Alabama 35, Michigan 16

Alabama 35, Michigan 16


January 1, 2020

Well, that last 30 minutes was ugly. Michigan was up 16-14 at halftime. That included some field goals in the red zone instead of touchdowns, and allowing some big plays to Alabama’s offense. But altogether, a 16-14 halftime lead is better than most of us were expecting. But then Michigan gave up 21 unanswered points, failing to muster much of anything on defense. It was a demoralizing second half.

Hit the jump for more.

Shea Patterson wasn’t good. He finished 16/37 for 233 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. There was a stretch where the announcers were praising him for going 6/9 for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. But the stretches on either side of that span were not compelling. Michigan started off the game targeting the Nico Collins vs. backup corner Josh Jobe matchup, resulting in two incompletions; one was a jump ball that Michigan fans beg for that Collins failed to bring in, and the other was an overthrow after Collins failed to get a great release.

The receivers weren’t good, either. Blame always falls on the quarterback (and coaches), but this is the second game in a row where Michigan’s receivers didn’t live up to their end of the bargain, either. The second half of the Ohio State game was abysmal, and this whole game was subpar. Ronnie Bell (4 catches, 53 yards) had multiple drops, and Nico Collins (4 catches, 48 yards) had defensive backs glued to him for the majority of the game. Michigan 5-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones had 1 catch for 34 yards. Senior tight end Sean McKeon had 0 catches.

Alabama is very good. There’s been a little bit of talk that we’re seeing the demise of Alabama football, but everyone they have on defense is big and fast. When their backups came in, they didn’t miss a beat. Backup corner Josh Jobe is 6’1″, 189 lbs. and can run. Those guys don’t grow on trees. Except in Tuscaloosa. Michigan was no match for Alabama’s receivers. Jerry Jeudy caught 6 passes for 204 yards and 1 touchdown. That touchdown came on the first offensive play, an 85-yarder from Mac Jones. They got him singled up against freshman safety Daxton Hill, much like Penn State hit a post to K.J. Hamler against Josh Metellus. Many people are probably asking why that was the matchup, but it didn’t really matter. Michigan’s defensive backs need to match up against someone on Alabama’s offense, and all of Alabama’s wideouts are 4.4 guys or better (Henry Ruggs III, who left with an injury, reportedly runs a 4.25). Both the offensive tackles are potential 1st rounders, and Michigan’s defensive ends did virtually nothing.

Aidan Hutchinson is pretty good. The defensive player of the game for Michigan was Hutchinson, in my opinion. He showed great effort and finished with 5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 quarterback hurry. (He was also called for a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty.)

I didn’t understand the running back deployment. Freshman Zach Charbonnet was averaging almost 10 yards/carry at one point and finished the game with 13 carries for 84 yards (6.5 yards/carry). But the staff went mostly with Hassan Haskins, who ran 18 times for 61 yards (3.4 yards/carry). I’ve mentioned before that I think Charbonnet must be on a bit of a “pitch count” due to health reasons. I don’t think he’s in the doghouse. But that distribution doesn’t make any sense to me. Charbonnet looked great. Haskins looked average.

Lavert Hill was playing not to get hurt, and Josh Metellus was lazy. Honestly, that’s the type of effort that I was afraid Michigan would get in this game. Some guys bound for the next level sort of mentally check out for bowl games. Both Hill and Metellus weren’t 100% committed to giving great effort, and it resulted in some ugly plays. We saw that from Florida a few years ago. Some people say Michigan checked out for the Florida State game a couple seasons ago. I saw a lot of great efforts – Aidan Hutchinson, Zach Charbonnet, Ronnie Bell, Jordan Glasgow, Hassan Haskins – but Hill and Metellus aren’t those guys.

Alabama was winning the field position game. It doesn’t really show up in the box score, but Alabama was doing a great job pinning Michigan deep and making the Wolverines go a long way to score. It seemed like every time Michigan got a stop, they would get the ball at their own 1- or 10-yard line. Michigan didn’t force any turnovers or get any punt returns (Peoples-Jones had 1 for -2 yards).

