Let's Face It, Jim Harbaugh And Michigan Aren't Even Close To Alabama

Let's Face It, Jim Harbaugh And Michigan Aren't Even Close To Alabama

After the embarrassing defeat to Ohio State, now everyone can see the gap between Michigan and the elite college football programs.

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To put it plain and simple Michigan's loss to Ohio State was one of the most embarrassing performances I've ever seen from a top-five team. All season long everyone was talking about how this was the year Jim Harbaugh and Michigan finally break through into the College Football Playoff. How this year was Harbaughs most talented team and how they had the best defense in the country. And all of these claims were thrown in a blender and flushed down the toilet after OU absolutely beat the breaks off them 62-39.

I just hope that after that game everyone can realize that Harbaugh and Michigan aren't the powerhouses that everyone fools themselves to believe. That's not to say that it's a bad program or that he's a bad coach. Michigan is much better off now than they were five years ago, but the idea that by just having Harbaugh on your sidelines justifies you as one of the big players for the playoff is preposterous. In order to be considered among the best you have to produce and to a certain degree, he hasn't.

Since Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines have gone 38-13, pretty good right? But the most important record is his 0-4 record against the Buckeyes which is the biggest thing holding him back. In order to contend for a championship, you have to literally beat your rivals. Maybe not every season but you've got to at least split with them. Instead, Michigan is 1-14 in the last 15 meetings against Ohio State. Maybe you didn't hear me. THEY ARE 1-14 AGAINST OHIO STATE IN THE LAST 15 YEARS. That's bad. The last time the Wolverines won OU was 6-7 and still only lost by 5 points.

Maybe the reason why Michigan was able to fool us this year was that the Big 10 just wasn't that great this year. Penn State was a one-man show, Michigan States quarterback threw like he had no thumbs, Wisconsin stunk and then Ohio State had a zillion interior issues along with a bad defense. Then there was Michigan, a team with a below average offense and a defense that stat padded against crappy offenses.

Another thing people like to leave out when talking about Michigan this season was their loss to Notre Dame in the first game of the year. Sure the Fighting Irish have gone on to have an undefeated season and have basically clinched a spot in the playoff. But I'd argue that every game Notre Dame played made Michigan look worse and worse. They struggled against teams like Ball State, Vanderbilt, Pitt, Northwestern and USC. All of which have had average seasons at best. And the worst part of it all, Notre Dame had beaten Michigan while essentially playing their backup quarterback who could barely throw.

In my opinion, Michigan and its fans need to seriously readjust their expectations for its football team. They haven't been truly relevant since the '90s and that was like 4 coaches ago. If you couldn't win the Big 10 this season when Ohio State was at its weakest, then it may never happen. My advice, just look forward to basketball season.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Anaheim Ducks Are In A World Of Pain

The Ducks have now lost 19 out of their last 21 games amidst a multitude of problems and a rebuild may be at its beginning stages after Randy Carlyle's firing from head coach.

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On December 17, 2018, the Anaheim Ducks had just defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road 4-2, and sat in a playoff spot with a 19-11-5 record, good for 43 points and 2nd in the Pacific Division. Since then, the Ducks have lost 19 out of their last 21 games, going 2-15-4 during that stretch, now sitting at 21-26-9 and 51 points on February 12th, eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. After their last loss, head coach Randy Carlyle was finally axed and general manager Bob Murray stepped in as the interim coach. Many issues exist currently and for the foreseeable future in Anaheim, which could see its first sustained rebuild since the early 2000s, where the team missed the playoffs three years in a row.

One of the Ducks' bigger issues is the lack of goal scoring throughout the lineup. The leading player in goals is forward Jakob Silfverberg, with 12 in 47 games played. That's not enough for a team that is 56 games into the season. The overall points production is quite anemic too. Captain and center Ryan Getzlaf leads the club with 36 points in 50 games, and he is the only player with more than 30 points to this date.

Injuries are also factoring into the equation: center Adam Henrique and defenseman Brandon Montour are the only Ducks to have played in every game this season, with players such as forwards in Silfverberg, Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Ondrej Kase as well as defensemen Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm, and goaltender Ryan Miller all spending at least five games on the injured reserve.

With so many players in and out of the lineup, not to mention that most of the fill-ins are inexperienced at the NHL level, it is hard to develop any sort of chemistry for an extended period of time. Goaltender John Gibson has been unable to maintain grade A performance in net, as his save percentage is now at 0.914, below where he started the season. With all of this considered, the Ducks have a tough future ahead when considering their salary cap situation.

Perry and Getzlaf, both of who will turn 34 in May, have a cap hit of $8.625 and $8.25 million for the next two years after the 2018-19 season, while Kesler, who turns 35 in August, makes $6.825 million for the next 3 years after this season concludes. Perry has only played in five games this year due to injuries, Getzlaf's production is declining and not up to par with how much he is paid, and Kesler has only six points in 48 games, and he also only played in 44 games last season due to injuries, scoring just 14 points.

These expensive contracts are untradeable unless they attach a younger asset in a trade, like prospects Sam Steel, Max Jones, Maxim Comtois, or Troy Terry. It is possible that Kesler and/or Perry will be bought out of their contracts in the offseason, meaning they will save money against the salary cap for the remainder of those contract years, but will have portions of that contract counting against the cap for a few years more.

Despite these bad contracts which currently prevent the Ducks from signing more than one big free agent, the aforementioned prospects will most likely see more substantial time in Anaheim next season, which could boost the club, but it is unlikely that any of them take the league by storm to make the Ducks a contender again. For this to happen, young forwards like Rakell, Kase, and Daniel Sprong will have to exceed expectations, while the defensive core will also need to step it up compared to their performance this, which makes them look overpaid.

As it stands, the Ducks are 4th in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery and could see a highly touted prospect come to Anaheim next year, but the current roster and prospect core will need bounce back seasons or the management group will be forced to blow up much of the roster, which would almost guarantee missing the playoffs again.

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