If you are an Ohio State football fan, you naturally pay attention to what is happening with That Team Up North. If you’ve been doing that this year, you know it’s not a pretty picture.
Three weeks ago the Wolverines were crushed by Notre Dame, 31-0, in the last currently scheduled game of a long and storied rivalry. Last week they got pasted, at home, by Utah, 26-10. And yesterday they were crushed — again at home — by Minnesota, 30-14. Michigan now stands 2-3 for the season, and they haven’t even played any of the Big Ten’s power teams (to the extent that the Big Ten has any power teams this year, which admittedly is a very debatable proposition).
Michigan’s offensive statistics are abysmal. They are 104th in the BCS in the points scored category and 108th in passing yards. The fan base is up in arms, Michigan’s home sellout string is at risk, and there are rumors of growing discord in the locker room. To make matters worse, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke seems overwhelmed, confused, and absolutely clueless about how to fix the problems. Yesterday Hoke continued to play a wobbly and apparently injured player, which causes some fans to wonder whether he’s paying attention and whether he’s really got the players’ best interests at heart.
Michigan’s woes have been going on for years, since the end of the Lloyd Carr era. Two bad coaching hires, and resulting years of bad records and frustrating losses, have left a once-premier program teetering on the brink. It just shows you how, in college football, the line between dominance and mediocrity is a thin one. A bad hire, a few lean recruiting years, and any elite program could be suffering mighty Michigan’s embarrassing fate.