We expected a blowout. We got a blowout. The first half got our hopes up. That’s the main problem. Some fans started to believe that Michigan could win. If Alabama started off with the 85-yard touchdown and kept blowing out Michigan, there would have been a little bit of an “oh well” feeling. But when you’re dominating Alabama up front and winning at the half, you don’t expect to lose by 19 points.

Next year is Michigan’s year…

72 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 63
    Joined: 9/18/2016
    Chowman
    Jan 01, 2020 at 7:10 PM

    If I had not watched the game, but seeing the score, it’s about what I expected. That being said, after watching the game, two thoughts flashed thru my mind. One, FGs get you beat. As soon as we settled for the 2nd FG, I knew that was going to be our undoing. Two, I knew going into half time, Bama was going to adjust and we would not. That’s the difference between an Alabama and a Michigan. Saban has a real staff, guys that know how to make changes on the fly. And Harbaugh and his staff are posers. Given enough time, they can put a game plan together, but as soon as the opposition adjusts, Michigan is done! Side bar, is anyone else glad that this will be Shea Patterson’s last game in the Winged Helmet. For all the ballyhoo about a 5 star QB transferring from Ole Miss, I’m left more than wanting. From his happy feet, poor decision skills, and lack of ball security I’m ready to move on to next man up, whether that be McCaffrey or Milton!

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 01, 2020 at 8:13 PM

      The adjustment thing is kind of the opposite of what most people think. Don Brown’s known for getting beaten early and then shutting teams down. We’ve seen that happen over and over again. I kind of agree with you when it comes to offense, but defense is a different story.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 63
        Joined: 9/18/2016
        Chowman
        Jan 02, 2020 at 8:37 AM

        I was referring to the offense. we got shut out in the 2nd half. We moved the ball pretty well in the 1st half, but you knew Bama would adjust at the half, and we didn’t have anything to counter. My brother and I got into a bit of a disagreement watching the game. He was putting the blame on the defense, and all in all, I didn’t think they played all that bad considering they probably have 3 NFL bound WRs. Thomas and Hill were no match for those Bama wideouts. The offense can’t post goose eggs in the 2nd half and they did.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1331
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jan 01, 2020 at 9:41 PM

      I could put up with those things from Patterson if he were an accurate thrower, but he’s not. He misses so many passes that need to be completed to win big games.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1331
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Jan 01, 2020 at 7:15 PM

    Everyone who says or implies that stars don’t matter in recruiting should have to watch this game from start to finish. We have plenty of good players, enough to give us top 10-15 classes, sometimes higher. Alabama has better players, and over the course of the game, they simply made more and better plays. We still have too many guys like Bell and Metellus, who get props for starting, despite being lower rated recruits, but who just aren’t good enough if you want a championship team that can win big games. Despite claims that he has some yet-to-be-reached “ceiling”, there are absolutely no indications that things are going to change under Harbaugh. Still too many 3 star “projects” in the pipeline.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5880
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 01, 2020 at 7:52 PM

      Alabama started a 3-star recruit at QB.

      Bell and Metellus aren’t the problem.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1331
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Jan 01, 2020 at 9:44 PM

        Bell and Metellus aren’t the ONLY problem. Duh. And where did I say that Alabama never started ANY 3 stars? Nowhere. Duh. Do you even want to think about how the game would have gone if Alabama started their regular QB, or if we had started our backup?

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5880
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 02, 2020 at 3:04 PM

          What you’re missing is that good 3-star players (like Bell and Metellus) are needed – even for Alabama.

          We don’t have too many guys like Bell and Metellus — that is flat out wrong. We have too few. They are good players and we want more of them.

          Bell is outplaying 5-star recruits with elite size and athleticism. Metellus is going to the NFL. They are examples of why starz aren’t everything.

