I have no jokes, no spin, no “at least” this week. After losing to Notre Dame, I talked about an expectations adjustment. In no recalibration exercise, did I think this year would end in a game where the Wolverines lost by three scores and gave up more than 60 points.
I’m speechless. All of my inner anxieties came to fruition. Ohio State annihilated Michigan in every possible way. This is rock bottom.
First off, we should get this out of the way before someone cherry picks this as excuse making: Ohio State is STILL much more talented than Michigan. Today, and for the last four years, they were better coached and more prepared for their biggest rival. Ohio State was, and is, and will be until further notice, BETTER. Now let’s complain, k.
I’m not sure how many Michigan players played well Saturday. One could argue Moody, but that feels like insult being added to injury.
The offensive line missed numerous early blocks that allowed Ohio State to get confident and make key stops while the game was still close. Down eight in the second half, the Michigan offense threw up all over itself.
Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton’s unimaginative game plan was paired with uninspired and sloppy play from Michigan’s entire offense. Sean McKeon and Nick Eubanks missed blocks while Zach Gentry dropped all the balls.
Grant Perry botched an early third down, though the rest of the receivers mostly put in a good effort. Nico Collins is a stud, and I hope Kliff Kingsbury* (oh yeah, we’ll get to this) utilizes him better next year than Pep Hamilton did. Same goes for Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Here’s the Nico Collins touchdown catch.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) November 24, 2018
What a grab by the Michigan wide receiver. pic.twitter.com/bh4GkqmqQw
Karan Higdon was fine before the score took him out of the game. There were a few early runs where if Higdon is able to win his 1v1 matchup (and gain an extra 20+ yards), maybe momentum swings differently. However, he was fine. Whatever.
Shea was not sharp, though his numbers look immensely better if Gentry hauls in anything that hits his hands. He threw a terrible interception on a pass that I thought he’d thrown away until the Ohio State DB caught it like a pooched punt. The line did him no favors; neither did Hamilton’s insistence on putting the team in 3rd and long all day long.
Defensively, I don’t know how you can describe things as anything but catastrophic.
They let up the second most points in program history against their biggest rival. Add on serious looking injuries to David Long and Devin Bush; now you’re in “beyond imagine” territory of troublesome. Rashan Gary got dinged up, and Aubrey Solomon didn’t play.
Don Brown, when hit with Ohio State’s early success against press-man, decided to utilize zone defenses instead of dialing up pressure. It didn’t work. I don’t know how to even properly evaluate because it was so out of character. The best defense in the country statistically got a 60-burger dropped on its head. How do you make sense of that?
There were no bright spots. Coaching was 10 plays behind and the players executed at an even worse level. John McKay would’ve had some choice words.... allegedly... apparently this is up for debate.
Seriously, besides Jim McElwain’s group, did anyone else even prepare for today? Nine months later, I can’t believe I’m saying that.
**I AM WRITING THIS WHILE STILL ‘RECOVERING’ FROM THE GAME. TAKE IT ALL WITH A GRAIN OF SALT**
I don’t care if Michigan plays in a NY6 game. Does the Citrus Bowl count? I’d like to make a fairly cheap trip to Orlando and watch my two alma maters play (Florida). Hopefully Michigan doesn’t play UGA. That would probably stink a lot.
Personally, I don’t see OSU jumping both Oklahoma, and UCF after those two made impressive - if not nearly as so - statements on rivalry weekend. UCF is a strong possibility after Milton’s injury, but Oklahoma went on the road and beat a Heisman contender. I think the Buckeyes are in the Rose Bowl and assuming no craziness happens:
- Notre Dame
Yeah, so that leaves UM looking for an at-large bid for the NY6 games. Remember that Orange Bowl against FSU? Me neither.
