Michigan is a football school again

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /

Wow, how the tide has completely flipped in the last year. Just when it seemed like Jim Harbaugh was on his way out sooner rather than later, with everyone calling for his job, an unexpected and historical season occurs, and Michigan’s athletics have flipped on its head.

Remember when all of those commentators, talking heads, and Michigan fans joked (at least half-heartedly), that Michigan was a basketball school?

Well, technically, it was the truth, at least temporarily. Michigan will always be a football school. Football generates the most revenue and the most attention per year at the university.

Michigan football also generated the most national attention as well, as the most-watched game of the season and the third most-watched game of the season all came when Michigan was playing.

Because Michigan has not been playing anywhere near what fans’ expectations were (which is to be competing for national championships annually), the shine had started to really wear off on Michigan’s football squad, and focus instead turned to the consistent shiny toy in the men’s basketball team.

In the time that it took for Michigan to finally make the college football playoff under Harbaugh, the basketball team had accomplished four Sweet Sixteens, an Elite Eight appearance (last season), and a national title appearance (‘17-‘18 season).

To say that the basketball team was performing well was an understatement. Basketball season became the go-to sport to look forward to for most  Michigan fans because the football team hadn’t proved it could win big games and get over the hump.

Michigan football flipped the script

Well, all of that has changed now. Michigan is back to being a football school, even though earlier this summer I wrote about how Michigan was a basketball school (at that time) and was trending towards becoming a blue blood.

The fact is, even though all of us said that Michigan was a basketball school, nobody actually 100 percent believed it to be true deep down inside. All the fans needed was one amazing football season for them to start believing in the team again.

Welp, that time has come. The Michigan football team is back (at least for now) and ironically, now that the football team is back, the basketball team has really been struggling as of late.

I’ve also been seeing online about how Juwan Howard is overrated and this and that. A few struggles early on, and people have already dropped off the Juwan Howard bandwagon. How sad.

That’s not being a real fan of Michigan Wolverines sports. If you’re a fan, you ride or die with all U-M sports, no matter what type of season is occurring.

After all the basketball team has given fans over the years, and they abandon the team or talk mess about it when it’s early in the season. It’s fair to criticize the team, as Michigan has too much talent to just be mediocre, but it’s not fair to completely jump off and want Juwan fired and all of these crazy overreactions.

Not every single basketball season was going to end in a Final Four appearance anyways. Hopefully, people understand that. This football season (no matter what happens in the CFP playoffs) takes away most, if not all, potential disappointment and sadness that the basketball season may bring us this year.

Now, I am not saying that basketball can’t turn things around. We are still extremely early in basketball season, and sometimes like we’ve seen in years past, Michigan doesn’t hit their stride until right before March Madness.

But even if we don’t have as great of a season as we wanted this year in basketball, we can all finally be happy that we don’t just have to rely on basketball to get us through a mediocre football season ending in constant end-of-season disappointment every single year.

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Although Michigan is, and always will be, a football school first, let’s hope that at least now, moving forward, both athletic programs can be great at the same time, and provide fans constant joy instead of providing some joy, but also a kind of glass-half-full feeling because football leaves a void in Michigan fan’s hearts after a down season.