after the OSU-UM football game last November. You can rationalize it all you want or tell us to fuck off all you want, but it still doesn't change anything. These teams have played a number of close basketball games over the last 4 years. As a Michigan fan, I was not the least bit surprised that this one went down to the wire, nor do I feel like there was any moral defeat inherent in the fact that the game was so close after blowing a couple big leads. These teams are generally close enough in talent and coaching now that there should be no expectation of a blowout, and there should be no assumption that a big lead is safe. Examples of the latter include yesterday's game and the 2013 and 2014 tilts in Columbus. I get that you're pissed about your team losing to a rival but there's no need to play the sour grapes card of how stupid UM was for "letting" OSU back into the game. OSU got back into the game because they're a good team that usually doesn't quit when things go bad early. I fully expected them to fight back regardless of what Michigan was doing. What you saw yesterday was the typical outcome that occurs when two good basketball teams play each other on a neutral court - nothing more, nothing less.
Comment 15 Mar 2014
On the talent side, I think you're confusing basketball recruiting with football recruiting. Michigan historically has had good high school talent, especially in Detroit and Flint. UM has struggled in the last 10-15 years to recruit the top players in state, but prior to their sanctions in the late 90's/early 00's, UM made a living recruiting the top players from Detroit. After Michigan's program went in the crapper, a lot of those guys started going either to MSU or out of state.
Comment 15 Mar 2014
But you guys made the Final 4 the year before in 2012 while UM lost in the 1st round to friggin Ohio. I think you're focusing too much on the last couple games and not enough on the bigger 4 year view.
Comment 15 Mar 2014
In the last 4 years, the two teams have played 9 tines with OSU winning 5 and UM winning 4. Each team has won at least a share of 2 regular season titles and been to a Final 4. There's been a couple momentum swings for each side within this period but overall it's been pretty even. And most of the games have been very close as well. What we're seeing is the very definition of parity.
Comment 15 Mar 2014

Congrats on a hard fought game folks.  I always thought UM would bring parity back to The Rivalry in football before they did in basketball, but I'll take what I can get.  Whenever I watch these two play, I think how ridiculous either team would be if OSU added Stauskas or if UM added Craft.  That's what each roster is missing and what's keeping both from being legit Top 5 teams.

Comment 14 Mar 2014

Looking forward to the game tomorrow.  It sucked that we only were able to play you guys once during the regular season this year so glad to see there will be a sequel in 2014.  Should be an interesting matchup as always.  OSU can't shoot and Michigan can't play D.  The moveable force meets the resistable object!


Comment 10 Mar 2014

Something tells me if there was real money on the line that some of those predictions would look a little different.  I think most of the predictions further below look more realistic by comparison.

Comment 10 Mar 2014

Fido - you'd better throw in a score prediction for the championship game because you and I have the exact same picks for every game in the tournament.  Either we both share a similar level of brilliance or we simply have no faith in MSU or OSU making a run this year.  I'm in the latter camp, especially with respect to MSU.  They're a disaster at the moment, and I still can't figure out why.  One of the 2 biggest disappointments in college basketball this year (Kentucky being the other).

Comment 10 Mar 2014

8 Indiana vs #9 Illinois - Illinois

#5 Ohio State vs #12 Purdue - Ohio State

#7 Minnesota vs #10 Penn State - Minnesota

#6 Iowa vs #11 Northwestern - Iowa


#1 Michigan vs #9 Illinois - Michigan

#4 Nebraska vs #5 Ohio State - Ohio State

#2 Wisconsin vs #7 Minnesota - Wisconsin

#3 Michigan State vs #6 Iowa - Iowa


#1 Michigan vs #5 Ohio State - Michigan

#6 Iowa vs #2 Wisconsin - Wisconsin


#1 Michigan vs #2 Wisconsin - Wisconsin (final score:  Wisc 68 - Mich 61)

Comment 26 Feb 2014

Can I ask a stupid question here?  There is nothing on the record regarding Lewan's alleged statement, yet you are readily accepting it as fact.  Maybe he said it, maybe he didn't.  But you wouldn't know that any more than MMan would, so why are you breaking his balls over this point?  I'll be the first to admit that if he legitimately did say it then yes, he's a complete douchebag.  But since it's still in question exactly what (if anything) was said by Lewan, why would you continually chastise someone for not automatically agreeing with your point?

Comment 26 Feb 2014

It's a valid question and I'm kind of curious about the ultimate answers to this myself.

One Michigan fan's guess who is not nearly as intellectually invested in this matter as MMan:  The one thing you need to understand culturally about the University of Michigan and its Administration is that they are always working to convey an image that they're the "good guys" who always comply with rules and laws.  This influences their behavior to a point where they come across at times as being complete idiots, most notably in the way that they handled the response to the Detroit Free Press's "Practice-Gate" accusations against RichRod and the subsequent NCAA investigation in 2009/2010.

My guess is that in this instance, even though Gibbons was cleared from a law enforcement perspective, because the issue kept lingering, because a new complaint was filed and because more media sources were picking up the story, the University said "F it, we're not taking any chances - we're going to show that we at least did something here, even if it was 4 years after the fact."  That's one of the reasons I don't think this is a coverup.  I honestly don't believe that anybody was hiding anything, I just think that the Administration officials got antsy about the issue and got rid of Gibbons as a CYA which has only served to make them look stupid.  The would have been better off not doing anything from a PR perspective, because doing something so many years after the original incident took place only raises questions and eyebrows.