The last two weeks have been extremely sobering for the Michigan Wolverines after a blowout win over Minnesota to start the season. What we have seen since is a loss to Michigan State as a three-touchdown favorite and a loss to Indiana that snapped a 24-game losing streak in the series.
What it feels like we are seeing right now is a bottoming out of the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan. The argument against that is a young team with inexperience all over the roster, the fact of the matter is that this simply should not be the case in the sixth year of this regime with the resources that are in place. But that has been written and spoken about plenty here in the last few weeks.
If the last two weeks felt like the worst under Harbaugh, one of the the efforts was unquestionably so, while the other is right up there. Your eyeballs may have already told you that, but there’s a metric for it.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) might very well have a stat for this in its game score measurement, which is defined by “how well the team controlled the game along with the final result, accounting for site and opponent strength.” This is measured on a 0 to 100 scale.
The loss to Michigan State was graded as a 16 by the game score metric, while the Indiana game came out to a 39. The MSU loss is by far the worst since Harbaugh arrived at Michigan with the next closest being the Spartans’ win over the Wolverines in 2017, which earned grade of 35.
For reference, here are the ten lowest game scores of the Harbaugh era:
2020: Michigan State (27-24 L) — 16
2017: Michigan State (14-10 L) — 35
2020: Indiana (38-21 L) — 39
2019: Wisconsin (35-14 L) — 40
2018: Florida (41-15 L) — 41
2015: Ohio State (42-13 L) — 43
2019: Army (14-10 W) — 44
2015: Utah — (24-17 L) 48
2018: Notre Dame (24-17 L) — 49
2018: Ohio State (62-39 L) — 49
Does this do much to alter what we pretty much already knew? Not really, but it does put into perspective just how terrible these last few weeks have gone. The MSU performance from week two is the worst since Michigan’s losses to Toledo in 2008 (game score of 9) and Appalachian State in 2007 (game score of 15).
So now that we’ve looked to the past for bleak numbers, how about the outlook for the rest of the year? More bleakness on the way, unfortunately.
FPI projects Michigan finishing with a record of 3.7-5.3 this season. Not that FPI does not take into consideration what Wisconsin might not have on the field on Saturday night.
Oct. 24 at Minnesota — 49-24 W
Oct. 31 vs. Michigan State — 27-24 L
Nov. 7 at Indiana — 38-21 L
Nov. 14 vs. Wisconsin — 12.7 percent chance to win
Nov. 21 at Rutgers — 69.7 percent
Nov. 28 vs. Penn State — 45.7 percent
Dec. 5 vs. Maryland — 82.7 percent
Dec. 12 at Ohio State — 7.6 percent
So yeah, things are not great at the moment. While none of the numbers here can be taken as the gospel truth, it adds another layer of bummer to what already has been an emotionally draining football season.