By Sean Gagnier
I'm going to start this by saying that I am a Michigan State student, but in writing this I am putting on my unbiased journalist hat and taking an objective look at what could have been the worst played and officiated games of the entire bowl season.
To start, having to watch Denard Robinson "play" quarterback is like having sand ground into my eyes; it's painful. Every time he rolls out of the pocket, which is most of the time, and lobs a water balloon down the field he insults every person who has every played the quarterback position. And when he tucks the ball and takes off in his Velcro cleats because he can somehow make it to the University of Michigan but can't figure out how to tie his shows, and is celebrated for it, he shows that he has the capability to run and change games, but shows just why he is not a quarterback.
There is no way that Robinson will amount to anything as a quarterback in the NFL, if he is drafted it will be as a running back or a wide receiver, but he will not be a quarterback. In fact, Mel Kiper has him listed as a WR on his chart, despite coming back to Michigan for another season as a "quarterback" the NFL doesn't even consider him that.
The Sugar Bowl was an abomination, terrible officiating across the board and even worse play by both teams involved. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer made horrible decisions all game long - Michigan couldn't do anything against them and he went for a fake punt that ended up giving Michigan the opportunity to hit a field goal to take the lead. Not to mention when the fake was sniffed out the Hokies punter still tried to punt the ball into the face of the rushing defenders.
Then when Michigan tries a fake field goal only to have the ball float through the air like a bloated bumblebee so that the Virginia Tech player mistimes it only to have a 300+ pound lineman grab the ball and rumble to the end zone is horrendous.
But the coup de gras of mediocrity was the overtime, Virginia Tech drove to the red zone and tossed a touchdown that would have won the game - it was called a touchdown on the field, which is a major point. Then it was reviewed by the booth and after watching every angle multiple times it may have not been a catch, the ground may have helped him hold onto that pass, but in no way did any of those replays display the indisputable evidence needed to overturn a ruling that it was a touchdown on the field.
After robbing the Hokies of a touchdown the officials managed to overlook a false start on the part of the Michigan kicker on what turned out to be the game winning field goal. It was called a "stutter step" and was noticed by the media who brought it up on the air, but on second look the ball had not been snapped when Gibbons began his "stutter step," maybe his thoughts about brunette girls distracted him too much. That should have been called and that field goal should not have counted.
But despite having watched the same game that the rest of the nation did, instead of calling it what is was, an abomination, Michigan fans will fly their pretentious flags of being "back" and how their BCS "victory" entitles them to talk like they could beat any team in the country. Yes, they "won" the Sugar Bowl. Yes, they have 11 wins on the season, but they could be some of the most hollow eleven wins of any team in the country. Did they play any team worthwhile? No. They played a Fickel-coached Ohio State team, which when Michigan State beat them Michigan fans deemed to be "in a down year, so the win doesn't count," but when the Wolverines beat them, it was a "program win." They did beat Notre Dame, but attempted many times to give the game to the Irish. Did they play Wisconsin? No, but Michigan State did - twice. Did they win the Legends Divison and play in the Big Ten title game? No. They were sitting on the couch watching the game. So how exactly is Michigan "back?" It seems like they took advantage of a favorable schedule and the fact that Walmart sells their shirts for $6.99.
But congratulations to Michigan for winning their 11 games and making it to a BCS game and winning it; but just like Michigan State heading into this past season, they have everything to prove. Michigan State won 11 games last year for the first time in program history and it was deemed a fluke, meaning that they needed to repeat the same feat this season in order to prove that they are truly a team to be reckoned with - they did that, by winning 11 games again and for winning the Legends Division and coming within a running into the kicker penalty of smelling roses. Michigan needs to do what Michigan State did in order to get the doubters off their backs - and it won't be easy, they start the season against Alabama before heading into South Bend to take on the Irish and having to face the Spartans to try to stop them from winning their fifth in a row in the rivalry. The onus is on Michigan and I don't think that they have what it takes.