Before the game, the talk from Michigan fans and radio hosts and blog writers was actually about The Game. How to win it, how not to lose it, and how much a win was needed and wanted.
And how possible that win actually was.
They picked Michigan to beat Ohio State. They believed it was possible. Hell, they believed it was probable.
Or at least they wanted to believe it was probable.
They had hope.
For maybe the last time.
After the game, the talk turned to OSU’s online classes and cheating and how it’s good that Michigan would never resort to such things.
The excuses emerged like unknown cousins following a lottery win, but if those excuses were such powerful factors in the game, why wouldn’t they have been brought up beforehand?
Why is it that no preview of The Game said anything about Michigan not having a chance because some of Justin Fields’ classes don’t take place in a classroom?
As if a classroom is the only setting where learning takes place. Ryan Day hasn’t needed a classroom to teach Michigan fans how to count into the 60s the last two years.
There was nary a mention of tattoos from 2010 in any positional breakdowns. What a gaffe!
You know what is more of a factor than a couple of online classes or some 10-year old tattoos?
Being able to run the ball.
You know what else?
If you can’t do either of those things, then maybe it’s time to get a cottage up on the lake with Northwestern and read poetry together by the light of the fireplace.
But that’s not what Michigan is, even if sometimes they’d like you to think that. Let’s not forget that they are paying their coaching staff around $13 million a year, and they’re not doing it to make sure kids are reading Leaves of Grass.
Michigan fans don’t want to root for a football factory?
That’s a load of crap.
They’d give up Kurt Vonnegut’s left testicle to be in the College Football Playoff hunt every year.
All Michigan fans want is to be able to talk about football superiority. That’s what they talk about from January to September. I see it, I hear it, I interact with it. They want to root for a great program.
Resorting to spurious barbs about academics or cheating after yet another loss is the only lashing out that can be done as a fan base brushes off the dust and grass stains, checking for bruises, broken bones, and open wounds.
This is a Michigan fan base that probably doesn’t want to resort to excuses, but has had no choice for the last two decades.
They want to root for the program that so many promised them they had this year.
The one that was favored to win the Big Ten and go to the playoffs despite the fact that there was no defensive line depth, no running game, and multiple starters who would never see a starting lineup at Ohio State.
But they had a quarterback and… the law of averages?
Here’s a tip for you — the only thing the law of averages has ever won is a coin toss.
Ohio State may have beaten Michigan 56-27 on Saturday, but this game was won long ago.
It was won when Urban Meyer went into Texas and signed JK Dobbins, Jeff Okudah, and Baron Browning in the 2017 recruiting class.
It was won when the Buckeyes signed defensive lineman after defensive lineman for the last five years.
It was won when Ohio State discovered 3-star receiver Chris Olave out in California. So far under the radar that the blips weren’t even present.
It was won when Ryan Day turned Justin Fields from an elite recruit who was a gimmick player as a true freshman at Georgia into a Heisman candidate and a likely Big Ten record setter in his first year as a starter.
It was won when Michigan failed to recruit enough talent to build usable depth. And then failed to develop it as well.
It was won when only six of Michigan’s 30 signees in the 2017 class became starters.
It was won every day. Every workout. Every meeting.
If Ohio State ever loses this game again, they damn sure won’t be looking at anybody other than themselves for allowing it to happen.
I’m not going to destroy Jim Harbaugh for going 0-5 against Urban Meyer and Urban Meyer Jr. Most coaches would.
I mean, Jeff Brohm wouldn’t. Kirk Ferentz wouldn’t. James Franklin wouldn’t. Mark Dantonio wouldn’t. But just imagine the amount of cheating those guys must have been doing to have had any success against Urban Meyer.
I see people writing and talking about the death of the rivalry, but it’s not dying, it’s just not the two-way street Don Brown said it was.
It could get there again, but it’s up to Jim Harbaugh to make it happen.
And it will take much more than he’s given to this point.
But then why should he bother?
Michigan fans don’t want a football factory, remember?
As if one Tom Brady is enough and two Charles Woodsons is too many.
Did Wisconsin have online classes this year? Was Penn State cheating?
Both teams handed a loss to Jim Harbaugh this year, and it wasn’t the first time.
They must be doing something shady.
Or maybe they simply have better programs.
Just like Ohio State.
So great a point, Gerd, that the “academic superiority as a football limitation – that Ohio State doesn’t have” thing only comes out after a butt-kicking at the hands of the Buckeyes. It’s despicable nonsense.
