Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hoops Critical 4-Game Stretch - The Aftermath

It’s Hoops Time!

Now that the Bad Thing has Happened (Again), it’s time to focus on Hoops.  Michigan has a critical 4-game stretch (starting tonight!) that will mean a lot come committee time and if Michigan can negotiate it successfully, it might even be the difference between a 2-3-4 Seed line come the NCAA’s.

So Let’s call this the “Mini-Revenge Tour”.  Michigan suffered losses to UNC last season and to South Carolina in 2016-17 season in a pre-season tourney.  Michigan gets BOTH OF THOSE TEAMS at HOME!  Should be some great basketball.  I won’t even discuss Purdue and Northwestern, but they’re in there, also and each team was responsible for one of Michigan’s 8 losses last season. 

4 Games – 4 Shots at Redemption!  And to remain perfect on the season!!!

Want to know something sad??

2016 B1G Championship Teams: 

Wiscy and PSU.  Both were defeated by Michigan.

2018’s B1G Championship Teams

Northwestern and The osu – Michigan defeated Northwestern.

In the last 3 seasons, Michigan is 3-3 against B1G Championship teams in those seasons. 

When you win the games is important. 

OSU vs. Maryland Highlights

OSU vs. Nebraska Highlights

OSU vs. Purdue Highlights

So why did I put highlights of all the games where the osu appeared to suck?

Because there’s a pattern.  And to prove I was right. 

Everyone that gave the osu fits this season did two things:  They BOMBED the football – A LOT.  And they ran sweeps to the outside, sealing the ends and negating the osu linebacker play.  I’m starting to wonder if the Michigan coaching staff even watched these games.  I would have had Patterson throwing early and figuring out how to get DPJ the ball on some jet sweeps.  Even Patterson running more RPO’s would have been more effective. 

Michigan got caught up in it’s own perceived ability to run inside and based that off of what had been atrocious outings against teams that Michigan literally steam-rolled. 

But it’s Michigan vs. the osu.  The gloves have to come off.  You have to empty the play-book.
Best Thing Seen On Twitter: 
“Harbaugh is becoming the Michigan version of John Cooper”

I don’t say that with humor.  It actually makes me a little ill…

The Mailbag 

A lot of you had feedback, understandably so.  So, without further ado and because this is a community blog:

SO, not one mention of how the three weaknesses that I harped at you about all season were the keys to our demise.  It is not my point that my insight was especially profound, it IS my point that my observations ran counter to many of the statistics (and were met with mostly contempt from you) and "in-depth" "expert" analysis and yet my observations proved to be more accurate.  Here are some memory aids:

1.  The slime stopped themselves far more often than we stopped them.

2.  2 of our 3 TD drives against the slime were only enabled by super lucky tipped completions.

3.  How r we going to stop the suckeyes if we can't even stop IU?

4.  Shea is inaccurate and slow to make decisions.

5.  WE CAN'T BEAT A GOOD TEAM IF WE CAN'T PLAY A DECENT FIRST QUARTER!!!  THIS really deserves more attention, as this has been a rather consistent problem since Jimmy arrived.


Lot’s of anger here.

I get that.  Yep.  You have every right to be angry.  And at this point, based on no small part as to how the team simply didn’t look ready to go, I have to say that Michigan’s Coaching Staff needs to take a long hard look at themselves and how they game-plan. 
I’ll address your issues in reverse order:

5.  The 1st quarter thing is definitely a thing.  Looking at this season’s box scores, Michigan is slow to get out of the gate, ESPECIALLY later in the season.  Michigan checked in at number 84 in the country in 1st Quarter scoring.  The jump up to 9 in 2nd quarter scoring, drop down to 31 in 3rd quarter scoring and finish the game ranked 12th in 4th quarter scoring.  In contrast, that school to the south of us does a lot better in this area in all quarters of the game.  In addition, you could also argue that Michigan SUCKS in the 3rd quarter in what used to be Michigan’s quarter.

Harbaugh needs to figure out that sometimes it’s okay to jump on somebody early and then just hold them down.  Last year, Michigan couldn’t finish a game to  save their ass.  This season, they needed a jump start in the 1st quarter of the 2nd half of the season because everyone CAN PREDICT what Michigan is going to run as they’ve see it all for 6 games.   (Links to scoring for all 4 quarters. )

4.  I think the only reason Shea is inaccurate and slow is that he’s not given nearly enough chances.  Taking Saturday out of the equation, Michigan ran the ball on 65% of its plays this season.  Michigan should have a more balanced attack and I think Shea would get more comfortable.  Shea still finishes with one of the highest QB ratings since Chad Henne, so, I’m not going to say he’s awful and what’s wrong can’t be fixed.  Again, it’s a SYSTEMIC problem with the offense and Harbaugh.  He needs to figure that out (Harbaugh). 

