Ask Anthony: What is next for Michigan football?

Another year, another Buckeyes victory.

The Blade
Tue, 03 Dec 2019 14:29:30 GMT

Anthony Bellino — host of “The Morning Blitz” weekday mornings from 7 to 9 a.m. on Toledo’s Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA — answers questions weekly for The Blade. His opinions don’t necessarily represent those of The Blade. You can follow him on Twitter @ACBellino.

Blade sports writer Kyle Rowland asked Anthony: What is next for Michigan football?

Saturday. 56-27. Another year, another Buckeyes victory. Eight consecutive loses for the maize and blue. Three-and-17 against the scarlet and gray since 2000, and back-to-back years for Michigan fans suffering obliteration. In the last two games against the Buckeyes, the Wolverines have surrendered 118 points, 1,144 yards, and proved the gap between these programs is wider than the Red Sea.

Since we started this weekly Q&A, Michigan and Ohio State have been the topic on multiple occasions, and for good reason. They’re the two most popular teams in the region. In my neighborhood (Washington Local), on one side of the street is a Michigan flag. On the other? A larger than life inflatable Brutus. I have tried to be as open and honest with you as I can. I said a couple months ago that this is the greatest 20-year stretch in Ohio State’s program history. Look it up. I’m not lying. Last week, I compared OSU taking the field to the first tank witnessed by a horseback cavalry unit in World War I. And in today’s world, it makes it 10 times worse for Michigan fans having to suffer through this in the age of the 24-hour sports news cycle, social media, and a current trend of “when the going gets tough, run for the hills.”

Ohio State proved this past week that they are who we thought they were (RIP Denny Green). The Buckeyes are a national championship contender. They are a College Football Playoff-or-bust program. They are the class of the Big Ten.

But what about Michigan?

Michigan is what most reasonable people thought they were, an upper-tier Big Ten team, one that can compete with Penn State, but is nowhere close to Ohio State.

You can look to some of the obvious miscues by the Wolverines on Saturday to place blame. The offsides on the Ohio State punt that extended their drive. The shoe debacle that was a 15-yard personal foul. Shea Patterson’s fumble in the red zone. A late hit on Justin Fields out of bounds. A dropped touchdown pass in the end zone. Plenty to go around, right?

But that’s just it. You may be able to survive those mistakes against a Michigan State or an Indiana. But you have to play perfect ball against the Buckeyes to even have a chance.

That’s the difference.

What mishaps could Ohio State overcome? We don’t really know, because they didn’t make them.

That is the difference.

So what happens next? First things first, Michigan must show up to their bowl game. A 45-15 blowout loss like last year against Florida is an absolute disaster. That can’t happen. Bowl game, 10 wins, address the offseason. Can a 10-win season be a success, even with that 0-5 vs. Ohio State hanging over head coach Jim Harbaugh’s resume?

What’s next for Michigan? Basketball!

But, in all seriousness, what’s next for Michigan football is going to be a deep dive into the soul of the program. Players, coaches, support staff, scheme, philosophy, everything. Everything has to be on the table for discussion, because this current reign of Buckeyes terror has to stop. Something has got to slow this avalanche of sadness. What’s next for Michigan might be the most important offseason in program history.

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