It's beginning to look a lot like... there's always next year?!?
Michigan's Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl dreamed went away with a defeat last week, 17-13 against Nebraska. It wasn't as ugly as some of the other games this season, but it sure wasn't pretty.
Via ESPN Stats & Info: Michigan gained zero or negative yards on 21 of its 36 rushes. Lost 49.2 expected points on rushing plays.— ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) November 10, 2013
Michigan's minus-26.3 expected points on rushes and sacks vs Neb. was the lowest figure by any FBS team all season (via ESPN Stats & Info).— ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) November 10, 2013
The focus has now shifted to getting the team back on track and shifting priorities. Brady Hoke, to his credit, has made it a point to point the finger at himself first and foremost.
"It starts with me." - Coach Hoke— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 11, 2013
Coach Hoke, in response to the "the natives are becoming restless" -- "And they should be, this is Michigan."— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 11, 2013
Hoke has shifted the goals of the team from conference championship dreams to a new goal.
Hoke, on team motivation moving forward: "We have a chance to win 10 football games -- has always been a little bit of a benchmark."— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 11, 2013
One of the biggest problems, if not the biggest problems, for Michigan football in 2013 has been the offensive line. The interior line issues are well documented and it's a problem that doesn't look to be solved in-season. There's no magic solution to make this problem better.
"Everyone is going to point to the offensive line, but it's all of us." - Hoke— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 11, 2013
It's unfair to just blame the offensive line for all of the problems on offense. RB Fitz hasn't been able to block anyone and it keeps causing QB Devin Gardner to get sacked.
I remember a day in Michigan football history that when running backs could not pass protect, they did not play. Oh the good old days— Terry Foster (@TerryFoster971) November 10, 2013
The offensive line will have to go back to basics and spend an off-season working on their technique and focusing on the fundamentals.
Speaking of technique and fundamentals...
Arnold Schwarzenegger taking ballerina lessons pic.twitter.com/8y3G3Mglyv— Cool Old School (@CoolOldSchool) November 13, 2013
The calls for OC Al Borges to be fired have been heard from far and wide. It's gotten so bad that it's causing a Michigan fan to blame his drinking problems on the awful Michigan offense.
The offense conversation should begin and end with Al Borges. Whether or not all the blame should rest solely on his shoulder's is up for debate. Listen to Borges himself and decide what you think.
WATCH - Earlier today, Coach Borges met with the media: http://t.co/LhlQDuRosU— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 12, 2013
There are still things to look forward to these days, like Kate Upton in serious talks to join an iconic film.
MICHIGAN VS NORTHWESTERN 3:30 P.M. EST. TV - BTN
Michigan vs. Northwestern (Sat., Nov. 16) will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET on @BigTenNetwork.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 4, 2013
Michigan need to try to salvage what is left of the 2013 season. 10 wins might still be a stretch but winning 8 games and going to a respectful bowl is still possible. As we saw during the RichRod era, just making a bowl game pays off because of the extra practice time given to the team in December.
The Wolverines will continue their tough month of November with a trip to visit Northwestern this weekend. As much as Michigan has had a disappointing season, the same can be said for the Wildcats.
Northwestern was undefeated and flying high not too long ago. It seems like yesterday that 'College Gameday' was on campus for a visit as the highly ranked Wildcats were facing off against the undefeated team from Ohio.
Fast forward after a few injuries and a Hail Mary loss to Nebraska, and Pat Fitzgerald's boys are reeling. Northwestern and Michigan fans could get together and talk about what could've been for the 2013 season. Now they are both fighting to not make a bowl game visit to the WhateverSponsorIsNew game.
Mattison says, defensively, he feels like Michigan is 2 plays away from being 8-1. Northwestern in the same boat in many ways— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) November 12, 2013
This is about as close to a must-win for Michigan at this point. They can't suffer their fourth loss in five games and still have to go back on the road against next week. It's one game at a time and time to focus on beating Northwestern.
