You will hear a lot of sound if and when Michigan turns the Penn State on Saturday, as expected that…
You will hear a lot of sound if and when Michigan turns the Penn State on Saturday, as expected that Jim Harbaugh has the right idea of real football. That his scrimmage-based idea of the game, the football clock returned to an easier and harder time, is how to play and his style will have been directed.
I think you also hear scattered conversations for James Franklin’s head. That his team is not physical enough that they do not play football without playing a soft game of fame that belongs in a football stadium or on a track and field meeting. And that the game was a referendum on his idea of football.
It’s all going to be gibberish. And I’ll tell you why:
What you see with Michigan football now is as good as it will be. Under Harbaugh, Wolverines will never maximize his weapons on crime and will never cut his quarterback resolve. They will not be able to win games in different ways, just their way. I have seen this movie earlier under Bo Schembechler. And Harbaugh is his willing fun, his twin style.
And what you see from Penn State is an unfinished product with a higher ceiling. I do not know if Franklin can handle it. But I know that if he does, there will be a versatile way to play where the team can run and pass efficiently, defend both the air and the ground and beat you in different ways.
The former is the way football has been played. The latter is the way it will be. That’s how championships will be won.
Franklin has already won one. Maybe Harbaugh will have his year.
I’m quite famous around the league for my claim when Harbaugh was employed 3 1
/2 years since he would never win a Big Ten title, no less a national championship. My rationale was that with three completed, but different coaches with different styles within their own division – Franklin, Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio – it would be difficult for him to win East only. I also knew his story as a strange man to work for and the high turnover within his staffs and doubted that he could ever build a consistent machine.
In summary, I thought that Harbaugh’s old school methodology would never be versatile to both negotiate East and then overcome the West’s champion in Indianapolis. I saw Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern and thought, someone’s will always get him. Because he is so predictable that someone will calculate him every year at exactly the wrong time.
Well, here we are quite freaky with everyone else in Big Ten, probably Michigan is the favorite to beat who is standing in front of them for the rest of the year. Who knew?
Penn State and Ohio State have contracted the same suffering at the same time – lack of physicality and ability to tackle defense and irregular running crashes. I can not see either to beat Michigan this year both teams are bad matchups.
Michigan State is a virtual hospital with generational injuries in a season. “Little Brother” has to beat “Big Brother” in his own game and it was not possible this year. The 21-7 result in East Lansing was a non-competition.
Among possible Westmasters: Iowa is physically enough to hang out with Michigan but has a schizoid quarterback that can show as a full blood one week and a claim to the next. Wisconsin has been paralyzed by injuries where they could least afford it – in the midst of their defense and at the quarterback. Upstart Purdue is much better and has offensive speed but still plays 2 stars in spots where Michigan has 4s and 5s. Northwestern was hanging out with Michigan in three quarters but did not have firepower to finish the job.
Nobody is very good, all at once. Michigan’s best fall under Harbaugh is jibing exactly with a historically bad year in the league. It seems like I can get my bowls.
Fine. My greater statement persists. Just because Harbaugh’s methods happen to work this year in this league does not mean at all that his approach is the right in the long run.
Furthermore, I think if Michigan meets an advanced and fully-featured crime in the College Football Playoff like it has not seen in an off-year Big Ten and is in a shootout, it will completely turn out. Michigan can not beat you in such a game and never want to.
Harbaugh is Schembechler Reincarnate. If a domino or two unexpectedly falls over Michigan in the CFP rankings, and in some way it is in # 2 or # 3 instead of # 4 and suddenly is angry, says Oklahoma? Bad style for Wolverines to fight.
Below the line in Big Ten, Ohio State and Penn State is clearly heading for a more modern football model that can play against such an opponent. It is a trend that does not diminish.
Now, Penn State needs to recruit better and continue adding talent in both lines? Yes, but I think it’s coming. And when it does, the lions will be far closer to a complete team than Michigan wants. Because Harbaugh will still have a mindset in the 1980s, even during coaching 2020 talent.
Then see what seems to be an inevitable result on Saturday with a calm eye toward the future.
To beat Michigan, you must check the game on the ground on both sides. The Nittany Lion can not do it this year. Neither can Buckeyesna. But both have.
Penn State did last year and come again. And when it does, it will always have the advantage over Michigan. Because the rest of his package will focus on the future of football rather than past.
EMAIL / TWITTER DAVID JONES: [email protected]