Tuesday, December 3, 2019

OSU Dominates U-M Again

On Saturday November 30th, the Ohio State University football team defeated the University of Michigan football team by a score of 56-27. And to be honest it wasn't really that close. Ohio State beat the ever-loving stuffing out of Michigan in every physical and mental aspect of the game: defense, offense, special teams, tackling, blocking, running, passing, catching, and coaching. It was, more or less, a repeat of last year's beatdown.

Ohio State featured a first year coach, Ryan Day, but Day evidently had his players fired up and ready to lay a stomping on Michigan. It was the eighth victory in a row by Ohio State over Michigan. In the past sixteen matches between the two schools, Ohio State has been victorious in fifteen of them. 

There are high school football players, heck even graduate students who really don't have a memory of a time when U-M was even competitive in this series. This rivalry has become less of a rivalry than a yearly ritual thrashing and blood sacrifice. 

A rivalry requires that each team sometimes gets some victories over the other. A rivalry requires that win, lose or draw, each team gives it all they've got. A rivalry requires that after the game, both teams know that they've been in a serious fight. U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh was hired to do three things on the field-- win the Big 10 championship, make U-M at least occasionally relevant for the National Championship conversation, and oh yes, BEAT OHIO STATE.

Harbaugh hasn't done any of those things. He hasn't won any Big 10 championships. He has been the U-M head coach for five years and is 0-5 vs OSU. To me that is unacceptable. I do not expect that Harbaugh or any Michigan coach will beat OSU every year or even most years. But as the saying goes, "This is Michigan for God's sakes!". 

During the same time period that OSU has been rolling up U-M like a cigarette to be smoked, OSU has lost games to Big 10 teams such as Michigan State (twice), Penn State, Iowa, and Purdue. In other words OSU is elite, but they can be beaten. Michigan just isn't able to do it more often than once every eight or nine years. After five years, it's fair to look at the results and question whether Harbaugh is who we Michigan fans thought he was when he was hired. I don't think he is. I think it's time to let Harbaugh go and search for a coach who can occasionally win what remains the biggest game on Michigan's schedule.

If Michigan wasn't competitive at home against a first year coach, how will Michigan fare next year on the road against a second year coach. The longer Harbaugh stays the greater the talent and intensity gap between the two programs will become. 

Few top recruits want to go play for a program that has obtained a reputation as a overrated frontrunner that is vulnerable to being pushed around and smacked in the mouth by physical teams such as Wisconsin and OSU. This is all on Harbaugh. The U-M team is now made up of Harbaugh's recruits. Harbaugh sets the team philosophy, oversees player development and hires all of the subordinate coaches and trainers. 

Harbaugh has done an adequate job but not a great job. And when your university fight song and brand include the phrase, "..the leaders and best..", adequate is not enough.
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