For sure, every Ohio State football player down through history has been a flunky moron who couldn’t spell “cat” if you spotted them the c and the a. Have they checked out Jordan Fuller? I think Chase Young and JK Dobbins are well-spoken and obviously very intelligent young men, along with a host of others. Craig Krenzel was obviouisly a fraud in his molecular genetics major. Greg Bellisari, and hundreds of other all-B1G academic team honorees over the last decades. And you look at media football alumni. Joshua Perry is clearly dumb as a box of rocks. Herbie is incoherent. James L is stupid. Cardale didn’t come to play school – except he eventually did play school and graduated. The evidence that this supposition is false is right there, but these fools reflexively bring it out after every loss.
Thanks for punching back.
Looks like it’s time to change “Hail to the Victors” to “We’re ok with losing”.
Recruiting Recruiting Recruiting, 2016-2019 OSU 39 top 100 recruits ttun 13.
It’s always been about recruiting. Harbaugh isn’t a likable guy, hence parents do not like him. Also it has been said Don Brown doesn’t recruit off campus, in his contract. Harbaughs son is on his staff, get it?
OSU now holds the best winning % of all of college football history. One less thing ttun fans can point to.
I disagree, harbaugh is most certainly Bo. What did Bo win outside of BIG 10 championships? Nothing, just like Harbaugh, except for the BIG championships. At least Bo went 5-5 versus Woody.
Did you have a ghostwriter this week? Valid points.
Didn’t scUM have all their football players majoring in Kinesiology?
Very few outside athletes were in this major. They restricted it primarily to athletes..
If I’m serious about fixing a problem, I usually go about it like this.
1. Acknowledge that something is wrong.
2. Stop blaming others for the failure.
3. Identify the things that are wrong and break them down into things I can work on and things outside of my control.
4. Focus on the things in my control to improve and stop worrying over or blaming the things outside my control.
5. Reevaluate as I improve. When I fix the things within my power to improve, my power and influence grows and some of the things that were outside my control become within my power to change.
6. Keep at it until you succeed.
Michigan’s fans, its program and its coach are all at somewhere between steps 1 and 2. There’s either nothing wrong or the failure is someone else’s fault. If you dare to ask where the gaps and deficiencies are between you and the benchmark, well that’s not critical thinking, it’s just plain mean and insulting.
So by all means, Michigan, continue to revel in your past glories and blame others for the present. Meanwhile, the gap widens between you and premier college football.
P.S. Wearing Bo Schembechler’s sunglasses does not make you Bo Schembechler.
They remind me of a lot of smart, rich kids I went to grade school with. They would always throw tantrums when they didn’t get an A on a report that they so deserved. It was always the teachers fault because either the teacher didn’t like them or the teacher was wrong. On one occasion, I remember a spoiled brat told the teacher that other kids were cheating to get their grades. Mom or Dad would usually come to their defense and agree with the kid. I guess that type never grows up. They end up going through life blaming others for their failures.
living up in *ichigan i deal with this arrogant fanbase on a daily basis..I will be fair and say that about 1.5% can have an intelligent conversation and the rest talk trash, are pompous and arrogant and make excuses up the you know what, etc etc….that is the most pompous, idiotic and liberal (same thing) school, town and fanbase in the world bar none….they make ND fans seem humble…
Yes, this fan base, it’s coaches, and it’s players are a joke- which is why I will NEVER stoop to “cheering” for them.
Really good read and so true.
Since I have been getting booted from my fellow Michigan fan sites for saying this today, might as well post here too.
Excuses are lame and this year I’m tired of hearing about recruitment being THE issue. As a Michigan fan, we have multiple issues…time to accept this fact. I heard so much of the “too academically proud” to succeed in football nonsense last year, it’s terrible that it has been brought up again this year. If you really care about Michigan football, spend 5 minutes and watch the Fox segment from last Friday with Urban and co. explaining how serious OSU takes this game. I have never experienced this in the 30 plus years following Michigan. We are a 9 win team and that’s our average. Accept it or not. Instead of spending time looking for non football reasons why we are dominated yearly by our major “rival” how about we look at ways to actually improve the program?? I know I will get bashed for this…so have fun! But remember me as we continue to be average year in and year out. But at least we are “academically proud.”
Ban away Mr. Gerdeman
Pure brilliance. I am a Michigan fan and this was EPIC. Congratulations on summing it up the way those of us who refuse to be Harbaugh apologists would.
