Friday, December 4, 2020

Michigan Friday: Previews Nothing

The AP is reporting that Michigan has 12 positive tests.  There will have to be a reduction in that number to be able to practice and play next weekend.   It seems OSU is trying to move mountains to play this weekend with a skeleton crew in East Lansing.   They will be without their head coach Ryan Day and how many other players?  

So you really want Michigan to play next weekend?  The already short handed Wolverines would be even more shorthanded and coming off a virus outbreak.  That sounds like a winning combination and Vegas has opened with Ohio State -27.5.   I have zero interest in playing that game or any other the rest of the year.  

Michigan Basketball plays on Sunday at home 4:00 against UCF.  The Golden Knights have only played one game this season, a win over Auburn.  They had one game cancelled due to COVID against Oklahoma.   

  • Reminder we are 12 days away from football's early signing period for the 2021 class. 

  • The Knight Commission believes Big Time College Football should separate from the NCAA and be under 1 governing body. 

  • I also don't understand why major schools like Michigan don't have a COO type of person overseeing just football.   If this was a corporation, their largest revenue division for sure would have a VP or GM over looking operations and decisions. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Michigan Thursday: Stick a Fork in It and Ball State

Michigan Football shut down their program and cancelled the Maryland game this weekend.   This is a fitting end to this horrific season.   The Ohio State game is now highly in doubt and I have no idea if there will be an appetite to play Illinois, Nebraska, or Purdue in the East vs West terrible team match-ups.   Here is my advice, shut it down and reset the entire program.  The Big Ten can change their rules and put OSU into the championship game against Northwestern, so they can get embarrassed by Clemson or Alabama in the playoffs.   The earliest Michigan can get back to practice is Monday but with the 21 day quarantine rule, I don't know how next week could be any better then this week. 

Looking back, The Big Ten could have gotten more respect for staying with the cancelation.   

Now to our active sport basketball.  

Michigan Basketball played much better last night against Ball State.   Dickinson still didn't start but played well.   Livers shot well and scored 21 points.   Franz woke up with 14 points and hit a 3, and Mike Smith added 10 and was better with the basketball.  

This team strives on point guard play and still needs to work on defense.   The Wolverines struggle with the dribble drives and help.  On the other side of the ball, I have some advice for the young Wolverines: Stop shooting 3's and get the ball to the basket.   Michigan seems to struggle from 3 and shot 16% from 3 in the first half, they were better in the 2nd at 33%.

I believe the strength of this team is the low post with Hunter, drives with Smith, Wagner, and Brown.   Livers and Brooks can sit at the 3 and hit a hand full of 3's a game.  I love Davis but he is just too slow and doesn't seem 100% heathy. 

Michigan takes on UCF this weekend in basketball, the other game on Saturday has been cancelled. 

  • For the longest time we have heard this: "These games are booked 10 years in advance we can't change them"  ESPN Game Day is at Coastal Carolina this weekend for their game against Liberty.  COVID has hit Liberty and they had to back out.  It's Thursday morning and BYU will now travel in to play Coastal.   Seems easier then we thought. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wolverine Wednesday: Ball State Game Day

We all are thinking it, back in our brains, but Herbie said it.   That Michigan is using COVID to not play in Columbus in two weeks.  Then he took a huge hit on social media and apologized.   I just want this football season to be over, so Michigan can move on in a new direction.   Playing Maryland, OSU, and someone else doesn't give us any more data then we have today.  

Michigan did practice virtually on Tuesday as well, which I'm sure isn't helping prepare them for Maryland.  It's unclear how many positive tests there are in the program. 

Michigan Basketball plays its second MAC opponent tonight at 7:00 on BTN.   I'm sure they will be looking for improvement against the zone.   I also expect Hunter to be in the starting lineup.   Ball State is 0-1 with a loss to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday.  

  • Zavier Worthy will pick between Michigan and Alabama on 12/16 which is signing day.   When you're committed to program A and will choose between A&B on signing day.   Your decision is already made.  

  • Michigan - Maryland and OSU - MSU games are on for now but seem to be on shaky ground.  

  • In another 2020 sign the Steelers will play the skeleton crew from the Ravens at 3:30 this afternoon. 

  • I mention Bob Stoops in a post yesterday and he makes news for stepping in for some sick coaches at Oklahoma's practice. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Michigan Tuesday: We Don't Trust The Process

I loved the Harbaugh hire, loved it.  I know Michigan players loved Lloyd Carr but he and his staff were playing Atari and the rest of College Football had an XBox.   Then Michigan had two terrible desperate hires in RR and Hoke.  Neither one was ready for the Michigan job and flamed out painfully.  If this program had a tipping point, it was the blocked field goal against App. State.   That one play has set this program back 20 years.  LC had been there one year too long and Sailboat Bill had zero plan to replace him.   

