Lo, I am defeated.
Ah Michigan, just when you think things are on the upswing, Michigan State comes to town and you mysteriously decide to have your quarterback continue to throw the ball to them. This gave the Spartan offense too many short fields to work with and resulted in a 14-10 loss that was soul-sucking for Wolverine fans.
Now, some perspective.....
No, it's NOT time to call for Harbaugh to be fired and no, it's not correct to say that he's overrated. Despite all of this there will be unsteady fans and gleeful media types who are going to sift through the ashes of unrealistic hopes and take some type of perverse pleasure in continuing to kick the corpse.
Yes, as many have pointed out, the records of Harbaugh and Hoke, to this point in their tenures, are exactly even at 24-7, in fact, Hoke actually went 2-4 in the rivalry games while Harbaugh went 1-5 in the same. The rumors of Wolverine dominance were way overblown.
Can anyone seriously argue that the program as a whole is not 100% better than where it was under Hoke? Recruiting is better, the talent is better, the energy is better, nearly everything is better except for the fact that beating Sparty and Buckeye continues to be an elusive dream. So as I sat Saturday night and downed another Bourbon and watched the season slip away, I was struck by the fact that it did hurt. Unlike the Hoke era where I had lost hope, I did still hold out hope that the defense would do it, that the offense would somehow make a play to turn it around, that Eddie McDoom would....oops.
I will admit to being slightly mystified as to why Harbaugh, another in the long-line of "quarterback gurus" in coaching cannot seem to find a competent QB to run this offense. I'm also not entirely sold on the offensive line, which is more sieve than solid and seems to have trouble both in the run game and passing game against even mediocre schools. And the play calling, my goodness. Why do you continually try and throw the ball into a monsoon? Especially when you consider the team is loaded at Running Back and should have been able to just plow down Sparty to score at least one more TD.
Next week is Indiana, which should be a win, before Penn State and Saquon Barkley come to town. Looking at the remaining schedule it appears that, barring a big upset somewhere, 8-4 is the likely finish, and some minor bowl game against some Group of 5 school that's going to be way more fired up than we. Currently the team is ranked #17 in the most recent round of polls. I think that's about right. It should be better however.
Last week the FIVE went 3-2 which improved my season record to 10-13-2. For the Bet the Rent Newsletter I went 1-1, bringing my season record to 8-3, for a total published picks record of 18-16-2. Not world beating, but not half bad.
Some other random thoughts....
1. Clemson is the best team in the country full stop.
2. Alabama should have beaten aTm by more, but the Aggies did them selves justice by hanging around.
3. Ooooh U. Not only does their loss severely damage their CFP hopes, but it dings Ohio State as well. Right now it looks as if TCU is the standard bearer for the conference. Who saw that in the cards?
4. This just in: UCF is really good.
5. This also in: The Pac-12 is not very good this year.
6. Speaking of bad conferences, outside of Alabama, Georgia and possibly Auburn the SEC is a hot-mess.
Conference Rankings: (After week 6)
3. Big XII
7. Mountain West
8. Conference USA
Tomorrow I'm planning on talking about my first Top 10 of the season. There are some teams in there that will be higher than you think and some that will be lower.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go drink some brain bleach to get the taste of Michigan's Saturday night game out of my system.