Michigan Football: 3 Things Standing in the Way of a Big Ten Championship

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIApril 23, 2014

Michigan has enough talent to compete for Big Ten titles.
Michigan has enough talent to compete for Big Ten titles.USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has 42 Big Ten championships, the most of any team in the league (Ohio State is No. 2 with 34). However, the Wolverines haven't claimed the top of the standings in 10 years, and their past six seasons have been especially unbearable. 

Team 135's mission in life is to end the drought and give Brady Hoke his first taste of conference supremacy. Now entering his fourth season, Hoke's been a bystander, not a participant, as Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State continue to perch at the peak. 

Growing pains? Yes. Things not going as planned? That too. 

"But this is MichiganFerGodSakes." 

There are a few obstacles hindering progress. The following issues are among the most pressing. 


Taking Charge

AD or Big Brother?
AD or Big Brother?Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Don't feel bad for thinking that Hoke doesn't have 100 percent control of the program.

You're not alone. 

Athletic Director Dave Brandon is hands-on, although he's insisted that Hoke is the man calling the shots. However, after the firing of Al Borges and subsequent hiring of Doug Nussmeier, legions of maize and blue fans began to question leadership. 

It wasn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last.

Michigan's football coach should be more than a figurehead. History and tradition make up vital parts of the Wolverines program, but there comes a time when the present and future must be the focus. The guy holding the job today should be A1. 

That doesn't always seem to be the case. 

Parody Twitter accounts such as @CoachBrandonAD only highlight the disdain and restless nature of the Wolverines' fanbase, which is growing tired of the jokes, excuses and "my-bads." 

Brandon was a part of three league-champion teams under Bo Schembechler. He has the lineage and the bloodline. In March of 2010, he grabbed the reins of the athletic department, giving hope for brighter days and the eventual return of the "victors." 

Still waiting. Brandon has a great business mind. He knows how to run a department. 

But let Hoke and his staff do their job. And if that doesn't work, hire personnel who can handle the load. An AD shouldn't make more football-related headlines than the coaches. 

Back in November, Brandon had to remind the public who wore the pants, via press release on MGoBlue.com.

Brady Hoke is our coach and will be leading our football program well into the future. There is no question about it. Brady has done a great job rebuilding the program and reshaping the culture to the level it was under coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr. Anyone making efforts to stir up a coaching controversy at Michigan is ill-informed and is likely promoting a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of Michigan Football.

No coaching controversy. Not yet. No personal agendas, either. Just perception. Hoke often appears as a second fiddle. 


Getting Beaten 

Tough up front hasn't been a trademark of Michigan, not lately. The offensive line has been the topic of hot discussion for two years. The Wolverines haven't had a reliable center since David Molk, and they're losing two senior left tackles. 

And other than a select few, not many youngsters have experience in the trenches. They'll be called upon this fall, that's for certain. 

You've heard this one before: Devin Gardner was sacked 34 times in 2013. Repeat: Devin Gardner was sacked 34 times in 2013. 

O-lines like that don't serve as foundations for championship-caliber teams. They just don't. 


Negative Headlines

Graham Glasgow broke the rules.
Graham Glasgow broke the rules.Gene J. Puskar

Every team deals with not-so-positive publicity. It goes with the territory. Regardless of what school they attend, athletes aren't perfect role models and choirboys. Nope. They're human and they make mistakes. 

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, a few of their own have been subject of media (and sometimes legal) scrutiny. 

Graham Glasgow is the most recent offender. On March 20, he was temporarily suspended for violations of team rules. Hoke hit Glasgow with a spring vacation and announced that he'd sit out during the home opener vs. Appalachian State.

On April 23, Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press reported that Glasgow will be charged on May 19 with drunken driving. 

Connect the dots.

Before that, Taylor Lewan, following the 42-41 loss to Ohio State, was accused of fighting a Buckeyes fan in Ann Arbor. He was scheduled to appear in court this month, but his arraignment was pushed back to May 19, per ESPN

That's a little more than a week later than the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Before that, there was Brendan Gibbons, a kicker who was accused of sexually assaulting a female student in 2009. Words have been few and far between. The silence certainly doesn't bode well for Michigan, either. 

Students protested the handling of the case, per MLive.com.

Unfortunately, these types of incidents happen at major universities everywhere. It's not a Michigan problem, it's a problem in general. 

But the Wolverines could certainly do without the nonsense. 


Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81