Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has thrown an interception in each of his starts over the past two seasons. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
University of Minnesota players were not trash talking when they called Michigan a regular football team.
They were simply telling the truth. That is actually being kind. After a rip-roaring victory over Notre Dame under the lights before more than 115,000 fans a month ago, the Wolverines have been bad.
They were lucky to beat Akron, 28-24. They were fortunate that Connecticut melted down at home. The Wolverines rallied from a double-digit deficit to pull out a 24-21 victory. That is not Michigan football. These are not even good football teams they are beating.
A week after the loss to Michigan, UConn fired its head coach, Paul Pasqualoni, following a 41-12 loss to Buffalo. This was especially embarrassing to Huskies athletic director Warde Manuel, who played at Michigan and was the former AD at Buffalo. And did I mention that the Huskies also lost to Towson?
Here is what Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman said about Michigan:
"The fact they almost lost to Akron, they're human," he told Minnesota reporters. "You know what I mean? Everybody praises them to be elite and I just feel like they're a regular football team."
He is right. I was at the Akron game and during my walk through the crowd to the postgame press conference, I heard Michigan fans say they were shocked by their football team's play. But another group said Akron is a good football team and should make noise in the Mid-American Conference.
Since the Michigan game, the Zips lost by five points at home to Louisiana-Lafayette and were destroyed by Bowling Green, 31-14. They also lost to Central Florida, 38-7.
That does not sound good to me.
They were actually playing "Hell's Bells" in the fourth quarter against Akron — and not because it is a cool song. They did it to rally the crowd during a nail-biting game. The pollsters see through Michigan. The Wolverines (4-0) dropped in the polls after both wins.
UConn is 0-4 and the Huskies’ closest chance at winning came against Michigan.
I guess teams only get up for the Wolverines.
Gophers safety Cedric Thompson was spot on when he said this about Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner: "I think he kind of panics a lot. I think that when he scrambles, he kind of just throws the ball."
Michigan shook up its offensive line during its bye week — and hopefully coaches shook up Gardner. He is a great athlete with wonderful potential. But you cannot throw the ball around like it is a hand grenade. He needs to be more game manager until he learns to take care of the ball. Gardner has thrown at least one interception in every one of his starts the past two seasons.
I don't know if this is mediocre football or regular football — I simply know this is not Michigan football. More is expected of this team.
Let me quote coach Brady Hoke: "This is Michigan."
But this product they are throwing out is not Michigan football.
Michigan might be a regular football team but Minnesota, despite a 4-1 record, is nothing to write home about either. The Gophers looked terrible last week during a 23-7 loss at home to Iowa.
I expect Michigan to spank this team. If it doesn't, then the problems are even bigger than we imagined. This is far from a championship team.