          Your overall point (talent matters) is correct but obvious. Your assertion that talent equates to recruiting rankings is also obvious (in a general sense). The examples you are using don’t support it because they are exceptions.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 513
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Jan 02, 2020 at 8:43 AM

        Alabama started a 3-star QB … *surrounded by 4- and 5-star talent.*

        That makes a difference. It’s not *just* that Alabama has a stud at certain positions, it’s that they have top players all over their roster. That provides depth and a higher level of play for the team as a whole.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 01, 2020 at 8:14 PM

      Three-star projects like Mac Jones?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5880
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 02, 2020 at 3:07 PM

        “this is why starz are everything” would have been the argument either way – had Michigan won it would have been our 5-star QB is better than their 3 star QB. Michigan lost so it’s our 3-star DBs and WRs are no match.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 413
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      INTJohn
      Jan 01, 2020 at 9:09 PM

      Michigan is just not going to be better against elite talent and an elite team than this game. How many times do I have to say it. Michigan is NEVER going to get the kind of talented players in the numbers needed to be elite and to compete with the likes of SEC elite teams; Clemson, etc……..

      Everyone Quit raggin on the staff or sayin a player didn’t play good etc……… Michigan is as good as they’re going to be – you saw it in this game. They lost to a better team – period – scheme, talent, coaching just qwit bitching about it. Alabama has better players who are well coached and that is always going to beat any Michigan team in this era unless said opponent beats themselves.

      Alabama didnt’ beat themselves period. I’m more impressed with what Minnesota did to Auburn Fleck knows how to coach and motivate and I’ve already got Michigan penciled in for an L when they travel to Gopherland in 2020………….
      INTJohn

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 48
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nick.
    Jan 01, 2020 at 7:41 PM

    This game was better than I expected. Knew going into halftime that we were in trouble. Saban and his staff would make adjustments while we would not. Alabama was willing to role the dice on the long ball with Shea’s inability to hit downfield so that allowed them to crowd the line and slow the run game. As the game wore on you could tell that Shea was beginning to force things and feel the pressure…leading to his usual interception. Gattis gave us a little something to look forward to offensively, but it was clear today that without a good QB we still will have problems. Is Harbaugh’s achilles heel his ability to pull “seniors” when they aren’t producing? I am worried that our QB situation won’t be much improved next year…and it should be! This could also be said about our safeties.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5880
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 01, 2020 at 8:13 PM

      Harbaugh replaced veterans (Woods and Gil) with young players (Hill and McGrone). Hinton started over Jeter. Gray passed over Kelly-Powell. Charbonnet and Haskins passed Wilson. Ruiz starts over seniors on the interior OL.

      I really don’t understand the continued accusation that Harbaugh is too loyal to veterans when there are countless examples to counter it.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5880
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jan 01, 2020 at 7:46 PM

    I see it as a respectable performance and not remotely a blowout. The defense was FAR better than I expected. The offense – well, they got close but neither the QBs nor WRs were consistent enough. Bell gets open but doesn’t quite make all the catches you want. The big guys aren’t getting separation against better competition.

    Continuing my theme of basically never agreeing with any RB analysis on this site – I thought Haskins looked really good with the ball in his hands (not so much blocking). Breaking tackles and cutting decisively – he looks like Deveon Smith with speed. Charbonnet is the most precocious RB I’ve ever seen – he looks a bit slow but he plays patiently and doesn’t make mistakes. I don’t favor tall RBs in general but both these backs are proving themselves to me. With Evans, Jackson, and these 2 the RB position looks overflowing with good options in 2020. The position is probably in better shape than it’s been anytime this century. I wish it mattered.

    Hoping DPJ, Ambry, and Caesar decide to return.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 413
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      INTJohn
      Jan 01, 2020 at 9:17 PM

      It was a blowout. 21-0 in the 2nd half is a blowout………

      First half was just a killer whale playin with a seal. Cat with a mouse. Play time. But yes, it was a respectable performance as Michigan is behind alabama in every level. Michigan just doesn’t have the talent & depth to hang on a field with a team like Bama.
      INTJohn

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 513
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Jan 01, 2020 at 9:54 PM

        Nick Saban said his message at halftime was the team was not playing with the intensity expected of Alabama. It worked: his team dialed it up in the second half.

        For Michigan to win this game was going to require a nearly flawless game by Michigan, and some key mistakes by Alabama. Neither occurred. Patterson was only 46% on passes, while Jones was 64%. Patterson threw 2 interceptions, while Jones threw 0.

