Playing for Bragging Rights; 10 Win Season on the Line for Michigan

8-3 Michigan’s prior narrow, division title hopes were officially crushed on Saturday as undefeated Wisconsin put away the Wolverines by two touchdowns in Madison. The game was 14-10 at the point of the Michigan offense losing their freshman quarterback, Brandon Peters, for the remainder of the game. After Peters was carted off the field, so was Michigan’s shot at offensive ball movement; the game took on a final score if 24-10 in favor of the home team.

Not many expected Michigan to win last Saturday, the game very well could have had a different outcome had Michigan been able to keep their quarterback, but to put it shortly: the better football team most definitely won.

Michigan’s expectations for this season were up in the air depending on your confidence in the coaching staff as some were predicting a playoff run, few were saying a 7-8 win season, and others were saying anything in between. When any college program loses over 40 seniors and returns 5 or less starters, it’s really a hit or miss season.

One thing Michigan has at least done so far in 2017, with the exception of the MSU game, they’ve beaten every team they were expected to beat. That doesn’t mean we can ignore the obvious shortcomings: something this program has struggled with in recent seasons primarily is winning the big games; Michigan is 0-16 in road games against ranked teams since 2006.

Michigan might not even crack top three in their own division to end the season, which isn’t a good look. In their slight defense, the Big Ten East is about as tough as a college football division can get. Nevertheless, the highest paid coach in the conference, Jim Harbaugh, should be able to finish better than third or fourth in a division in three seasons right? He’ll get just one more pass for a disappointing conference finish, but excuses are running thin come next season.

What’s next for Michigan? What is left for this nightmare of a season?

  • A chance to beat your rival, something this program and fan-base needs like none other.
  • Win a bowl game.
  • Opportunity to win 10 games for the third consecutive seasons.
  • Showcase what fans can expect come 2018-19.

Much like last Saturday, Michigan will be an Vegas underdog; Ohio State opened as a 13 point favorite in Ann Arbor.

Uncertain of who will be under center on Saturday, Harbaugh just announced today that Peters is in concussion protocol and could potentially be out of protocol by Wednesday or Thursday, or not at all, it’s up to the doctors. We will find out more information on Peters as the week progresses, chance to play is “hopeful”. Wilton Speight’s status is doubtful for Saturday, was cleared for non-contact last week. Harbaugh also said that Lavert Hill was cleared for practice this week.

The Buckeyes are coming off two blowout wins over a respected MSU team (48-3) and over Illinois (52-14). Michigan hasn’t scored more than 36 points in any game this season, they’ll look to their defense as an asset to keep them in the game on Saturday. A healthy Brandon Peters can potentially lower the line for the game, the freshman QB gives this Michigan offense a better chance to open up the passing game.

Despite having their primary goals out of reach yet again for the season, there’s still plenty motivation for this Michigan team to come out fired up this Saturday and for the bowl season. The confidence is scarce, but Jim Harbaugh has pulled off major, statistical upsets at prior coaching jobs.

A lot of this team still has fond memory and a bad taste in their mouths from what some players and many fans feel was an officiating wrong-doing in Columbus a season ago, rivalries can give teams a newfound motivation to up their play and execute.

 

 

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How Michigan was Emotionally Propelled Into a Big Ten Tournament Championship 

The past five days for the Michigan Wolverines Basketball team has been nothing but a great story to tell to their kids someday. 

On Sunday the Wolverines were crowned the Big Ten Tournament Champions, as the highest seed to ever do so. Handling the 24th ranked Wisconsin Badgers in convincing fashion in front of a crowd of just over 20 thousand. 


It shall not go unforgotten that John Beilein’s Michigan team barely made it to D.C. to compete in the Big Ten Tournament, arriving at the Verizon Center around two hours prior to tip-off against the Fighting Illini of Illinois due to an early morning flight. Michigan had a very scary situation with their attempt to travel to D.C. on Wednesday due to a very severe wind storm going on in South-East Michigan.

“The Michigan men’s basketball team plane was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slid off the runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans.” -Matt Shepard of Fox Sports

Coach Beilein spoke to media regarding the incident shortly after releasing this short statement: “All okay! A few guys banged up and shook up. Blessed we did not get up in the air.” 

A situation like this one where things had potetional to inflict harm on multiple players, and staff members of the Michigan Basketball program, you have to imagine that they truly felt blessed to be alive. 

Some of the Michigan players were very skeptical about attempting to fly again the next day, however ultimately the team made the decision to take the trip to D.C early Thursday morning. 

Often enough, when people suffer through an experience similar to the Wolverines’ plane incident, they tend to have somewhat of a different perception of life. In my personal narrative, I believe that is exactly what happened to this basketball team on Wednesday. 

Not only did John Beilein’s hoop squad win the next four games to win the Big Ten Tournament, but they also looked damn well in doing so. Due to the circumstances of what this team had experienced, I believe they had a different outlook on not only life, but the game of basketball as well. These players are now absorbing every aspect of life, and savoring every second of it. 

The 8 seeded Wolverines were out these past four days returning to the simplest, purest form of basketball possible. Every player out to play as if it was their last game they’ll ever play again. Zero distractions, and feeling incredibly blessed to live another day, to play another game. 

Four days, four victories, one Big Ten Tournament title for Michigan. As I said before, I believe that this group of young men was emotionally propelled into the spot they are in now.  

Receiving a 7 seed in the NCAA tournament to take on Oklahoma State in the first round.

I wish nothing but the best of luck to John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines as they hope to continue their magical journey in the ‘big dance’.