Pure Drivel: The Game and So On

We've posted a few things on these pages about The Game since Saturday afternoon. The initial post-game story to let you know that we were still alive. Game photos. Videos of various varieties. An appreciation piece to "New 98". Updated bowl projections/power rankings. And a quote from Brady Hoke that Gardner/the staff will all be back next year.

It's been three full business days since we've all gone back to our lives and doing whatever it is we all do. But I still feel like some words discussing the actual game need to be typed so I can get all these feels out. Let's go by topic.

The offense
No idea how you can go from the offensive performances against Akron, UConn, Michigan State, Nebraska and Iowa to what Michigan did against Notre Dame, Indiana and Ohio State. I can't do it. I don't posses that ability. I guess you could sum it up with the notion that youth is youth and it does weird things...plus football, college football especially is a game of emotion more than a game of x's and o's.

But Al Borges spent probably 9 of the 13 weeks of the season as the proverbial punching bag for the Michigan fan base...only to show up in week 13 and drop 600+ yards and 41 points on the #3 team in the country. Better play calling? I dunno, seemed about the same to me. Better execution? Absolutely.

Did he save his job with that game? Well, you gotta ask yourself...do you want to see a senior Devin Gardner, one year older Devin Funchess/Derrick Green/ De'Veon Smith and a more developed offensive line run that same offense next year? Especially after they all got to see first-hand what a real week of honest-to-goodness preparation can do for you?

Me too.

Look, I've never been a member of the #FireBorges fan club. As November rolled on, I did think it was inevitable considering what we were seeing on the field. But no OC at Michigan has had the level of scrutiny Borges has had. When Michigan's offense has prepared properly and come ready to play, Borges has delivered. I can be okay with that.

Hoke mentioned that he "didn't anticipate" any changes to the staff this offseason. Careful language there, which says to me that anything can happen. I'm sure some thought is being given and should the right candidate become available, things may happen very swiftly.

Going for 2
Like most of you, I had no problem with this decision. It's the right call when you have a quarterback with one good leg and you're defense can't stop anything. Michigan had Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes in their crosshairs and decided to pull the trigger. It was the right move.

The play itself wasn't the right call in retrospect. Of course you'd like to have seen Gardner sweep out to the right and open the field up a little more. The Buckeyes triple-covered Dileo basically, and that's right were Gardner was going. But again, 98 was a fraction of himself by that point, and Michigan still had the chance at the onside kick.

The defense
Michigan's young defense was gouged for big yards by an offense full of future NFL talent. Plain and simple. They got just enough stops to keep the game as close as it was, but in the second half the OSU scoring machine was firing on all cylinders.

We knew going in that Braxton Miller/Carlos Hyde was going to be the best 1-2 punch Michigan would face all year. Both of those guys can play. But Michigan was just outmanned on defense. Ohio State's 4 senior offensive linemen, minus the one ejected in the 2Q, dominated the front 7. For whatever reason, Michigan resorted to Thomas Gordon and Josh Furman at safety...which probably wasn't ideal to keep Braxton contained. The linebackers and defensive linemen weren't really out of position, they just couldn't shed their blocks.

But the fact that Gardner and offense were demoralizing the OSU defense at the same time made me care less about Michigan's defensive struggles. But if you go back and watch the tape, it's worse than you remember.

30,000 people wearing red
Alright, this topic is low hanging fruit and in the grand scheme of things, not a real factor in the game itself...but it should be noted that it was a sea of scarlet in the stands on Saturday. Original estimates said maybe 25-30,000 Ohio State fans would make the trip up to the Big House, and it certainly felt like it.

If you're a season ticket holder, I understand you want to make some money on your OSU tickets. That's been that way for years. That's how a lot of fans justify getting season tickets in the first place. And in today's open market, it's easier than ever to sell your seats. Even more so is it for ready fans to gobble them up on sites like Stubhub. You can't stop that, and not every season ticket holder knows UM fans who they can sell to. I get it.

This is where I had originally typed up this long, drawn out idea of a ticket buyback program and a UM-OSU ticket lottery system that was totally awesome and foolproof, except that it really wasn't.

I can bitch and moan about the sea of red in the stands last Saturday, and I will, but the only thing that will keep that from happening again is if Michigan isn't a 3-score underdog.

And while we're here, kudos to the student section for their noticeable lack of red. They get picked on a lot for showing up late, but in this instance, good work.

Bowl destinations?
We talked about this on Monday, but the consensus is that the Gator Bowl versus Georgia is the favorite at this current moment. That's assuming OSU goes to the BCS and Michigan State goes to the Rose Bowl. There is a groundswell of support for a possible Michigan-Texas matchup in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe...to which I'll add my vote.

At this point, I don't really care so much that Michigan plays on New Year's Day. It's worth a 10:15PM EST kickoff time in Arizona on Dec. 28th if it's against GERG and Texas.

Big House finales
Most already knew about the final games at Michigan Stadium for long-time equipment manager Jon Falk (40 years), former SID Bruce Madej (34 years), and radio broadcaster Frank Beckmann (33 years). But not everyone knew about two other guys whom gave called the pressbox home on football Saturdays.

Scoreboard operator Dave Kreske (35 years) celebrated his final game, and statistician Dave Drake has been keeping the stats for over 50 years from the pressbox. Here's the video of the halftime ceremony from the pressbox.

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