A great weekend of college football

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett dives into the end zone as the Buckeyes defeated Michigan Saturday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett dives into the end zone as the Buckeyes defeated Michigan Saturday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

ANN ARBOR — It was painfully obvious that Michigan still has a long way to go to be a championship-caliber team.

But despite being crushed by arch rival Ohio State in the regular season finale, I have to give credit to Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan coaching staff for the job they did in putting together a team that overachieved all season.

Before the year began, I know many of my Michigan friends were hoping just to have a .500 record.

I believed there was more talent there than people wanted to believe and I said the Wolverines would be 8-4 at worst.

But Michigan ran into an Ohio State team that was hurt and motivated Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor.

We all wondered where was the Buckeyes team which crushed Alabama and Oregon to win the national championship last season.

Well let me tell you, a loss to Michigan State the week before and the embarrassment that followed woke up the sleeping Buckeyes.

Michigan can still win 10 games this season with a victory in its bowl game.

That is a major accomplishment considering how pathetic the Wolverines looked the previous couple of seasons.

With the influx of new talent over the next couple of recruiting classes, I can easily see the Wolverines not only competing for Big Ten championships, but for national titles as well.

Since Michigan kicked off at noon and Michigan State at 3:30, I was only able to listen to the Spartans go after the East Division title on the radio as I made my way back home with photographer Amelio Rodriguez.

We had more than a vested interest in the outcome of the Michigan State-Penn State game as a Sparty victory would all but assure us of credentials to Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.

But more importantly, we were excited to hear that Michigan State was going to win its third division title in the last five years because the Spartans’ offensive line coach is Mark Staten from Dowagiac.

I wish I could have seen the look on his face as we listened to the broadcast of center Jack Allen rushing for a touchdown against the Nittany Lions.

We both got to meet Jack at the Big Ten Media Days. He is a quality individual and an outstanding football player.

I had to smile as I know Staten was grinning ear-to-ear when Jack crossed the goal line.

I cannot wait to talk to both of them about that on Saturday.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com