3.  IU is a pretty good team.  I watched part of the Ole Oaken Bucket game and Purdue had their hands full.  IU also gave the osu a pretty good game, also.  Good offenses will find a way.   That’s why your own offense has to be able to step up and win a game once in a while.

2.  Okay?  I’ll take them.  Michigan owned the green slime in East Lansing.  That game was never in doubt. 

1.  That’s what bad teams do…Stop themselves. 

Anyway, I take my cap off to your analysis.  Most of it’s spot on.  The only thing you didn’t hit on was Brown’s stubbornness to admit that at times, a Zone can work effectively against certain attacks. 

When does this End?  Can Harbaugh Adjust?  Meyer proved (again) what a really good offense can do to a #1 Defense.  Saban learned that lesson, too...

Well, I’ve got a couple of ideas.  Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech is available.  How about Michigan bringing him in as a consultant on offense for a season just to see how it would work out?  The osu hired Coach Chaos (Kevin Wilson) when he was released from Indiana and that seems to be working out pretty good.  I think Rich Rod is still working for ESPN and would probably be welcomed with open arms as an offensive minded guru – analyst  - advisor.  Something needs to happen on the offensive side of the ball.  That much is clear.  And Michigan still has to prove itself in the recruiting wars.  Speed was a factor, but it looked really bad Saturday.

OSU has been blocking punts all season.  Did Michigan know that and were they prepared?  That’s when things went bad. 

I wouldn’t say all season, but they did have 3 blocked punts to their credit.  And - Yes.  The blocked punt was a problem and Shea throwing a pick right afterwards really sent things south.  It’s almost as if they were playing to hard.  Michigan wasn’t loose.  They were forcing the game. 

Sorry Russ – I can’t watch anymore!  What a letdown…

That sums it up. 

Links To Misery…

How Nick Saban Saved Bama

Monday, November 26, 2018

Stupid, Stubborn and Sad...

If not now...When?

When I woke on Saturday after a restless night of sleep, I was quietly confident.  I had re-watched several of the embarrassing performances that the osu had over the last several weeks.  I knew that Michigan’s offense, especially the passing game, could expose the osu secondary.  I thought the Defense would be ready for the #2 Offense in the country, but they would be able to contain Haskins and force the osu into mistakes.  

Those were my awakening thoughts…and they were all wrong. 

The Revenge Tour Screeches to an Emarrassing halt.  Burn those shirts and hats.  They are meaningless at this point.  Because, again, Michigan didn’t finish.  In fact, it almost seemed like the teams were wearing each other’s uniforms based on the way they had played all season and the way each team looked on Saturday.

Sometimes, even after a victory, it’s hard to work up the drive, energy and chutzpah to post something about the game on Monday.  And, as you might imagine, it can be even harder after a loss.  I sat around yesterday thinking about what I would type this AM.  I didn’t have a lot of good thoughts.  In fact, it’s becoming a grotesque chore to write about Michigan losing to The osu.  

Each and every season.  

It’s gotten to the point where I wonder if there isn’t a better way to spend my Thanksgiving Saturday.  Just sell the tickets when the Game is at home.  When they’re in Columbus, schedule an outing.  Ignore it.  Forget the Game.  Avoid the pain and embarrassment. 

And make no mistake – this was embarrassing.  Two trips into the red-zone that resulted in figgies was a big early tell that things might not be going the Wolverines way.  Gentry dropping a TD was another bad sign.  Everything from the collapse on defense to Gentry dropping three balls that were routine catches that would have kept the Wolverines close.  I hate to blame individuals, but sometimes, there is no other choice.  I can’t blame the refs (though if I’m an osu fan, I’d still be bitching about some of the calls).  I can’t blame karma as Michigan was handed a gift that they capitalized on right before half-time with the muffed kick-off.  Nope.  Nothing to blame but the players execution and the coach’s game plan.  Both sucked to such a high degree that it makes you think that Michigan might have already been looking ahead to that trip to Indy. 
I do not understand exactly what the Michigan coaching staff was thinking on Saturday or the week prior to the game. Or even the entire season going into this game.  Brown had to KNOW that osu would be running crossing and slant routes.  HAD TO KNOW!!!  Yet, Michigan seemed doomed and almost said, “Well, yeah.  We know you’re going to run some crossing, slant routes and jet sweeps and were just gonna’ let you have those.”  Why?  Why on earth would you have not game planned better for those plays?  In addition, the only way the defense was going to have ANY success was to pressure Haskins.  Don Brown had to know that going into this game, also.  This was the #2 offense in the NATION and you had to play them on their HOME FIELD.  Yet neither of the two biggest Defensive bullet points on the game plan power point slide were addressed on Saturday.  If anything, it almost appeared like Michigan’s D had just given up.  Watson could be a poster child for a sunscreen commercial he got burned so much.
When Bush went out late in the 3rd quarter, I think we all knew.  And to add insult to misery, a blocked punt for 6 was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  It was nauseating to watch at that point.  One team showed up to play. 