I mentioned earlier that I want Kliff Kingsbury running this offense next year. Reddit seems confused as to whether he’s gone or not from the sidelines of Texas Tech (UPDATE: SEND THE BRINKS TRUCK!), but I’d do almost anything to see him calling plays for this team. He coached Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy in 2012, and he’d be the perfect guy to get the most out of a senior Shea Patterson and the platoon of highly rated junior receivers.
To say that this “pro-style” system has worn out my patience would be the understatement of all understatements. Michigan had success on the screens and read plays they ran early, but Hamilton/Harbaugh abandoned them for dives and roll-outs.
Which, let’s talk about the stupid friggin roll-out play Hamilton fell in love with in the first half. By my count, he ran it on two third downs and a two-point conversion. Unsurprisingly, Ohio State stuffed all three. There was a drop, but this trio of turrrrrrible left exactly zero flexibility if the first read wasn’t there. The tunnel screen on the second failed conversion was, more or less, equally as obnoxious.
I hate this system. I’m sick of saying “it’ll get better”. It won’t. This is Harbaugh’s offense in 2018. It’s outdated and ineffective. It can’t beat good teams. Nick Saban ditched his cloud of dust for a spread-option and has since converted to a air-heavy system that lets his QB and playmakers exploit the best matchup on any given play. If Jim Harbaugh doesn’t bring a top COLLEGE offensive mind into fix things, It’ll be disappointing.
Anthony Broome put it best here:
The difference between Michigan and Ohio State right now and the difference in the game on Saturday was that the Buckeyes had a quarterback they trusted to go out and rack up yards and make plays. Michigan had a quarterback arguably as talented, but all season long he has felt like a piece of the offense instead of the focal point and they instead continued their obsession with hurling steel chairs against the line of scrimmage and trying to run the ball.
All season long we were waiting for Shea Patterson to be unleashed and it never really happened.
Put another way, Harbaugh treats his quarterback as a reactive feature. If the defense loads up to slow the run, Harbaugh reacts by taking a shot. Ohio State meanwhile uses their quarterback as a proactive weapon. They use Haskins to attack the defense while Harbaugh uses his to react to what the defense gives him.
**CALMER SUNDAY NIGHT THOUGHTS**
This was a successful season despite the ending. With the way UM’s season is set up, you basically are playing the first 11 games in order to enter a 4-week playoff that starts with the Ohio State game. Losing in the first round that way really stinks, but it’s hard to call the year a failure.
The Big Ten was down, but the Revenge Tour was unbelievably exciting and you can’t take those memories away.
It’s going to be a long wait for the Bowl Game and a longer off-season, but this was a step in the right direction after 2017. Michigan is pretty much where Clemson was between 2012-2014. Ohio State is our Florida State.
Around the Country
I don’t even care. It’s Bama and Clemson’s world anyway, so let’s talk about something else.
Papillon remake with Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek (91/100) — This is one of the most well-acted movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s a bit slow and repetitive but if you can get into the story (I very much did), it’s a great film.
22 Miles with Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich (72/100) — It’s a mindless action movie. It does it’s job. There’s a terrorist cell, a black ops team, and a couple corrupt governments that fight over some bombs.
Mission Impossible: Fallout with Tom Cruise and Super Man’s Un-CGI’d Mustache (85/100) — I didn’t really like the first 10-20 minutes of this movie. Truthfully, I was confused about the timeline. The last two acts more than make up for this, and you get the typical insanely silly “boss fight” that Mission Impossible movies are famous for.
Blockers with John Cena, Leslie Mann, and The Guy from Neighbors (88/100) — We watched this as our yearly family movie for Thanksgiving, and I really really loved it. There’s a healthy blend of different comedy styles and a good story that touches on some really good pain points of high school awkwardness. There are a couple scenes that will scar both young and old alike, but this definitely gets my stamp of approval.
Dan’s Picks (30-33-2; 4-1 last week)
Memphis +7 @ UCF
Texas vs Oklahoma -5
Georgia vs Alabama -10
Northwestern vs Ohio State -13
Pitt +23.5 vs Clemson