Here's a little inside ball for fans of Eleven Warriors: about a week before the season started, I did an internal poll among 11W writers to see if I should change the name of this weekly post from "Threat Level: Michigan" (a dumb reference to a tv show that went off the air six years ago) to "Harbaugh's Hot Seat."
I had this whole thing planned out; instead of a War On Terror-era Threat Level meter, I'd post a cartoon lawnchair in various states of inflammation. Lose to a really good team? Sucks, but it happens. A few flames licking around the bottom of the chair legs. Sparty takes you down? Full-on flambe. Lose to the Buckeyes again? Half a chair sitting in a pile of its own ash. Etcetera.
Anyway my idea was voted down. "Michigan might actually be good this season."
Michigan is not good this season.
This is actually the third time I'm writing about the Wolverines this weekend, but the first time I've tried to summarize exactly how dumb and bad Jim Harbaugh's team looked against the Badgers in their 35-14 loss.
Which, if you didn't watch it, might seem like a lot of sound and fury signifying pent up angst, but not necessarily a terrible defeat. Au contraire!
Wisconsin went 75 yards in 12 plays on their first drive of the game for a touchdown. 11 of those plays were runs, mostly right in the teeth of a Michigan defense that isn't supposed to be a wet fart in a paper bag, but in fact has been exactly that. Jonathan Taylor eventually had over 200 yards rushing, and that's including a crampcation that kept him out of the game for about a quarter of play.
One Wisconsin drive, their first, took almost seven minutes off the clock. Michigan had to respond.
And they did! Shea Patterson hooked up with Ronnie Bell for a 68 yard bomb that was pure rock fury. Had Bell scored, the game might not have been quite as lopsided (Michigan definitely would've still lost). Bell did not score, and instead tight end Ben Mason fumbled the ball away to the Badgers two plays later.
Oh, and the one thing Michigan does do relentlessly is turn the ball over. Nine times in three games. Four in this game alone. So after all that the Wolverines didn't even come close to putting points on the board until there were just a few minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Thusly: fumble punt punt interception punt end of half punt touchdown punt touchdown fumble interception. Shea and Dylan and a rotation of semi-injured running backs couldn't get anything going, especially in the face of a Wisconsin team designed to wring the life out of you, Tresselconda-style. Wisconsin put 35 on the board, but really any game against Michigan is a race to 25 at this point.
Remember that first drive I mentioned?
The game was over after that. Jonathan Taylor looked into the soul of Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines and found it lacking. The rest of the game was just a perfunctory ass-kicking based on the absolute lack of intestinal fortitude present in Ann Arbor.
Jim Harbaugh's team has no coherent offensive philosophy, he can't find a quarterback, his defense is in disarray, and he has no answers for anyone after this defeat.
His salary for 2019 is five hundred and ninety-six trillion dollars.
The Threat Level is LOW.