Michigan didn’t.

Offensively, I understand that the idea was to play keep away from Haskins.  But when that failed, and it appeared to fail relatively early, when do you execute Plan B?  There has to be a Plan B.  Granted, with Gentry’s drops the lack of confidence in Shea became clear.  He was shorting every pass he threw.  Nico made up for it with some spectacular catches, but once the damn broke after the blocked punt, it was over.  Michigan should have just waved at the opposing sideline and walked into the locker room.  The offense’s game plan was nearly as bad as the Defense.  Nearly. 

62 points to your arch rival giving up 560 yards of offense?  I still can’t believe it.    
Osu just poured gas on the flaming mess that was Michigan after that punt. 

As sickening as it was, in a way, it was kind of fitting.  I think the arrogance, stubbornness and sheer stupidity of the coaching staff was exposed.  In spades.  There was not a facet of the game that Michigan excelled in.  Michigan got beat just about everywhere.  I’ve defended James Harbaugh a lot in this blog as the other arm chair QB’s that text and e-mail me call him out for his conservative nature.  Well, you all were right on Saturday.  Everything that Michigan has failed at in the past was exposed for all to see.  Michigan was not ready and they were playing as poorly as I’ve ever seen the team play.  That has to be on the coaches.
Will Harbaugh treat it as such and re-invent his offense like Satan did?  Will he at least understand the power of a pass attack that can open up the run game?  Will he learn from Urban Legend or stubbornly stay the course and chalk it up to poor execution? 

Time will tell.  This is still a coach that turned a Stanford program around to the success it is today and got a relatively weak 49er’s team to the Super Bowl.  So, I know he knows how to coach.  But there are systemic problems in Ann Arbor.  And someone needs to figure those out.  And soon.      

Other than another loss to osu, where does this leave Michigan?  Michigan loses a boatload of seniors that had the experience, hunger and hatred of losing this game for 3 years running.  That should have been enough.  It really should have been enough.  Instead, Michigan and Harbaugh remain winless against their arch rival.
And this fan is getting to the point where I can’t do it anymore.  I can’t have this feeling of misery in the back of my mind whenever someone brings up College Football.  I would like to be able to go somewhere in the world where it doesn’t matter. 

But it does.  I just want it to stop.  Let me off the ride. 

One smart ass that on social media that was laughing at the Wolverine fans misery posed a question:  “Would it make you feel better if Michigan was 2-10 with wins over the osu and domers?”  That’s not the point. 

And no, that wouldn’t make anyone feel better.  Not in the least. 

It would mean there’s way bigger systemic problems in Ann Arbor, that’s all.  And it would appear that the systemic problems are bigger than anyone thought.   
In miserable conclusion, off Michigan goes to a flea-bag New-Year’s day bowl game with no trip to Indy. 


Links To Misery…

Wojo sums it up:

Baumgardner calls out Harbaugh

Angel Blames Everyone and Everything…

The Rest of the Mess

CUD- Complete Unmitigated Disasters – There Were Several
LSU:  LSU and the Aggies played in a record tying 7 OT game.  The beautiful irony is that with 30 seconds to go in regulation, LSU doused Orgeron with Gatorade and the Aggies made them regret it.  7 OT’s later, Fisher got his “Big W” for the 2018 season.  And LSU fans are wondering the same thing as Michigan fans:  Where to from here?  
WVU:  The Laters proved to be the better team on Friday night, but a complete and utter lack of defense on either side of the ball in this game made it almost unwatchable.  I get that the Big iiX has good offenses, but the defense in this league is atrocious.  As soon as someone learns how to play defense, they’ll dominate.     
WSU:  Much like Michigan, the table was set and the Wazoo’s simply needed to finish.  They couldn’t and they lost to a mediocre Washington team that will play for the Pac 12 title. 
Pitt:  a 7-5 team is playing for the ACC Title.    How Narduzzi loses to a pathetic – PATHETIC Miami team this season is beyond me.  Again, do coaches really look at film and figure out ways to beat teams or do they just figure it’s not necessary and we’ll just do our thing?
Wiscy:  This is a team that everyone thought would finish in the Top 10 or maybe even have a CFP shot.  The badgers were boat-raced by Flecker’s Gophers who qualify for a bowl game.  Speaking of the Gophers…