        Michigan is not at the same level as Alabama, and probably won’t be unless there’s a sustained record of improvement on the road, in bowls, and against the slightly better teams. There’s got to be a good reason for the upper-level talent to come to Michigan, and right now there really isn’t a good reason.

        Another season fizzles to an end. Hope springs eternal.

        • GKblue
          Comments: 351
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          GKblue
          Jan 01, 2020 at 10:20 PM

          I was really impressed with Jones hanging in the pocket. He made some decent passes, saw the receiver and got the ball to them. One more time where I wouldn’t have minded someone else’s backup over our QB.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 121
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    AC1997
    Jan 01, 2020 at 7:51 PM

    Shea just doesn’t have very good QB instincts for someone who’s in his fifth year at a big program. He’s good, but far from great. I am glad that you pointed out some of the WR issues because announcers never do, but none of his deep throws today we’re even close enough to generate a DPI chance. McCaffrey might not be better…..but I am ready to find out. Especially if they let him run more than once per game

    I was more happy with the front seven of our D than I expected. Playing short handed and with two former walk-ons starting, they held their own. They unfortunately we’re always a half step slow at hitting the QB.

    Alabama’s punter was the biggest surprise today. He was maligned and had a great game. They also negated our punt rush that has been elite.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5880
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 01, 2020 at 7:55 PM

      Shea is in his second year at a big program and his 4th year in college. He’s played for at least 3 different offensive coordinators.

      I do hope McCaffrey can do better – stability with Gattis could help – but I worry about his ceiling with limited arm strength.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1331
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Jan 01, 2020 at 9:46 PM

        None of which has anything to do with accuracy. That’s just talent, and Patterson is lacking.

        • DonAZ
          Comments: 513
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          DonAZ
          Jan 02, 2020 at 8:45 AM

          To me, the biggest mystery of 2019 was why Shea started all those games early on when he was clearly hurt. Was a hurt-Shea still better than a healthy-McCaffrey? If so, then what in the hell is going on with the QB room at Michigan?

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1819
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            je93
            Jan 02, 2020 at 9:19 AM

            Yeah, I’ve thought the same all year. I was hopeful for Mac before then

  6. GrandLake
    Comments: 95
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    GrandLake
    Jan 01, 2020 at 8:53 PM

    Thought Gattis had good game plan but players ( mainly QB and WRs) did not execute. Will be interesting to see who returns but none of the WRs rumored to be leaving did much today to distinguish themselves and the WR draft class is very deep. Sure hope Macaffrey has a steep learning curve this offseason because if he isn’t a significant improvement over Shea, it’s tough to see anything other than a similar year in 2020.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 01, 2020 at 9:14 PM

      Peoples-Jones is supposedly on the fence, and he did nothing today other than catch a wide-open crossing route on a trick play, run an end around for about 1 yard, and lose 2 yards on a punt return.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1331
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jan 01, 2020 at 9:47 PM

      From what we saw from DPJ and Collins today, I can’t say we’d miss them very much.

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 34
    Joined: 9/24/2017
    bluegoinggray
    Jan 01, 2020 at 9:25 PM

    Yup. Next year is always Michigan’s year.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1331
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Jan 02, 2020 at 8:24 AM

      I don’t know that you’ll find too many people saying that for 2020. All but the most dedicated Kool-Aid drinkers have woken to reality. There’s nothing waiting in the wings that’s going to move this team up a notch. We’re still looking at 9-3ish talent, and plenty of question marks, just like every other Harbaugh year.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5880
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jan 02, 2020 at 3:20 PM

        I agree on the 9-3 thing but I think it’s pretty easy to go 11-1 or 7-5 when you’re in that territory. 9-3 means a top 10-15 team which is where the program sits thanks to the progress Harbaugh has made. They are there pretty much every year.

        The consistency has them performing at a top 10 level. Here are the 6 teams who have been better than Michigan over the last 5 seasons per S&P. I bet you can guess 4 off the top off your head.

