After one of the greatest games in the history of the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry, all Jim Harbaugh could do was whine about the officials. Sure, he’s probably crushed by this loss. His Wolverines were playing a great game until they blew it in the fourth quarter and in overtime. But this classless display of whining after the game will stick with Harbaugh for a while. He comes across as a baby.
We expected this incredible rivalry to heat up again after Jim Harbaugh arrived in Columbus, and today’s game lived up to the hype with #2 Ohio State defeating #3 Michigan in double overtime.
This has to be a crushing loss for Michigan, as their defense stuffed the Buckeyes for most of the day. But Ohio State made the big plays when needed and JT Barrett shook off a miserable first half to come up with clutch plays down the stretch. The Buckeyes have now won 12 of the last 13 games, and Harbaugh is now 0-2 versus Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. The rivalry is back in the spotlight with this instant classic, but the Buckeyes still have bragging rights.
Jim Harbaugh whined like a baby about the officiating after the game. Perhaps he realized this was his best shot with a senior-heavy lineup, while the young Buckeyes have been playing many freshmen and sophomores. Ohio State will be even tougher to beat next year!
There was plenty of hype leading up to this game, and frankly it was justified. While Michigan has been a miserable mess against Ohio State since Jim Tressel arrived at the beginning of this millennium, things were poised to become more interesting with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh.
Ohio State is the reigning national champ, and Urban Meyer is now the king of the hill in Columbus, but Harbaugh gave Michigan fans hope.
Many thought it might take a couple of years for Harbaugh to compete with the Buckeyes, but as this season progressed, attitudes started to change. The Buckeyes were sleepwalking through their schedule, while Michigan rolled off three straight shutouts. Suddenly, many of the talking heads started calling Michigan the best team in the Big Ten.
Then Michigan State spoiled some of the hype. They miraculously beat Michigan on a wild final play, and then stunned Ohio State last weekend with some serious defense and an assist from Ohio State’s coaching staff.
Still, this was shaping up to be an epic battle that would kick off a new phase in the iconic rivalry. Would we have another ten-year war reminiscent of Woody and Bo?
Here’s a quote from Joe Montana:
You can read the article for more context, as Montana is discussing how he likes the game of Colin Kaepernick but sees room for improvement. Kapernick is part of the new wave of mobile quarterbacks, but give him and head coach Jim Harbaugh credit as they have tried to limit how often Kaepernick takes off and runs. He’s starting to look more like a young John Elway as opposed to a “running quarterback” like year one RG3.
But as Montana points out, the most important part of a quarterback’s game involves throwing in the pocket, and particularly the ability to make the right throw accurately under pressure. This is where many young quarterbacks struggle, but it can be even more difficult to develop this skill for mobile quarterbacks who take off running when the pressure gets too hot, as opposed to shifting in the pocket and making the big throw. Relying on scrambling will cause a quarterback to leave some big throws on the field, limiting some big plays.
We’ll see if Kaepernick or Russell Wilson can actually win a Super Bowl. One of them will be matched up against a classic pocket passer in either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. And yes, the game is changing and we’re seeing more mobile quarterbacks. But Montana is pointing out a critical element for ultimate success in the NFL, and this gives us some perspective as we enjoy the rest of the NFL playoff season.
After a typical NFL season with all sorts of surprises and countless ups and downs, we end up with four teams left standing who many would list as the four best teams in the NFL. New England pounded Indianapolis with the running game as LeGarrette Blount ran wild for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns, giving the rest of the NFL the blessing of not having to listen to Jim Irsay any more this season. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning and the Broncos took care of business against upstart San Diego last night to set up another Peyton Manning/Tom Brady matchup for a trip to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, on the NFC side, San Francisco took care of Cam Newton and the Panthers while Seattle won a slugfest against Drew Brees and the Saints.
Anyone looking forward to next week already can check out the early NFL odds at online sportsbooks as Denver is a 5-point favorite at home versus New England and Seattle is a 3.5-point favorite at home versus San Francisco. Not only do we have 4 excellent teams, but we have some serious rivalries as well which makes these games even more interesting and also complicated to pick. We have the Manning/Brady matchup, though now Manning is wearing Denver orange. Can Tom Brady and the Pats take another championship run away from Manning in a season where Manning shattered the record books? Does New England’s new-found running game alter the analysis here?
Also, with Seattle and San Francisco we have one of the more physical and bitter rivalries in the NFL, with a deeper rivalry between coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll as well that’s been going on since their Stanford/USC days. Seattle has owned the 49ers in Seattle and has frankly overpowered them. But San Francisco has improved dramatically from early in the season with Colin Kaepernick playing much better. Also, Russell Wilson hasn’t been playing quite as well, and look for the 49ers to stack the box and dare Wilson to throw deep. We’ll see which young quaterback emerges this week.
Regardless of the results next week, we should have an epic Super Bowl on our hands with contrasting styles, as the AFC has two traditional teams with classic drop-back passers while the NFC teams feature younger, more mobile quarterbacks. This should be fun!