Michigan on Verge of Epic Collapse, Few Seasons Compare

Jay NicolsCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 24:  Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 24, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by  Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Michigan heads into Saturday afternoon's game against Ohio State hoping to get a second win in the Big Ten. Losing the game would make this the third-worst conference record in Michigan history, one that can only be rivaled by the '30s.

We can look back to Bennie Oosterbaan who went 1-5-1 in 1958, his last year as head coach and Bump Elliott, who went 1-6 in 1962. Lloyd Carr's teams went 5-3 three times as did Gary Moeller's. Bo's teams went 5-3 in 1987 and 5-4 in 1984, that's not bad, but bad for them. Those records were nothing like that of Harry Kipke's '34 and '36 teams.

In 1932 and 1933, Michigan won the National Championship under Kipke.  In 1934, his Michigan football team went 0-6 in conference and 1-7 overall, being outscored 143-21. And again in 1936, they went 0-5 in conference and 1-7 overall with 36 points scored for and 127 points against.

After the 1937 season he resigned, but not after he recruited and convinced Tom Harmon to come to and stay at Michigan. Harmon went on to win the first ever Heisman Trophy for the University of Michigan.

During the 1934 season, Michigan lost to Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern by a combined score of 98-12. The 1936 team went win-less and was outscored 66-13 in the last four games against Illinois, Penn, Northwestern, and Ohio State.

Sound familiar?

The 2009 Wolverines have lost the last four games by a combined score of 156-83. In those games, Michigan was outscored in the second half, 99-19. That stat shows just how bad the defense is in the second half and how inept the offense has been. 

Halftime adjustments seem to be a thing of the past for the Michigan football team. In the first four games of the season, Michigan was outscoring their opponents 57-31 in the second halves.

The team lost two close games to Michigan State and Iowa, and have pulled off the most disgusting displays of defensive football anyone has ever seen at Michigan since.

Rich Rodriguez's transition is a work in progress, I know very cliche, but it is the truth. His offense, as inept as it has been, has scored 281 points through 10 games (I don't count Delaware St.).The opponents have scored 303 points.

Last year, the offense scored 243 points through 12 games while the opponents were allowed to score 347 points. Even if you add the scrimmage against DSU, they would have 344 points, showing progress.

It's the defense that has let them down most of the time. Robinson, however, needs at least one more year to implement his system, but he needs players to get it going.

Until Michigan starts to cater to the defensive side of the ball and bulk up the lines, they will continue to struggle stopping teams from scoring.

If they continue to change defensive coordinators, it would just become worse. As poor as the defense has been the second half of the last four games, you can't make another change.

It is necessary to keep these guys in place telling the kids, let's get this fixed. It does no good to can coaches and change schemes every year. I believe it is imperative to stay the course so Michigan can rid themselves of these horrible loses.

Listening to horrible sports talk radio in Detroit, I hear 'so called' Michigan fans hoping for an OSU blow out on Saturday to rid them of Rich Rodriguez. If a fan wishes that, they're not a true fan. I'm sorry, but you just don't do that.

It makes me sick to my stomach to hear such unsavory vitriol coming from the mouths of these faux fans about the Maize and Blue.

Yes, it's been a difficult couple of years. Yes, Michigan is losing at a rate that hasn't been seen in seven decades. Yes, Michigan could finish in last place in conference play for the first time in decades.

But as bad as that is, Michigan fans should never, and I mean never, root for Ohio State, let alone to beat Michigan.

On Nov. 15, 1934, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that "Kipke Plans Big Surprise for Buckeyes." Kipke had two secret practices the week before that game to work on the defense. He lost the game 34-0.

I hope Rodriguez and Robinson have a better plan to stop Ohio State.

They will need to go 'All In' with the playbook this week to pull off a much-needed victory for the program.