        Alabama
        Ohio State
        Clemson
        Oklahoma
        LSU
        Georgia

        Michigan sits 7th over the last 5 years. They were 31st the previous 5 years.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5880
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 02, 2020 at 3:25 PM

          The big variable in overall record is the schedule. Michigan faced 5 Top 10 teams this year. It’s not likely that will happen again. They’ll probably still face 2 or 3 but a drop off at OSU, PSU, Wisconsin or just a game where the breaks go their way and suddenly they are back in the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl or wherever else and setting the stage for continued progress.

          We may be further away from beating OSU but getting PSU and Wisconsin at home may be reason enough to expect better than 9-3 in 2020.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5880
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 02, 2020 at 3:27 PM

          Too early to say much about 2020 with uncertainty at QB, WR, OL, DT, and CB. It does not look like a loaded and deep roster like it looked in 2016.

          However, there is potential for an elite defense if they can resolve those weak points and build around Hutchinson, McGrone, Hill, and Thomas.

          There is potential for an elite offense if they can replenish the OL and build on the good things that Gattis built. It’ll help to hold on to a big downfield receiver to complement Bell and the little speedy recruits we are bringing in. But the big looming issue is QB — can we get all conference caliber QB play will likely make or break the offense and the season as a whole.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1331
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Jan 02, 2020 at 6:12 PM

            In other words, we can be elite next year if we just fix all the stuff that’s not elite. Thank goodness. I thought it was going to be tough.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5880
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 02, 2020 at 3:35 PM
        • Avatar
          Comments: 1819
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Jan 02, 2020 at 4:12 PM

          S&P? Here I thought W&L, Division Championships, trips to Indy, and playoff appearances were important

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5880
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2020 at 5:11 PM

            WJE,

            Most of that is contingent on beating OSU which S&P will tell you is not likely given their historical heights.

            We know that Michigan can lose to OSU being the 31st best program or the 7th best program. If you don’t mind losing to Rutgers and MSU you can call it all a wash.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1331
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Jan 02, 2020 at 6:11 PM

              Penn State and Michigan State have both beaten Ohio State and won the division since Harbaugh has been here. In other words, it’s happened 40% of the time. Is that what you consider “not likely”?

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 7:10 PM

                yes

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 7:28 PM

                Purdue also beat OSU and own the best record against OSU in the big ten since the Harbaugh era.

                In conclusion

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1331
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          WindyCityBlue
          Jan 02, 2020 at 6:06 PM

          Progress? We were 9-3 in Harbaugh’s first year and 9-3 this year. He improved over the two worst coaches we’ve had in 50 years, but that’s the extent of his “progress”. If it’s so easy to go 11-1, how come Harbaugh hasn’t been able to do it yet, and shows no sign of being able to?

          Top 10 level? We’ve only finished in the top 10 once under Harbaugh, and that was 10th, in 2016. We’re voted in the top 10 as long as we’re running off wins against weak to mediocre opponents, but once we start playing strong teams, we’re exposed, and fall back to where we belong. We have a terrible record against teams that actually FINISH in the top 10. We’re consistently good under Harbaugh, but never great.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5880
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2020 at 7:21 PM

            “He improved over the two worst coaches we’ve had in 50 years,” Yes and he has also matched the best coaches in the last 50 years in terms of national standing. That is: a top 10 program nationally, consistently finishing in the top 15 but one notch below the national championship elite.

            The difference is the lack of conference titles which are primarily a function of changes in the conference beyond Michigan’s control. Namely, OSU rising to national elite and the Big Ten conference being a powerhouse and not a big 2 little 8.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1819
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Jan 02, 2020 at 8:09 PM

              You keep saying we’re a top10 program, but we’re not. We’ve had ONE top10 finish. Not saying you’re a liar, but wrong. A lot

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5880
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jan 02, 2020 at 11:26 PM

              Lanknows AKA Spreadsheet: Here’s an opinion backed up with some evidence.

              Welchin JE AKA GED JE: I don’t understand what I don’t understand so you are wrong.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1819
                Joined: 1/19/2016
                je93
                Jan 03, 2020 at 2:15 AM

                4 posts. 4 posts, and the best you can do is name calling & another fabricated sparty reference

                You’re losing it

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 12:08 PM

                  It’s another MELTDOWN WJE! Just ask you.

                  You can’t counter the point so you have to do what you usually do – talk about me. And your feelings of course.

