The clock is ticking on Harbaugh

goofy harbaughThe The clock never strikes zero on some games.

Michigan’s 62-39 loss to Ohio State is one of them. In other words Wolverine nation, the world and our entire community will live that game for years to come. It was a statement game that we won’t soon forget.

It still runs in our minds which means the clock has yet to strike zero.

Michigan seems to have a lot of those games because the program is so well established and followed and does not live up to expectations.

One game that never struck zero was the stunning loss to Appalachian State in 2007.

Who was like me and believed Michigan had a decent chance to win the OSU game? Who was like me wondering what the heck is going on as the points kept rolling for the Buckeyes?

You can’t blame the refs or bad weather or bad luck for this one. This was a bullet between the eyes.

This is not just another loss to Ohio State. This is a black eye. This is a dagger and this opens up debates that will haunt the program.

For instance, if the losses to OSU continue Michigan must fire the man the administration and most of its fan base believed was the savior. Harbaugh received a pass that no other coach in the nation would receive in Ann Arbor. He kept losing to the States (Ohio State and Michigan State) and folks kept believing he’d turn this around.

He was beyond criticism in Wolverine nation.

For instance Harbaugh made a huge tactical error in 2015 against MSU when he sent two gunners out to defend the last punt of the game instead of using maximum protection. The play resulted in a bobbled snap, muffed punt and a last second touchdown by the Spartans Jalen Watts-Jackson.

Most Michigan fans called the play a fluke and refused to lay blame on Harbaugh.

Now the honeymoon is officially over for Harbaugh. He must realize that winning 10 games without beating Ohio State or at least winning a Big Ten title is not good enough. There are different expectations at UM.

This is supposed to be a football power, not Iowa with better uniforms.

You must beat your rival now and then. Bo Schembechler was a hero for going 5-4-1 against Woody Hayes in the 10-year war. Bo, by the way, was a heavy underdog in his first game against Ohio State but found a way to win.

Harbaugh is now being compared to former Ohio State Coach John Cooper — except Cooper accomplished more. Cooper was 111-43-1 at Ohio State, won three Big Ten titles, a┬áRose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. But his 2-10-1 record against Michigan got him fired. Three times Michigan beat unbeaten Buckeye teams under Cooper.

Michigan fans clamored for Ohio State to keep Cooper just like Buckeyes are screaming for Michigan to keep Harbaugh.

While Harbaugh prepares his team like he is Bo Jr. current OSU coach Urban Meyer has turned up the heat in Columbus with speedy and strong players that can compete with and beat anyone in the country outside of Alabama. And he long ago abandoned the three yards and a cloud of turf offense Harbaugh imposes.

Michigan can never beat Ohio State with this current style. OSU is 11-1 but played terrible football this season until it faced Michigan. The Buckeyes got run off the field at Purdue and were in dog fights with Maryland, Penn State and Nebraska.

Michigan was playing better football until it was on the same field with Ohio State.

The clock is now ticking on a game that will never end and on Harbaugh.






Sports media remains a people business

boIn this age of the Internet, fast paced news and anonymous sources we must not forget that sports media remains a people business.

We forget that sometimes. Some reporters become walking note pads. In other words every conversation is on the record and they do not get to know athletes and coaches as people.

We forget that sometimes.

In the movies reporters get scoops by making phone calls 24 hours a day and seven days a week. That happens sometimes. I am willing to bet that most of the news coming out of Washington and the Donald Trump administration is generated between a source and reporter who know each other and have a good relationship.

At least that was the way it was for me. That began when I was a young reporter covering the University of Michigan football team. I met some boosters from Grosse Pointe who claimed to know about the insides of Michigan football. I did not believe them at first until a series of things they said were happening actually happened.

We had a good relationship. They were nice and trusted me and I liked hanging around them. Our relationship began years earlier when they played for Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South. Or their sons played for North and South.

They remembered my prep reports and we became buds.

One day I got a phone call from one of the dads who said Bo Schembechler and the school were in negotiations for Bo to become athletic director. It was one of my first major scoops and I began the nickname “The Michigan Mafia.”

I called Bo’s office to tell him what I knew. I got through to his secretary and she relayed the message to Bo. He angrily shouted: “You tell Foster he runs that story at his risk.”

A few days later I attended a press conference where Bo was named AD. He saw me and laughed, saying “I had to scare you a little bit. I was not ready for the story to come out.”

People business.

I broke a story that Bad Boy Piston Mark Aguirre was talking to the Mexican basketball team to play for Mexico in the 1992 Summer Olympic games. Do you know how I got the scoop?

Gym shoes.

One day Aguirre made fun of reporters for wearing gym shoes all the time. I went off on him saying we wore gym shoes to chase your ass around all the time. Aguirre got a good chuckle out of my tirade and later said “Why you go off all the time? You know you are a little crazy.”

The other reporters left his cubicle and we shot the breeze for about five minutes. Then he mentioned the talks with Mexico. He was eligible to play because his father was born in Mexico. I then interviewed him and had an exclusive story in The Detroit News.

The rest of the media got the story the following day, but I was already working on a story saying Aguirre did not want to play for Mexico.

People business.


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