Another season spent on the outside looking in
With year two of the Harbaugh era just one game away from being complete, the Wolverines will miss out on yet another chance to compete for a national title in the college football playoff race. This year’s playoff picture, which many had thought would feature Michigan, will be headlined by number one Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and number four Washington, leaving Coach Harbaugh and company left outside to be observers from the number six spot.
The Michigan Wolverines will be headed to Miami to compete in the Capitol One Bowl against the 9-3 Florida State Seminoles. The trip makes it the 16th time in program history that the Wolverines will have played a bowl game in the state of Florida.
The Wolverines and the Noles have played just twice before, and will be ready to rematch and settle the score in a game that is just that…a rematch. No potential two game stretch, no chance of dethroning Ohio State, and no chance of becoming the 2016 national champions. The game’s a mere consolation prize for the Wolverines at best. Sure Coach Harbaugh and the Wolverines improved from last year’s season, but if you’re on that star studded team that managed to stay within the top four teams in college football from week one, having to settle for the 6th ranked team while watching a less deserving Washington take that number four spot has to hurt.
As a fan, it goes beyond being overlooked for a Washington team who in my opinion isn’t ready for the wrath of Bama, but the fact they put Penn State at the five spot. I mean yea they won the Big Ten championship, but everyone in their right minds knows that the real Big Ten championship was played November 26 in Columbus. What’s done is done, and can’t be changed, but something just doesn’t seem right about the number four selection.
Sure you can’t take anything away from either of the two teams, but let’s be real here, are we as college football fans really content with putting a watered down PAC 12 conference champion against a well-established Alabama team led by the mastermind himself, Nick Saban? In what ways is Washington more equipped than Michigan to face the monster out of Tuscaloosa?
Prior to the playoff selection, the only thing on the front of my mind was whether or not the Wolverines would make it in, now that they’re not, I’m now questioning whether or not the team will be “all in” come December 31. As stated before, this Michigan team is loaded with NFL talent that’s ready to progress the next chapters of their football careers as soon as this game is over. Now I don’t really believe that Harbaugh will have a challenge getting his guys to stay focused and buy into the task at hand for one last time, but it’s certainly something to think about.
Michigan moving from four to five to six is definitely an eye opener and somewhat of a humbling experience I’m sure. But who’s to say that next year’s team won’t have what it takes to make the push and potentially seal the deal on a playoff spot and maybe contend for a national title come year three under Coach Harbaugh. Until then, only time will tell and for right now, it’s Go Blue, and beat FSU.