                  A team that finishes in the top 15 every year is going to rank in the top 10 because the vast majority of teams do not have that kind of consistency. It usually doesn’t take a college degree to know how to calculate an average. You can learn how to do it.

                  Are there other measures than S&P ranking? Of course. Have you offered an alternative measure across national programs? Of course not.

                  Maybe you could have dug up conference titles or something. Could have used that to tell me Michigan was on par with Rutgers. But you didn’t.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3584
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 12:57 PM

                  New year, some ol’ Lanknows vs. je93 squabbles.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 1:06 PM

                  It’s different because I’m really getting upset by his negs in 2020. Keeping tabs in my meltdown spreadsheet.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1819
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 2:58 PM

                  Holy crap, now you’re making stuff up? I literally posted several responses to your posts, all trumping s&p relevance

                  YOU come up with nicknames & insults, which has historically been a stepping stone to a meltdown; glad you brought that up

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5880
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jan 02, 2020 at 11:29 PM

              Name all the teams that finished in the top 10 every year.

              As stated previously – some of these peer programs have had higher highs but also lower lows. Harbaugh is bringing consistency. Year in and year out. If you want to flip that into a negative you can.

              If you want to say that MSU is just as good of a program as Michigan because they’ve finished in the top 10 ONCE in the Harbaugh era you can do that.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1331
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                WindyCityBlue
                Jan 03, 2020 at 9:08 AM

                Thought experiment:

                You’re the Michigan AD, thinking about hiring Harbaugh back in 2015. You’re granted a glimpse of the future that shows you that Harbaugh will go 9-3 and finish in the top 15 every year, but that we will never beat Ohio State and never win a division title as long as he’s here . Do you hire him like a shot, or do you say to yourself “that’s not good enough”?

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1331
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  WindyCityBlue
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 9:11 AM

                  Oh, and you have to hold a press conference and communicate that to the fan base before you hire him.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1819
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                  je93
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 9:48 AM

                  No one would have believed it

                  No one

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1819
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 10:05 AM

                  I’m sure at least one fan would ask about our s&p ?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 11:14 AM

                  I like the thought experiment but it still boils down to the same thing – Ohio State is a juggernaut and Michigan is behind them.

                  Be honest – who might you have hired in 2015 instead? Les Miles? Willie Taggert? Whoever the head coach of West Virginia, Miami Ohio, or Illinois was at the time? Bob Stitt?

                  Things could be A LITTLE bit better. JT could have been called short. Drevno could have been fired sooner. Mattison could have been retained.

                  Harbaugh has been very good not great. But things could be much much worse – that is obvious.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 03, 2020 at 11:17 AM

                  I see Windy you are dodging the question. You have not named 10 programs better than Michigan under the Harbaugh era.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5880
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jan 02, 2020 at 7:22 PM

            Name 4 other programs that have been better than Michigan over the last 5 years than the 6 listed above (alabama, clemson, osu, oklahoma, georgia, lsu)

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5880
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jan 02, 2020 at 8:00 PM

              Michigan’s peers per S&P include Notre Dame, PSU, Wisconsin. Nationally it’s Auburn, USC, Florida, FSU.

              In general these teams have had higher highs and lower lows. i.e., More inconsistent.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 8:20 PM

                Of the locals I would not trade Harbaugh for Franklin or Kelly. He has outcoached both IMO.

                Notre Dame will finish the season 11-2 and be ranked higher than Michigan, but Michigan whooped em. They consistently lose to elite teams, just like Michigan does.

                Wisconsin deserves a lot of respect for maintaining their identity while evolving on defense and gradually modernizing their offense. Still — I would not trade Harbaugh for Chryst. He is to Alvarez what Lloyd was to Bo.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 8:21 PM

                Probably the best analogue for Michigan (and not coincidentally the best coach among them IMO) is Malzhan at Auburn. They have a rival that is a notch above and play in a very difficult conference. They have averaged 5 losses a year in the Harbaugh era. They have tied for a division title once and won the conference zero times.

                • Avatar
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                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Jan 02, 2020 at 9:02 PM

                  But they beat Bama. And UGa. Where’s our big win?

