For the second straight year, the Michigan Wolverines lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes in blowout fashion by a score of 56-27. For the Buckeyes, they continue their domination in a rivalry game that is only a rivalry by tradition, not competition. For the Wolverines, it is another December of disappointment that muddies the entire season’s memory.
What could the team have done differently? Is it head coach Jim Harbaugh? Is it the execution from the players? Is it the defense? Does a higher power not exist and are we simply doomed to live in an endless hell of misery and suffering?
The Wolverines made changes last year by implementing a new offense, faster defense, and yet, the song remains the same.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane once said, “You have to face reality some time. But there’s no sense in facing it until somebody forces you to.”
With two consecutive blowout losses, Ohio State is forcing Michigan to face reality like it is 2014 again.
The prodigal son Jim Harbaugh has proven himself to be willing to make changes, but unable to take this team over the top. Worst of all, the Wolverines have performed increasingly worse over the last three seasons against the Buckeyes.
From 2017-19, Michigan is losing on average by 21 points against the Buckeyes. For comparison, Rich Rodriguez was fired after only three seasons and his 25-point average loss (including the vacated 2010 season) to the Buckeyes was a major reason.
The difference here is that Harbaugh has never won less than eight games and Rodriguez never won more than seven. The overall success of the program has bought Harbaugh time, but after five years, that time is running thin.
Since 2011, Purdue has more victories over the Buckeyes than Michigan does and the two teams have only met four times.
In order to win a conference championship, the road leads through Ohio State. In order to win a national championship, the road leads through Ohio State. Or are those no longer the expectations at Michigan?
Michigan must overcome this mental obstacle if they ever wish to compete at the national or conference level again.
I have no answers, nor solutions, and I offer no excuses for a Michigan program that has been outscored 118-66 over the last two years in ‘The Game.’
For now, Michigan remains stuck in a Drake lyric, “Somewhere between I want it and I got it.”
The last two teams have talked the talked, but failed to even imitate a walk. Winning against the Buckeyes would be ideal, but after what has transpired over the last two seasons, simply competing would be inspiring.
Sure, that is a defeatist’s attitude, but only winning three times to Ohio State in the 21st century would make a defeatist of William Wallace.
Nine win seasons are great, but courtesy of those we hate the most, it is not enough. On Saturday, we learned that Jim Harbaugh must take a hard, honest look in the mirror, and make drastic changes, otherwise another coach will.
Until then, the Buckeyes will remain the victors valiant.