Jimmy played at Michigan, turned around Stanford, and coached in a Super Bowl.  Finally, Michigan had founded its guy, there was not better head coaching prospect.   In fact, even a few days before taking the job, NFL insider and Michigan Alum Adam Schefter thought there was a little to no chance Harbaugh would turn down NFL offers for Ann Arbor.  Home run hire! 

Harbaugh came in and set a fire to everything, the staff, recruiting, summer camps, Jordan over Adidas, you name it he was putting his stamp on it.  We loved his energy, how other coaches hated him and the impact he was making on our program.  

Then in 2016, Michigan had stopped the OSU QB short to win the game in OT, but the Ohio officials spotted it for a first down.  The next play OSU won the game on a touchdown run.  Jimmy blasts the Oho based officials and gets reprimanded by the Big Ten.   That seems to be the point, where the music and Jimmy's energy died.  We never saw that fire out of him again.  

Jimmy during his regular press conference on Monday said two things: 1- Michigan will be doing work virtually on Monday due to some new positive tests 2- He is enjoying the process over others outside the building.   Meaning, he and his staff is working hard to build up this injured and young team.  

Here is the problem, Michigan has had a boat load of NFL players come through its door with out ANY Major success.  Yes, Michigan has won a few football games but they have done very little in Big Games.  I can think of two: opening day win against Florida in Dallas and the ND win last season.   His teams have under preformed in pretty much every other big game.  We have ZERO proof he can be a great coach at Michigan when it comes to winning games.   The process is either broken or doesn't work at all in Ann Arbor.  

So now what?

It's over and it should happen quickly after the last game of the season.  The leadership at Michigan has two options - Extend or ask for his resignation.  I don't believe they will fire him and will let him go out on his own accord.   I'm a firm believer that there is already a tentative plan in place, one that could  include an extension.   There are 2 things to consider:  The COVID AD deficit will make it hard for Michigan to play 2 staffs (they are going to need a big donor to step up) and 12/16 is early signing day.  Jimmy will have to be gone or extended before that date.

There could be another scenario brewing.  I hesitate to include this in my post as I don't have any factual information on this, its also very personal, and its purely just rumors/speculation but......there have been rumors for about 2-3 years about a Harbaugh health condition.  I have zero valid inside information on this but its been a consistent rumor and I'm a "if there's smoke - there is fire" type of guy.    (please note I don't like speculating on anyone's health)

The scenario I've been considering is the following:  The reason a extension hasn't already been completed is not about the NFL or even his on the field performance, its about his health and his long term ability to coach this team.   If I were to put a bet on what would happen, it would be that Jimmy steps away after the season due to a health concern and takes a role in the AD department.   He did play 14 years in the NFL. 

Then what?

I believe Michigan has 2 candidates in mind that should be considered front runners for the job:

  • Matt Campbell at Iowa State, hot prospect but isn't known for recruiting.  He is known for developing which might be even a better trait.  Has won games at Iowa State.  
  • Jeff Hafley, BC head coach.  He is the former DC at OSU and has started to do great things at BC.  He is known as a recruiter and one of the best young coaches in the game.  A recent poll of OSU fans, listed guys that they didn't want to see as Michigan head coach.  He came back #1 over guys like Fickell or Meyer.  
Guys not coming:
  • Fickell and Meyer - not happening.  
Wild Cards:
  • Bob Stoops, qualified but the game might have passed him by. 
  • Josh McDaniels, OC at the Patriots brother already on staff.  Seems like a bit of a strange guy and we know how successful former Patriot's assistants are as head coaches. 
  • John Harbaugh, head coach of Ravens - this is very unlikely but, if Jim does have a health condition, John might be interested in coming in for his brother while trying to turn this program around.  He has been at the Ravens for 12 years and currently his team is struggling with the virus and his running offense.  Parents live in town.  
I don't buy that COVID shut down the extension conversation in the off season.  If we believe that there is a plan in place,  then there are two ways this could go.   Extension or Resignation at the end of the year.  

I also believe players "play" match the coaches fire or lack of fire.   Michigan hasn't faced a team this year with more talent or highly recruited players.  The difference?  Each team was playing harder then the Wolverines.  Even Rutgers played harder.   MSU upset Northwestern last weekend by playing hard.   
That is why I believe this is coming to an end, everyone sees the finish line.