We Won But…We Should Be Worried

The Gophers:  Tell me Gopher Fans, is this program headed in the right direction?  I get that a W over Wiscy is a big deal, but the up and down nature of this team is aggravating.  Next season is pivotal for the Gophers.  Win the bowl game and start the off-season march.
The Laters:  How do you win a game and feel good about it after giving up 700 yards of offense to the other team?
LNU:  Needed a 4th quarter TD in order to beat it’s biggest rival Rutgers.  It’s not even fun making fun of LNU right now…

The 5 Stages of Slappy Fan Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation Michigan.  The only two teams we lost to are in the CFP top 6!     
  2. ANGER – Michigan.  What else is there at this point??
  3. Bargaining –Michigan.  Two wins away from Perfection.
  4. Depression –Michigan.  14-1 in the last 15 against the osu? 
  5.  Acceptance – Michigan.  It would seem the fate of the Wolverines is to be the osu bitch…

Well, some CHAOS for a change. 
SEC:  Bama – Beat Georgia and they’re in.  And Georgia will be the best team left out of the CFP.
B1G:  The osu.  They will need a little help from Bama in that they need Bama to beat Georgia to insure that a 4th spot is open.  Then the argument over who gets the 4th spot to be fodder for the Bama shredder can begin between the Laters and the osu, assuming each wins it’s title games.  
ACC:  Clemson is the biggest no brainer this season.   
The domers:  IN.  This is a piece of the puzzle that will help Play-Off expansion happen.  And if Georgia manages the upset, look out. 
Big iiX:  IN – Nobody.  The Laters need to destroy Texas in the re-match and prove that they can play defense.  Oklahoma has given up 40 or more points 5 times this season.  They gave up 700 yards of offense to WVU on Friday.  The committee will look at that and the osu and puke and probably play rock-paper-scissors as to who they let in.  If I had to guess, it’s the osu today.    
The Hot Seat
We’ll keep track of who’s gone as the season progresses….

1.     Durkin – Maryland 
2.     Mike Jinks – Bowling Green.  
3.      Beatty – KANSAS.   
4.     Petrino – Louisville.  .
5.     McEntire – Colorado.
6.    Klinsbury Texas Tech.  To me, this doesn’t make sense.  He was your Harbaugh and could at least recruit to Lubbock.  I would have held on and tried new coordinators before letting Kliff go.
7.    Fedora – UNC.  This was pretty obvious from the start of the season. 
8.    Sanford – WKU.  Again, took a successful program and ran it into the ground…

Electric Chair of Death Seat!

Smith – Illinois extended him but he’s gonna be next if he can’t straighten the mess in Champaign out.

The Hot Seat

The Hot Seat Traditionally heats up in November, and this season is no different.  As fans stop showing up and donations from alumni dry up, AD’s all over the country are evaluating their Head Coach and what can be done about him.

  1. Snyder – K State.  The Octogenarian needs to go.  I would point to institutions like PSU and FSU that hold on to old guys way too long.  Probably should have already happened, but the stadium is named after the guy.
  2. Smith – Oregon State.  Yeah, they’ve had a couple close games…but the seat is hot
  3. Interim Canada – Maryland.  I don’t expect Maryland to keep Canada as he’s part of the “culture” that was a problem under Durkin. 
  4. Ash – Rutgers:   Off the ECOD simply because if they haven’t fired him yet, they probably aren’t going to.
  5. Kiffin – FAU  Lane has been out of the news lately because he’s LOSING.  Not saying FAU will pull the trigger, but Lane’s potential days are number if he has another lousy season. 
  6. Ruhle – Baylor.  Again, took over a heaping pile of warm dog-doo-doo after Briles left.  Will probably get another 2 years before job is really threatened.
  7. Malzhan – Losing to Tennessee is a fireable offense in Auburn.  Not being competitive against Georgia and eventually Alabama will become an issue as well
  8. Helton – USC.  Swan is sticking with his man for another season after he went 5-7. 


1.     Les Miles – KANSAS. 
2.    Brown, Mack – UNC.  Brown is almost 70 years old and should be thinking about laying on a beach sipping mai-tais vs. going back to UNC as a re-tread.  Strange hire indeed.