Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A decade of pain

Why is it so difficult being a Michigan fan? Everybody knows the wins we've had under Lloyd Carr. The Big Ten titles, the national title, etc. But why does it seem that we lose so many painful games that we shouldn't?

Let's take a little trip down memory lane and add up the Michigan losses under Lloyd Carr by point differential. This isn't an exercise in blame, merely an attempt to categorize. And I'd like to compare our losses to some peer schools like Ohio State, Florida State, Miami, Florida, Tennessee, and maybe a few others.

From 1995-present:

Total Michigan losses: 32
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 14
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 9
Losses by 17 or more: 2

Total Ohio State losses: 30
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 4
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 13
Losses by 17 or more: 5

Total Florida State losses: 23
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 5
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 7
Losses by 17 or more: 5

Total Miami losses: 27
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 3
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 10
Losses by 17 or more: 9

Total Florida losses: 31
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 10
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 7
Losses by 17 or more: 11

Total Tennessee losses: 27
Losses by 3 or fewer points: 2
Losses by 8 or fewer points: 8
Losses by 17 or more: 8


Do I even need to go on? It's painfully obvious how many devastating losses Michigan has had in relation to other football powerhouses of the last decade. It's also obvious how infrequently Michigan gets blown out of the water.

Just amongst these teams:

  • Losses by one field goal or less: Michigan ranks #1 with 14
  • Losses by 1 TD (+2 points) or less: Michigan ranks #1 with 23
  • Blowout losses by 17 or more: Michigan ranks dead last with only 2
  • Total losses in 10+ years by more than 1 score: Michigan ranks dead last with only 9


So it's not just the collective imagination of Michigan fans. We really do lose more close painful games than other teams. It doesn't just seem that every time we lose it is gut wrenching, it really is. Look at our last 4 losses: 1 point to Texas, 7 to Notre Dame, 3 to Wisconsin, 3 to Minnesota. The 16 point loss to Ohio State doesn't even bother me because we got beat. Everybody knew it. But the close ones? Those are the ones where 1 play and 1 call and 1 inch mean the difference between winning and losing. And we have lost way more than our fair share. That's why ESPN classic is always showing us losing. Because we have lost a ton of classic games. Other teams like Tennessee or Miami at least have the decency to get blown out when they lose so their fans can leave early and get something accomplished with the day. We get stuck hanging on to the very last second to watch Kordell Stewart's miracle (i know that was 1994 and not included in this study) or MSU's timekeeper gate or Minnesota's field goal last week.

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