Even as we decompress from the final play of the Michigan/Michigan State game, we’re still left wondering what to make of it.
Had Michigan won, it would be 6-1 and, in all likelihood, ranked in the top 10 with its College Football Playoff hopes still alive. Had Michigan State lost, it would be 6-1 and, in all likelihood, ranked outside of the top 10 with its College Football Playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
Instead, we’ve got No. 7 Michigan State (7-0) still unbeaten, and we’ve got No. 15 Michigan (5-2) in the good-but-not-great range in the AP Top 25.
So, as we reflect on the 27-23 final, is Michigan better than we thought, or does Michigan State simply refuse to be daggered? What’s the main takeaway?
“I have a strange take on this – and I said it going into the game,” CBSSports.com college football insider Dennis Dodd said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I’m not really gloating or anything, but I thought for all the petals and roses we’ve thrown at Jim Harbaugh, I don’t think he realized the level of hate that exists on that other sideline Saturday.”
Remember when former Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as “little brother” in 2007? Well, the Wolverines have gone 1-7 against Sparty ever since.
After Saturday, Michigan would give anything for 2-6.
“Look, it was a fluke they lost,” Dodd said, “but I think Michigan State out-gained them by more than 150 yards. For large potions of the game, they controlled the game. I know at Michigan State the vibe is, ‘Well, we deserved it anyway.’ That could cause a national uproar.”
Michigan State out-gained Michigan 386-230. The Spartans also had twice as many first downs (20-10) and won despite going 3-of-13 on third down and 0-of-4 on fourth down.
It was a hard-hitting, big-boy kind of game.
Sparty was just happy to survive, while Michigan stumbles into the bye trying to find its footing.
“I think in many ways, this fits into my narrative of there are no great teams this year,” Dodd said. “Michigan State staying alive by the skin of its teeth certainly supports that, and I think that Michigan at 5-2 kind of played to their level. I think 5-2 before the season for Michigan fans would have been, ‘Yes, please, thank you.’ But they did blow one Saturday.”