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Michigan over Ohio State 2023

Wow, there is a lot to unpack in this post, so forgive me, and stay with me, I’ll try to be relatively brief.

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to Doug Karsch and Jon Jansen, the Michigan football radio broadcast crew. It is their show now, and at the end of the victory over Ohio State last week, Doug invited me to join in on the end of the game with the last call. It was a classy gesture, and one I will never forget. My deepest respect for the lasting memory you helped create for me.

Wasn’t the game the absolute best? A great deal has been written since the clock struck zero in Ann Arbor on the Michigan 30-24 victory, their third straight over the Buckeyes. I’ve read a lot of it too. I have found it interesting how so many avenues of analysis have been plowed since the win. Look, I get it, this win means a lot. Given all the drama surrounding the Harbaugh suspension and yada, yada, yada…the good vs evil card was being played everywhere. Because of all of that, in my eyes, this victory is sweeter than most over Ohio State.

All the pundits who thought it was open hunting season on Harbaugh and Michigan don’t have a soapbox to stand on anymore. They may still try to take their shots but, nobody will listen. I can’t think of a better way to silence your critics than to make them irrelevant, and Michigan’s win did just that.

With what has been thrown at this football team this year, I think team 144 has solidified its standing in Michigan football history as a special team. In my opinion, I have never seen a team overcome the obstacles hurled at them from every direction and come through as tough and unbowed as this team.

People like to bring up how distractions can negatively effect a football team or a group that is striving towards a goal. Total focus is required to achieve the goal, and distractions are not favorable. I believe, to some degree, that is true. But a great deal depends on the group that is dealing with the distraction. This team has proven its laser focused, and collectively mature beyond what anyone might have expected. And, here’s why Harbaugh and his staff should get a great deal of credit for this team and its ability to handle all the noise from the outside.

You recruit character. You recruit leaders. You recruit players who care about the team. You recruit these traits in great players. You develop and coach relationships amongst the players. If you’ve got the right young men, and the right coaches, who all believe in the message, you get a team that plays for each other. You get a team that understands what it takes to win. You get a team that pulls for their teammates and not for themselves. In every post-game interview with one of these wolverine players you hear them say, “my guys.” They mean it. Jim Harbaugh has been the architect of that dynamic, and that should never be overlooked. These young men make it happen, but it’s the head coach and the staff that plant the seed. Family grows from that.

I am just so very proud of this group. And that includes Sherrone Moore, who is a superstar by the way, and the entire coaching staff who pulled together in an incredible way. This staff is as impressive as the young men they coach.  I really want them to go on from here to even greater things, but even if they don’t, this will be one of the most memorable years of Michigan football.

Finally, a last couple comments on the Ohio State victory. One officiating non-issue. I heard some noise about the Roman Wilson TD catch that made it a 14-3 game in the second quarter was “controversial.”  Without a doubt, the catch was a TD and to suggest otherwise is completely wrong. Roman had control of the ball as he crossed the plane of the endzone line…at that point it’s a TD and the play is over. If the Ohio State guy takes the ball after they are both in the end zone it doesn’t matter. It was an incredible throw by McCarthy, and a fabulous focused catch by Wilson and a TD on every day that ends in “Y.” So, that’s the final word on that one.

There is so much noise around a game like this, and everyone, especially from Ohio State, would like to find a reason why they lost. The excuse artists are all over the place. Here’s my take on that. And everyone that wants to play the excuse game should ponder this one. Under the most difficult of circumstances from outside distractions, this team prevailed. Maybe,…just maybe, Michigan is better! You don’t have to overthink it. Michigan is better! The proof was on the big scoreboard at the end of the game. Michigan 30, Ohio State 24. Cry all want, search for reasons all you want, but forever in the history books, it will read Michigan 30, Ohio State 24. Michigan is better and has been for the last three years.

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