How bad have things gotten at Michigan? They're a 3-pt underdog this week at 0-5 (in B1G) Northwestern.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 10, 2013
Northwestern running back Venric Mark will not play this weekend due to injury. He's still expected to rush for more yards than Michigan.— Scott Bell (@sbell021) November 11, 2013
Don't be too surprised to see something different when the Wildcats hit the field on Saturday afternoon. Northwestern won't be wearing their usual the typical purple and white.
WEEK 12 SEE-IT-TO-BELIEVE-IT
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15
WASHINGTON @ #13 UCLA 9:00 P.M. EST. TV - ESPN2
UCLA is still hanging around, hoping to make it into a BCS bowl game. It may not be likely but as long as it's possible, the Bruins will keep fighting on.
The Bruins had one of their teammates pass away this season and have used it as motivation for the 2013 season.
This is a nice game to sit back and watch on a Friday night. That or watch it as it plays in the background at your favorite bar and you keep waiting for that attractive waiter or waitress to stop by.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16
INDIANA @ #22 WISCONSIN 12:00 P.M. EST. TV - ESPN2
Wisconsin fans should still be upset that some awful officiating caused them to lose a game against Arizona State early in the season. The Badgers could be looking at a potential 11-1 season instead of trying to win out and finish with 10 games in regular season play.
Wisconsin is a good team and it's time they rise up in the rankings.
#16 MICHIGAN STATE @ NEBRASKA 3:30 P.M. EST. TV - ABC
This is one of the biggest games of the weekend because of the implications at stake.
The Spartans can lock up an appearance in the Big Ten Championship game with a victory. A loss and Michigan State will no longer be able to control it's own destiny. A chance to go to Indy to face Ohio State and potentially go to the Rose Bowl are all in the hands of Mark Dantonio's boys.
Nebraska just upset the Wolverines and will look to pull off another upset. On paper, Michigan State should not only win this game but they should dominate it.
Time to go big or go home.
Michigan State is the only FBS team to hold every opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards this season. Allowing 1.6 yds per rush. #MSUvsNEB— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 13, 2013
This could honestly be a game that isn't that close.
As long as we are talking about things not being close...
#12 OKLAHOMA STATE @ #24 TEXAS 3:30 P.M. EST. TV - FOX
Mack Brown may have saved his job with the turnaround season of the '13 Longhorns.
Texas is now undefeated in the Big 12 and back to being ranked in the top 25. Another win here and look for Texas to fly up the rankings charts.
#25 GEORGIA @ #7 AUBURN 3:30 P.M. EST. TV - CBS
Auburn is a team that just keeps winning and no one wants to take them seriously. It may be time to think again about the Tigers.
Georgia is back to being ranked in the top 25, for the time being. Injuries have ravaged the Bulldogs and a visit to Auburn is no cupcake.
If Auburn can keep racking up the W's until it's season finale against Alabama, it may crash the BCS Championship picture.
#4 STANFORD @ USC 8:00 P.M. EST. TV - ABC
'College Gameday' will be on campus for this, now, intriguing game.
'@CollegeGameDay has been to 5 straight games decided by 21+ pts. 1995 was the only other time it's been to 5 straight games decided by 21+.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2013
Speaking of 'Gameday,' does anyone miss Erin Andrews? She's off on Fox Sports now.
The Trojans are undoubtedly playing better since Lane Kiffin was kicked to the curb. They will host the stronger 1-loss team in the country, Stanford, in a tough game. Stanford just destroyed the Oregon Ducks and is in the driver's seat if Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State or Baylor suffer a loss.
USC may have found their permanent head coach in Ed Orgeron.
USC’s QBs have posted a 63.1 opponent-adjusted QBR with Ed Orgeron. Trojans posted a 35.8 opponent-adjusted QBR in 5 games with Lane Kiffin.— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 13, 2013
Alexi Lalas' Movember stache is amazing. pic.twitter.com/TbL8U2kYaB— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) November 13, 2013