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 02, 2020 at 11:34 PM

                  This year – Notre Dame. Auburn lost to Georgia.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
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                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 8:22 PM

                The other programs are in recruiting hot spots but have dealt with various degrees of turmoil and scandal. I think Michigan is at a major disadvantage compared to those programs just due to geography.

                To Harbaugh’s credit he is matching their overall production, overcoming the bigger challenges.

            • Avatar
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              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Jan 02, 2020 at 8:19 PM

              ND. Playoffs, and beat us soundly along the way
              Wisconsin. 2-2 head to head, but they have Division championships
              PennSt. Sucks, but they have a Conference Trophy and we don’t
              Auburn. I think their playoff was in 2015, maybe 2014? Still, they have more big wins than we have, including recruiting elite like Bama & UGa
              Oregon. Conference titles and playoffs
              FlSt can make a case, beating us head to head, but the last two years make it a wash

              The main thing here is, football is played game by game, and season by season. And every season but 2016 we’ve fallen short of top10

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5880
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jan 02, 2020 at 8:41 PM

                Does “because they don’t have Ohio State in their division” sufficiently explain the situation?

                We whooped ND this year. They made the playoff last year because they played an easier schedule than Michigan. They got whooped when they got there. Final FEI rankings 7 vs 13. Neither team was elite, they won by one score.
                Had Michigan won the game vs ND would UM have made the playoff? No, see top of this post. Would Notre Dame have made it again this year had they beaten Michigan – very well might have with only 1 loss.

                Wisconsin, you may already know this, does not have Ohio State in their division. They are 0-5 against PSU and OSU in the Harbaugh era.

                Michigan, PSU, and MSU have each tied for first with Ohio State in the divison once in the last 5 years. OSU has won the other 2 outright.

                Maybe conference titles are the only thing that matter to you but I’d rather be Michigan than Michigan State.

                • Avatar
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                  je93
                  Jan 02, 2020 at 9:09 PM

                  Holy cow. I didn’t even mention sparty, but that’s your closing take?

                  Two points:
                  – how many times has MICHIGAN finished higher than 3d in the conference? How low have they finished? In five years, they’ve finished behind teams I listed

                  – hypothetical: you’re on the recruiting trail. Do you say, “we’re Division Champs,” “we’re gonna beat Bama again,” and “we’re going back to the playoffs” or, do you say “we average top10 s&p over the last five years”

                  That stuff is interesting to look at and reference as supplemental information, but is NOT the end all, be all. Win big games, earn trophies, and get a playoff spot. That’s what matters. And it’s not just my opinion

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5880
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jan 02, 2020 at 11:24 PM

                  That is your opinion.

  8. GKblue
    Comments: 351
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Jan 01, 2020 at 10:10 PM

    Missed passes, dropped passes, field goals instead of TDs, poor field position, giving up the occasional big play all cost us. Bama just is a better team and better coached.

    On the TD in the first half the play calling in the red zone was the stuff we were looking for from Gattis, great job. However, when we can move the ball on the ground why did we go away from it? Not only are we moving the chains, but there are some scenarios where time of possession and opening up the run pass option win games?

    I think the elite teams will continue to out recruit us. Until or unless we can out effort, out scheme, out execute and out coach them we will never get where we all would like us to be.

    Lastly, I thought Hutchinson played some damn good football and didn’t rough the passer.

  9. Avatar
    Comments: 1819
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jan 01, 2020 at 10:29 PM

    I thought the OL was fantastic. Thought Gattis called a great 1st half, until that last drive. D played better than I expected until the last drive, when they appeared to give up. Some of that was Bama refusing to attack our soft DL with their run, but that’s football in 2020

    Shea played worse than anyone not named JOK; I was surprised at how inaccurate & how many careless decisions he made

    WRs were the biggest disappointment of the year. I think (today) DPJ & Nico fit the same description as Thunder’s take on Mettelus/Hill. Sad

    Did the TEs do much good, all year?

