This football season in Ann Arbor was a roller coaster ride. Coach Harbaugh's suspensions and NCAA investigations were all over the news, garnering national attention. This sequence of events created distractions, while various sports media outlets attacked the team's credibility. The Wolverines withstood adversity and formed an unbreakable bond. This team became a family and fought each game to achieve successful goals daily. Let's reflect on key moments to see how the Michigan football team made it to the CFP.
Numerous coaches and players state they don't read the news media posts or the social media comments about their teams. That statement reflects a comedic response because when an opponent disrespects their team; those comments are now seen and heard. New motivation has formed to defeat the opposition based upon the criticism they received. This concept could also bring turmoil and division on a college campus.
When clouds of doubt and negativity form around a collection of players in one locker room, the team can crumble and erode from within. When a football team is victorious every week, everything seems to be in perfect harmony. But when a team endures a three-game losing streak, chaos forms while all the blame has been shifted and publicized between players and coaches. Adversity hit this season, but the Wolverines did not implode or self-destruct. They transformed from separate individuals into a family focused on going undefeated and winning the Big Ten title.
No one made excuses or complained about the impending sanctions the team endured throughout this season. This football team handled business on and off the field each week as the season progressed. Leadership and unity were on full display all season long. The outside noise grew louder as the allegations mounted; the voices inside the locker room held this team together for the entire season. Each player and all of the coaches worked hard for this team to reach a higher level of excellence. The daily work ethic and dedication this Michigan Football staff and team have displayed during this season shows how they uplifted the university in a distressful time.
Going undefeated in the regular season
Going undefeated in college football is a serious challenge. Many obstacles and hurdles are placed in your way to derail your undefeated season. Injuries are troublesome for all teams every season. Starters Rod Moore and Will Johnson missed games during the season, and various starters on both sides of the field also dealt with injuries this year.
This Michigan football team rebounded and continued to produce wins while this team was not operating at 100%. The Wolverines captured wins this season versus Penn State and Ohio State without head coach Jim Harbaugh. Those wins impacted the team on a multitude of levels. Winning a road game in Happy Valley after losing your coach to a suspension authorized by the Big Ten Commissioner, spoke volumes of how well the team preparation ensued that week.
Beating Ohio State to complete three consecutive wins versus a hated rival was instant gratification. Winning these matchups led Michigan football to the Big Ten Championship, a game they won against Iowa to become champions of the Big Ten in 2023. Regardless of whether the Wolverines lose to or achieve victory against Alabama on New Year's Day, this season of perseverance and team unity has positively impacted the culture of this program moving forward into next season.