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Monday, May 22, 2006

Significant for All the Wrong Reasons

Saw via Heisman Pundit that SI's Stewart Mandel recently listed what he considers the most significant college football games since 1998. The good news is, Michigan made the list. The bad news is that it was the Wolverine's 54-51 loss to Northwestern in 2000.

According to Mandel, that game makes the list because, "In talking to coaches over the last several years, I've learned that this game is viewed as something of a landmark moment in the current craze of spread offenses. When people saw Northwestern, which had had one of the worst offenses in the country only a year earlier, use the spread to put up 654 yards on the Wolverines, it spawned a whole lot of copycats, most notably Urban Meyer when he took over at Bowling Green the following season."

We here at the MZone think this game was significant for a wholly different reason - to us, it marked the beginning of the end for Jim Herrmann. Basically, from that point forward, one could never count on a Michigan defense to hold onto a lead, no matter how big or no matter how many points the Wolverines scored. Nothing was ever safe again.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Herrmann's, remember Mark, Purdue QB? Michigan shut him down so bad he was out of the Heisman race. That's what Michigan used to be about. Now they score on the Wolverines like 2 for 1 night at a hooker convention.

Anonymous said...

And how significant would this game have been if AT had held onto the ball?

Benny Friedman said...

Anon at 7:15, I think the significance would have been the same. As Mandel pointed out, the game showed how formerly renowned defenses like Michigan's weren't ready for the spread - even if A-Train and Michigan had hung on.
And though I would much rather have won that game, by losing it more clearly showed the initial cracks in Herrmann's defense.

IC said...

Anon 2:37: "Now they score on the Wolverines like 2 for 1 night at a hooker convention." LOL!

Anon 7:15: Benny just beat me to my point.

As Yost points out in this post, this game was the tipping point for what has become by far our biggest problem over the past five years--the failure of the defense to stop teams late in games.

There have been a few examples where the Michigan defense has closed out a tight game (@Purdue in 2004 comes to mind), but there have been far more where the inability to get just one stop has led to a loss.

Anonymous said...

Well, i guess McNabb pretty much started it off. Gave us a glimpse at the future. The Cats kind of made it clear what the future was going to be. Well JH is here no more, so maybe a return to glory, huh!! (at least of defense)