Gardner predicts win over OSU

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Last updated: 06/26/2013 2:59 AM
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Football
Michigan Quarterback Predicts Win Over Ohio State, As He Should
By Tony Gerdeman

When Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner appeared on the "Huge Show" on WBBL 107.3 this week, he was asked by host Bill Simonson if Michigan was a championship-caliber team that would be able to beat Ohio State when they met at the end of the season.

Devin Gardner (12) is welcomed to Ohio Stadium by Zach Boren.
Photo by Dan Harker
Devin Gardner

Instead of the typical and boring, "I would like to think so" answer, the generally unreserved Gardner was as matter-of-fact as most would expect him to be.

"We always have room for improvement, but this is definitely a championship-caliber football team that will win in the Big House against Ohio State," he said.

Michigan will definitely win in the Big House against Ohio State? How dare you! You've just sealed your own fate, kid.

But not really.

Predicting a win over your rival is always a tricky proposition, but when somebody directly asks a quarterback if they are going to win a game, what are they supposed to say?

Of course, the preference would be to provide a non-answer answer, like, "We're putting in the work to make all of that a reality." But in lieu of that, you better want your quarterback to be confident enough to predict a victory.

Any quarterback that answers a question like that with "Boy, I don't know", probably shouldn't be in an area of leadership, and certainly shouldn't be a quarterback.

I'd much rather my quarterback be confident and wrong than unsure and be proven 100% correct about his lack of confidence.

"I told you guys I wasn't sure we could beat this team, and they sure showed us how right I was!"

Any quarterback that isn't sure of his ability to lead a team to victory is a quarterback that won't be leading his team to many victories.

I'm actually okay with my quarterback predicting a win every week. In fact, he damn well better predict a win every week or else I want a new quarterback. Granted, I'd rather him not make those predictions to the media. Live and learn, I guess.

And I guarantee you that a coach would rather his quarterback predict a victory as opposed to a loss. A quarterback who predicts a loss will lose his job before he ever gets a chance to lose a game.

There is, however, the resulting aftermath following the guarantee of a win over your fiercest of rivals. It will be blown up, printed, framed and muralized by Urban Meyer, and the players will get to see it every day. No, they don't need any further reminders that Michigan is on the schedule, but one more won't hurt.

After all, let's not forget that Meyer created derogatory quotes and attached Kirk Herbstreit's name to them in order to motivate his 2006 Florida team prior to the BCS National Championship Game against the Buckeyes, so using an actual quote will be even easier.

There is no need for Meyer to fabricate anything here, and now Gardner will have to put in the work to bring his guarantee home. But it's not like he wasn't going to work for that outcome anyway.

He didn't just suddenly become interested in beating Ohio State and playing for a championship upon being asked the question at hand.

"Is this a championship-caliber team and are you going to beat Ohio State?"

"Ooh, that would be awesome. I hadn't thought of that. Yes, we are a championship-caliber team that will beat Ohio State."

That's not how things work, especially not when it comes to The Game.

However, while I absolutely believe a quarterback should show confidence, Devin Gardner is still just a guy who has thrown more than two passes in a total of nine games in his career.

His play last season was every last bit of promising, but he still has a lot to prove as a quarterback, and he has now added one more thing.

If he leads this Wolverine team to victory, then he will be a hero. If he doesn't, then I wouldn't expect anything to change. Nor should it.

A loss shouldn't shroud a leader in doubt, it should immerse them in a desire to get better.

Regardless of how the matchup in the Big House turns out for Gardner and Michigan, I would expect him to be just as confident next year in Ohio Stadium.

He might not be so open with his answer, but the belief will still be there.

Though would you be that surprised if he made another guarantee immediately following this year's game?

I wouldn't.

Though I may have a much different reaction to the next guarantee depending on how this first one goes.

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