The self-righteousness of many of their fan base is nearly beyond belief. The only reason they lose is that they don’t back a Brinks truck up to the home of every potential star and have the bag man give them cash to sign like every successful program does. And, they only sign cream of the crop academics unlike tOSU. Not an easy job, but I’d love to see how many of our players they also offered given that our standards are so much less than theirs. Of course, there are many players Urban signed that would not have even given Hairball the time of day given his track record, so the overlap is probably less than it would otherwise be. And for all their sanctimony about academic standards, I give you Rashan Gary, one of the few players who actually developed as a player in their program who also purportedly scored an unbelievably low 9/50 on the NFL Wonderlic test. Makes you wonder how he found his way around campus up there let alone pass the rigorous in-person classes they offer.
It is fun to see TTUN fans resigned to their fate too in that they see no way they could replace Hairball with anyone else who would give them a better chance at success so there is no sense even entertaining the question of if he should go. When tOSU hit a similar crossroad, they didn’t try to hire the biggest name coach in D1. Rather, they brought in a little known coach named Tressel and had a national championship over the “unbeatable” Miami Hurricanes and Larry Coker, who “didn’t even know how to give a losing speech in the locker room” prior to meeting the Buckeyes. And this was just two years after being hired, not five and counting with nothing to show except five losses to the Buckeyes and one runner-up finish in the B10 East like Hairball.
Here’s to the continuance of that self-resignation on the part of TTUN. May they keep that staff that can’t recruit adequately enough and almost never develops the talent that they do sign for as long as possible. I for one will continue to enjoy the poundings we give them every year.
Great article, Tony!
I’ll just add one thing. This game was also won when Garrett Wilson Jameson Williams and Harry Miller came on board.
This was still one of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time. Kudos! GO BUCKS!!
Very good perspective. Not too critical. Fair and honest. Well done Gerd.
Once OSU went up 42-16, the media’s love affair with MI ended. After listening to a number of ‘CFB Experts,’ before ‘The Game’ one was led to believe that MI was 11-0 and OSU was the outsider. This is not your father’s or grandfather’s maize and blue team. Gone are the days of dominant lines, a power running game and Heisman hopefuls playing in premiere bowls. For MI this was suppose to be the circle the wagons and redefine the program the program type game, instead we got Harbough’s excuses and denials after OSU scored a record 56 points with a constant attack with a deafening nearly 300 yards on the ground. Watching Urban in the post game interview, I was shocked to see so many MI fans shouting while holding up one finger, the number one sign. Denial is a painful reality. Good luck in your bowl game no matter how inconsequential!
Let’s not get cocky. Remember what happen under Cooper. It is coaching.
Just a fantastic piece of writing and telling the honest truth! What these idiots
( Wolvorines ) don,t get, is WE ( OSU ) want more of a challenge. It is obvious we still take it very serious! ( Question is DO THEY and if not WHY )
GREAT ARTICLE TONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ut oh……now we have 2 rivals. Varmintville, and now Rutgers………….since Schiano is again the head man for the Scarlet Knights.
Those arrogant pricks can’t handle the truth. I was at all those games back in the 90’s. It sucked. Payback’s a bitch.
agree introspection is a useful place to start… daily.
By the way, TTUN does offer on-line degrees. It even has a website for them – online.umich.edu. The online courses are limited to Masters Degrees. Apparently TTUN’s undergrads are not smart enough to learn this way.
Very well said, Tony!
I especially liked your points about Wisconsin and Penn State must also be cheating too.
When Cooper was on his losing streak, I suggested TSUN should be playing Coop’s salary. Maybe we should do the same for Harbaugh.
As others have said it is a great time to be a Buckeye. After the game, my 50 year old son thanked me for going to OSU and thus paving the way for he, his brother and sister also going to OSU. My wife and son-in-law are also Buckeyes so we had quite a loud afternoon here in Cary NC. Our grandson is a sophomore at UNC so we will be in Chapel Hill Wednesday and then off to Indy on Friday.Go Bucks!
Bravo. Great article, Mr. Gerdeman.
It’s no accident what the Buckeyes have done since Tressel started it: focus and damn hard work.
The clearest signs dominance will continue are TTUN’s persistent excuses, explanations and petulance.
Competency always goes unrecognized by the incompetent.
Well said Mr. Gerdeman well said.
The annual lack of credible introspection by Wolverine program-members as well as fans has needed addressing for a long time. Much respect for the writing style in this piece. I like it a lot, Tony!
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