Toe to Toe: Karr Vs. Schmidley (Karr)

by Ryan Karr | 11/24/08 4:47am

ny triumphs over the course of the college football season. Mid majors have played with the big boys (Boise State, the University of Utah, BYU); Texas Tech rose to prominence on the heels of Graham Harrell and fell at the hands of the old guard, the University of Oklahoma; a lowly team from Indiana named Ball State has gone undefeated; and the University of Alabama has made a convincing return to the glory of seasons past. All are noteworthy achievements. All deserve both cookies and small parades, without doubt.

On the other end of the spectrum, some teams wish this season never happened. When thinking about the most disappointing season in college football this year, a few teams come to mind: Clemson had huge expectations before dropping four games, Dartmouth looked to build on some success last season but went winless, and Michigan broke its streak of playing in 33 consecutive bowl games. Mr. Schmidley will be talking about Clemson, and I'll be talking about Michigan and Dartmouth. I myself am not sure which team had the more depressing season.

What can one say about Rich Rodriguez's first season at the University of Michigan? By nearly every measure, it was one of the worst seasons in the program's storied history. The Michigan helmets used to strike fear in opponents' hearts when the squad ran out of the tunnel and onto the field. The Big House used to be impossible to win at for Michigan foes. Michigan used to be ... well ... good!

This season, Michigan finished 3-9, with losses to the University of Toledo at home (finished 3-8) and Purdue University (finished 4-8). The team lost five of six games in the Big House -- possibly the single most painful aspect of the season for Wolverine fans. And in December and January, when many other teams will be participating in bowl games, Michigan will be sitting at home for the first time since 1974.

What happened? No one really knows, and I doubt Rodriguez does either. Sure, Rodriguez's offense requires a mobile quarterback (a la Pat White at West Virginia University), and the coach simply didn't have the talent to run the scheme. It's still Michigan, however, and football players still want to go to Michigan to play the game. This team should have been better. A new coach and a new offense is not an excuse for this type of futility. There simply isn't an excuse.

Being from Indiana, I'm partial to the Big Ten. As a result, I'm thinking Michigan probably had the most disappointing season, even more so than Dartmouth. People expect the Wolverines to contend year in and year out, and the same can't be said for the Big Green.

For Dartmouth, this was the first team that was composed of all coach Teevens' recruits. The Dartmouth predicted (note: this was not my prediction) that the Big Green would finish third in the Ancient Eight. Boy, were we wrong.

We finished last in the Ivies, and Dartmouth didn't even really compete, much to everyone's chagrin. On Saturday, the Big Green's loss to Princeton wrapped up Dartmouth's first winless season in 125 years. Yes, you read that correctly: one hundred and twenty-five years.

We have to give credit to the players, though, especially the seniors, for sticking with it this year. God knows it must have been rough going.

The Big Green was out-scored on the season 343 to just 129. The squad's closest game was a seven-point loss at Columbia. The best aspect of the season is that it's over, and hopefully next year we'll do better. It's impossible to do much worse.

Early prediction: Indiana men's basketball will probably have a season similar to Michigan's football season. They don't have the talent, and while expectations are low, the win total could be even lower.