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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rivalries? Or not.

People talk about Michigan (Lloyd's) record in big games. Of the three biggest games on our schedule - Notre Dame, THE osu, and the Bowl game - Michigan is 3 and 10 over the past five years. We've lost 6 of our big games in a row.

2005 ND - L, tOSU - L, Bowl - ?

2004 ND -L, tOSU - L, Bowl - L

2003 ND - W, tOSU - W, Bowl - L

2002 ND - L, tOSU - L, Bowl - W

2001 ND - did not play, tOSU - L, Bowl - L

Five years is plenty of time to see a trend. Changes need to be made. Hopefully, they will be made voluntarily. I will be thrilled to see Lloyd replace the yachtsman at the helm of our athletic department. And I will be excited to see a change in this pattern of losing our big games. Obviously, there is risk in change. But what are we really risking at this point? This team of coaches cannot win the big game - they are too tight, they are too conservative, the ball bounces funny, the clock runs out too early, whatever - they aren't getting the job done. Time for change. I hope it isn't bloody, but I'm more concerned that it won't happen.


The King said...

To further bolster your argument, I will pretty much give a 100% guarantee that we lose our bowl game this year as well. When OSU gets the second at-large BCS bid (The first automatically goes to Notre Dame if they meet certain requirements, which they will with a win at Stanford), we'll be the most attractive remaining Big 10 team and we'll go to the Capital One bowl or, at worst, the Outback. There we are going to end up playing once of these three teams: Auburn, LSU, or Georgia.

Anyone who has watched these teams this year gets ill at the sheer thought of this matchup. Anyone remember the last time we played in the Capital One Bowl? What was the final score again? Like 400 to 7?

Yost said...


Capitol One isn't in the cards for us. Unless they lose to Hawaii this weekend, they're taking Wisco. We're Outback at best, Alamo at worst.

Yost said...


First of all, so glad you could finally join the debate here. But, as usual, I see you've brought along your selective memory.

Most glaring of all is what you define as our "big games" in order to make your point. I notice you conveniently left out MSU. I assume had we lost the last two years instead of beating them, they'd be included.

Also, what about games against, say, a top 10 PSU? That's not a big game? Was that not, as a conference game against a top 10 team, a bigger game than against ND this year? I would say yes.

As for not winning the big game, Lloyd is 15-6 against top 10 teams and he's coming off back-to-back Big 10 titles and Rose Bowl appearances. And while those RBs were losses, they were to the #1 team in the country and a last second loss in the other (due to defensive lapses which we've been discussing). So, I don't think we need to throw the baby out w/ the bath water.

Benny Friedman said...

Though I don't agree with Wangs that it might be time for a change at the top, he does point out our inability to beat the top two programs we face: ND and tOSU. We've never really had a good streak against ND (at least not in the last 50 years). In the last 25 years or so, we've had pretty good success against tOSU. But after losing 4 out of 5 to Tressell, we've clearly relinquished our dominance of the Big Ten that we've had for quite a while. Over the last five years, they've won a national title, beaten us four times, and have better record than us. Plus, they'll likely play in their third BCS bowl in that time. For the first time since the '70s, when asking the question: "Who's been the best team in the Big Ten over the past few years?" the answer isn't Michigan.

Wangs said...

I do not consider Spartie a big game. They may. I don't. It is devastating to lose to them because it is so embarrasing. Worse even than a loss to Indiana. They are not a national program like The osu, Pennsylvania State (although many had written this program off till this year), ND, or a bowl game. I'd Pennsylvania State is barely a national program in recent years. It's been 10 years since they even won the conference.

Adding them to the mix: 2005 - win, 2004 did not play, 2003 did not play, 2002 - win, 2001 - win.

So against national programs (Big Games) we are 6 - 10 over the past five years. 1 - 6 in the past 7 games.

I don't care how we are against ranked teams. When we played Spartie - they were 4-0 and ranked 11th. Ummmm. Sometimes the polls are wrong.

IC said...

True, Lloyd is 15-6 vs. top ten teams, but since that sad sack Alabama kicker missed an overtime PAT in the 2000 Orange Bowl, Coach Carr is 3-5 vs. top ten opponents. During that same time span, we have lost to six unranked teams.

I am not advocating canning Lloyd or washing babies (in fact, I'm against both ideas.) Rather, I want to point out how problematic it is to focus on rankings in judging the success or failure of our teams (more evidence: one of our top ten wins was over Colorado in '97--they eventually went 5-6; one of our six losses to unranked teams was the 2000 defeat to ultimate Big Ten champ Purdue.)

The King said...

Yeah Yost, after I posted that I started thinking, "there's a team in the Big Ten that I am forgetting." It was Wisconsin. So yeah, Outback. Against Georgia, most likely.

DJ Shockley, that guy runs, right?


Wangs said...

Just to be clear - I'm not saying can Lloyd or wash his baby.

What I'm hoping is that some folks with authority (the Captain, Bo, some Big Donors) pull him aside this holiday season and say: "Next year is your last year. After that you become AD and the Captain can sail away. Start to think about your successor. Let us know who you're thinking about and we'll let you know if we agree. If we agree, you can name him. As for your staff - not sure that you should look very long at Herrmann or Malone, they're not on our list."

Lloyd gets his well-deserved victory lap. The program gets to move forward. Or at least move.

Obviously, there is risk in change. But I believe there is even greater risk if we don't change. The facts are the facts: Michigan is not competing at a high enough level for us to be seriously considered national title contenders. Yes, we played in the Rose Bowl two years in a row. And lost them both.

And what if we do nothing, our chances of slipping into Nebraska-ville is pretty good. We were very very close to not being bowl eligible this season - if not for a miracle against Pennsylvania State, and an overtime win against Iowa - we're 5-6 fellas.

We are much closer to missing the bowls than we are to competing for a national title. And that's with Lloyd Carr and his coaches!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Two words: Mike. Trgovac.

Benny Friedman said...

Anon, that's a brilliant suggestion. For those who might not know, Trgovac played at Michigan from 1977 to 1980 and was a grad assistant for a couple of years. He's currently the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers (that's the NFL, Yost) and they consistently have had one of the better defenses in the league under Trgovac, including this season. His bio is at http://www.panthers.com/team/coachbio.jsp?id=1129
He has college experience and his pro experience and success - he coached a defense that almost won a Super Bowl - should carry a ton of weight with college kids. The only question is whether he would be willing to take a probable pay cut to coach in college and whether he wants to be an NFL head coach some day. But it's a brilliant suggestion and I'm embarassed I didn't think of it - a Michigan guy with tremendous success on his resume.