  10. Avatar
    Comments: 16
    Joined: 1/16/2019
    Blue83
    Jan 02, 2020 at 8:00 AM

    I’ve been impressed with DMac through his limited appearances. But let’s look at this realistically. McCaffrey is now at the end of his 3rd year in the program, and if he had been better than an often pedestrian Shea Patterson, he would have been starting by now. Perhaps with more 1st team reps in the spring and fall camps he will take a huge leap. As for Patterson, it was assumed that he would be a perfect fit in an RPO scheme, but there were countless times (too many) this season where he handed off but should have kept the ball or thrown it. RPO is as much about making the proper reads and decisions as it is making the physical play. Maybe these QB’s are not uber-talented. Or maybe they are not being coached up to get the most out of their abilities.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 513
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      DonAZ
      Jan 02, 2020 at 10:39 AM

      “… if he [McCaffrey] had been better than an often pedestrian Shea Patterson, he would have been starting by now”

      I’m not convinced merit is the complete story at Michigan, particularly for the QB position. Now, it *could* be that McCaffrey wasn’t better than Patterson, but that’s saying a lot since, as you point out, Patterson was merely average. Patterson was 42nd out of a 100 nationally in overall passing. He was 53rd in QB rating. He was 95th out of 100 if you could *just* completion rate.

      My gut feeling — purely a hunch — is that Harbaugh went all-in on Patterson through the whole transfer and exemption process, and once done he stuck with him through thick-and-thin. My gut feeling — again, purely a hunch — is that Harbaugh can’t disconnect himself from his NFL-playing QB days, and he views all QBs through that lens, despite the college game being a completely different animal now compared to the NFL back in the 1990s.

      Final point — I’m not convinced Harbaugh is that good a program manager, as evidenced by the misfires on his staffing and organizing decisions. He went too long not having a named offensive coordinator; and his hiring of Pep Hamilton remains a complete mystery (except for the obvious: he was hiring friends when they needed a job). There’s some reason to believe that maybe he’s getting better at it, but it’s been a long time coming.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5880
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 02, 2020 at 3:33 PM

      Good logic applied here but patience is warranted. A lot of players make leaps when they are seniors thrust into bigger roles.

      I’m thinking of Derrick Walton as one example. He’s in the NBA now playing for one of the championship favorites after looking like a solid but somewhat limited college player after 3 years.

  11. JC
    Comments: 276
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Jan 02, 2020 at 3:13 PM

    I wasn’t expecting a win. I thought ‘bama would win by 2 or 3 touchdowns, they’re just too talented.

    The 85 yard TD happens, and I wasn’t expecting a win.

    We get stopped, was not expecting anything good.

    Then we stop them and I thought.. hmm..

    Then we march down the field and put one in the end zone.

    Then we stop them, and march down the field again for another field goal. And another one. I thought this was going to be an exciting game, and we have a darn good chance of winning it.

    When we’re up 13 – 7, I was expecting good things. Bama has a 3rd and long, and Hutchinson has a questionable roughing the QB. He took maybe one step, and rolled out of it after the tackle.

    That’s the moment I knew it wasn’t in the stars.

    40 seconds and 1 timeout. We manage 2 plays for -4 yards.

    That’s when I went to the garage to get another beer. That was….. something.

    Even in the 2nd half before Shea’s first INT, I was thinking there is at least a glimmer of hope here. We stop them, we have enough time to drive, stop them, and then drive again. And in a disappointing fashion, an interception that all but seals the game.

    I don’t know if I would call the game a blowout. It was a 1 score game going into the 4th quarter, and there was a chance. It ended in a blowout score, and that was an asshole move by Saban, which is fine because he’s an asshole. But that’s a good recruiting move.

    The first half felt like the off season for me. It made me care and think we’re going to be better than we end up being. These last few years there is something to play for going into the 2nd half of the season. But, like the 2nd half of this game, we do not finish.

    Come August I’ll be predicting 10-2 or 11-1 again, and the cycle will continue. Here’s to hoping we finish in 2020.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5880
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jan 02, 2020 at 7:36 PM

      You can break the cycle! Wait till objective analysis comes in (Vegas, computer models, trusted national pundits) and base your expectations on those. Usually this means the same thing as subtracting 1 or 2 wins from Michigan fan consensus but it’s helpful for enjoying the season IMHO.

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