Michigan v Appalachian State
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
On September 1, 2007, Appalachian State upset Michigan, in Ann Arbor, 34-32. The game marked the first win by a Division I-AA team over a team ranked in the Associated Press Poll's history.
Since then, Michigan has a won-loss record of 104-68 under 4 separate coaches, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke, and, now, Jim Harbaugh.
As sports writers across the fruited plain continue to dogpile Jim Harbaugh, I kind of feel bad for him. I believe Jim Harbaugh is a good coach. People forget that he took the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl and 2 other NFC Championship games. Sure Harbaugh should have done a better job at Michigan, but the universal scorn is perplexing to me.
Ask me who's at fault for Michigan's woes, go ahead.
Fred Hunt, who is at fault for Michigan's woes?
There are 2 people directly responsible for Michigan's misery, and neither of them have an affiliation to Michigan. (And, I use the word woe in relative terms. Except for this year, Michigan has been an above average football team for the past decade. The problem is that they're not elite.)
#1 Culprit: Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith
Gene Smith runs The Ohio State University as a feeder system to the pros. All of this rah-rah college stuff is pure bullshit and Gene Smith knows it. Kids go to Ohio State as a stepping stone to a career in the NFL. How do I know? Smith asked for Jim Tressel's resignation, you know, the guy who used to ooze platitudes about the college experience while wearing a sweater vest. Gene Smith expected Ohio State fans to believe that conservative Jim Tressel was running a rogue program under his nose. Gene Smith runs a Football Factory. Period. That's why Smith has burned through 2 Hall of Fame College Coaches, because it's hard to play within the rules with players who don't care about the lyrics to Carmen Ohio. Jim Tressel turned out to be such a scallywag that Youngstown State named him the President of their University. Michigan at least PRETENDS to be about the college experience, which puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
#2 Culprit: Former Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio
The best athletes in Ohio go to Ohio State, then OSU cherry picks other top recruits from other Southern states like Texas or Florida. Schools like Akron, Toledo, and Kent State get Ohio State's leftovers. Michigan is always the top recruiter in Michigan, but since the turn of the millennium, Michigan State has been competitive in the recruiting game. Coach Mark Dantonio was 114-57 at MSU before he resigned last year. Notice that's a better record than records of the last 4 Michigan coaches combined. That doesn't point to a specific COACH for Michigan's misery, that points to the STRUCTURE at Michigan. Sparty should never, ever consistently have a better record than Michigan.
When the U of M was dominant a generation ago, they kept all the best Michigan recruits AND stole kids from Ohio. Now if you're blue-chip recruit in the Midwest with a dream of the NFL, which school within driving distance gives you the best chance to get to the big show?
NFL Players from Ohio colleges:
50 Ohio State University
3 Miami of Ohio
2 Kent State
2 Ohio University
1 Bowling Green
NFL Players from Michigan colleges:
33 University of Michigan
12 Michigan State
5 Western Michigan
4 Central Michigan
3 Eastern Michigan
There is no better way to the NFL than Ohio State, except for through Tuscaloosa. Michigan's most famous Alum playing in the NFL? Tom Brady. He played there 4 coaches ago during the LAST MILLENNIUM. How many high school kids today associate Brady with Michigan?
There's a good chance that Michigan fires Harbaugh unless he wins the OSU-Michigan matchup this weekend. How does Michigan close the gap between schools when Harbaugh has actually improved Michigan's recruitment over the past 5 years?
At Michigan, football is A priority.
At Ohio State, football is THE priority.
"I think it comes down to how you run the program. If Michigan wants to be Ohio State, you have to accept that the players are basically professional athletes. No school at all, just football. Michigan doesn’t want to do that so they’ll always be a bit behind" - Sports Illustrated
"If Harbaugh is losing to Indiana in year six, it makes you wonder if that championship potential is still woven into the fabric of the Michigan football program." - Click On Detroit
"On the flip side, if the Michigan brass and fans jettison Harbaugh, good luck in doing better." - Forbes