Harbaugh Bristles At Obvious Reality Of Gap With OSU

They don't measure up, in any capacity, with their rival.

Will Burchfield
November 30, 2019 - 5:59 pm
Jim Harbaugh OSU

© Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports


In case it wasn't clear before Saturday's game that Ohio State is miles ahead of Michigan -- narrator: it was -- the Buckeyes erased any doubt with another destruction of the Wolverines. This one by a margin of 29 points, this one at the Big House. 

That leaves Michigan 0-8 against Ohio State since 2012, 1-15 since, well, you know the rest. And it leaves Harbaugh 0-5, his teams outscored by an average of 19 points. 

That's a pretty obvious gap, one that seems to be growing wider and wider. It speaks to the players, it speaks to the coaches, and maybe most of all, it speaks to one program's obsession with winning. 

So, Harbaugh was asked after taking another one on the chin, is this a talent gap? A preparation gap? A coaching gap? What's the biggest difference between Michigan and Ohio State at this point? 

Harbaugh bristled. 

"I’ll answer your questions," he said, "not your insults."

Asked again, Harbaugh declared, "They played better today." 

The Buckeyes sure did, racking up 577 yards -- 10 more than they had in last year's blowout -- on their way to a 56-27 win. They had the game won by the third quarter, and then they stepped on Michigan's throat in the fourth, just for good measure. If 2018 was bad -- narrator: it was -- this may have been worse. 

How does Michigan close the gap? 

"We’ll regroup and come back and play our next game," Harbaugh said. "Regroup and retool. Get our guys back prepared for our next ball game." 

That will be another hollow bowl game, the same story, the same ending. Since putting Michigan back on the map in 2015, cresting with a blowout of Florida in the Citrus Bowl, Harbaugh hasn't taken his team any further. The Wolverines are stuck where they are, elevated but not elite, better than most teams, vastly inferior to one. 

"It’s really frustrating, especially for the seniors," said tight end Sean McKeon. "It’s just kind of the same thing every year. Gotta execute better. It gets old, but just gotta play better against them." 

Is there a mental hurdle against Ohio State? 

"I don’t think so," said McKeon. "They’re just a team -- they’re not an NFL team." 

No, but the Buckeyes are loaded with NFL talent, noticeably more than Michigan. That starts with recruiting, another area where Ohio State has the upper hand. Maybe Michigan could could close this gap if they closed the gap on the field, and around and around we go. 

Don Brown and Michigan's defense made a number of adjustments this year based on last year's result, even seemed to have the Buckeyes on their heels early in the game. And it still got gutted by a faster, stronger, more explosive offense. 

"They’re a very talented team obviously, as you can see throughout the entire year. But we’re just as talented, I feel like," said linebacker Jordan Glasgow. "Maybe they just made a few more plays than us today, but I feel like we should have been right there.  I don’t think this is the result we should have seen, but it’s the one that we have."

And it speaks to their larger reality, even if they don't want to acknowledge it. They don't measure up, in any capacity, with their rival. There's no telling when that might change. 

Narrator: no time soon.