Threat Level Has the Week Off, So Good Luck, We're All Counting On Michigan For Content

By Johnny Ginter on October 18, 2021 at 7:25 pm
And Harbaugh's getting larrrrrgggeeerrr!

The Threat Level started in 2017.

I know! I was surprised too, but I looked up the very first iteration of this here internet blog and it's true; Threat Level: Michigan was christened with a nod to a sitcom that had only been off the air for a mere four years (and, uh, like... 12 years since the original joke in said sitcom) by the time I decided that referential humor never, ever gets stale.

Anyway, the year before, in 2016, the Wolverines had begun their season a pretty incredibly impressive 9-0. This included a yes-I-checked-this-five-times-to-be-sure 78-0 win against Rutgers and a 59-3 victory against Maryland, but unless you're one of the handful of Michigan fans who hate read this thing every week to satisfy the customary persecution complex that goes along with life in the Big Ten, you can't even tell me who Michigan's starting quarterback was that year. Because all most people remember about that season was The Spot Being Good as the Wolverines lost three out of their last four games.

bwooop bwep

After all of that, I was curious about how the Wolverines might rebound in 2017; Harbaugh was still an ostensibly competent coach and hell, they took a pretty good Ohio State team down to the wire the previous season. My piqued interest via Threat Level was rewarded with a 4-0 Michigan start, which saw them ranked No. 7 heading into a rivalry game against Michigan State. They promptly lost, and went on to also lose every other game of consequence en route to an 8-5 record.

Here's my point, which I'm directly addressing to anyone mad at Internet Man Johnny Ginter for not giving Michigan their due: as has been the case since I started blindly mashing my hands on a keyboard to fill this space in 2017, the Wolverines ain't played nobody.

Washington is bad. Wisconsin could be charitably described as "middling," but that's just a fancy word for bad. Nebraska, even at home, and even at night, is bad. Northern Illinois and Western Michigan might not actually be bad in context, but who cares? Also Rutgers is bad.

Is Michigan good? Maybe! But the truth is that we simply don't know yet, and I'm not going to let the benefit of the doubt get in the way of me making a bunch of specious jokes about Cade McNamara's weenie arm or whatever.


The Wolverines are somewhere around 19 point favorites against Northwestern, which seems roughly fair. The Wildcats are 3-3 but those wins have come against Ohio, Rutgers, and eleven Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs in mesh pinnies. Michigan doesn't "have" to look good against Northwestern; they could win all of their games by a point and that'd still add up to a championship. But Michigan's ability to cover here might be instructive.

One area that I will give Michigan a ton of credit for is something that I haven't talked about enough, which is their turnover margin. Michigan leads the country by having only surrendered two turnovers so far this year, while recovering eight going the other way. They've generally been pretty good at holding on to the ball under Harbaugh, and this year that might make the difference as October turns to November.

Also Sparty signs with bad words are resurfacing on social media. The horror!

AIRPLANE! (1980)

Airplane! is easily a top five comedy of all time, which isn't breaking any news but I think I've finally figured out why it works as well as it does. The best movies have a certain lore that the script carries, either overtly (a la Lord of the Rings) or as subtext via detailed worldbuilding and characters with a ton of depth. Or, as was the case with Airplane!, you can just buy the rights to an airplane disaster movie from the 50's called Zero Hour! and rewrite its script, beat for beat. Every member of the cast gives a great comedic performance in Airplane! (even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reading off cue cards is still funny as hell), but the reason why it's so damn good is that all of those story beats and character moments were right there, waiting to be twisted by ZAZ into something totally nuts.


We'll stick with ELEVATED, because with Michigan and Ohio State both having an off week, I'm not exactly motivated to scroll the extra three times in my image folder to find the HIGH .gif. Plus, all that other stuff I said.

Oh, and it was Wilton Speight who was Michigan's starting quarterback in 2016.

Northwestern is on deck!

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