No, I'm not talking about his comments on the treasonous Harbaugh. I'm talking about something else that Michigan's mighty running back said at Big Ten Media Day.
|"It's hard to sit here and say Chad might be the best quarterback in history, Jake might be the best lineman, I might be the best running back, Mario (Manningham) is up there with the best receivers ... and we haven't even beat Ohio State yet, or won a bowl game," Hart said.|
"And if you don't (win those games) we can't say that we're the best. That takes the whole argument away. You can't have that argument when we're 50 years old, arguing with former players about who's the best class, who's the best player. I can't argue that Chad was the best quarterback if he didn't beat Ohio State. And same with me."
I'm glad Mike realizes this. This isn't my "official" season preview yet, but it's like the prelude, and where better than to start with the big red 3-year elephant in the room. Henne and Hart, who will undoubtedly be the greatest of all time at Michigan at their respective positions when it comes to stats, are 0-3 vs. Ohio State, and 0-3 in the bowl game. The bowl game is important...but at Michigan, it starts and ends with OSU. You're judged - fairly or unfairly - about how your team does against the Buckeyes. In this case it's probably a bit unfair. 2004 aside (when they were freshmen playing in the Snakepit), Henne has played superbly against OSU in his career: 25-36, 223 yards, 1 TD, no INTs in 2005, and 21-35, 267 yards, 2 TDs, no INTs last year.
Hart was never healthy after the Notre Dame game in 2005 (not to mention OSU's defense completely dominated Michigan's butchered running game - hence, the Year of Infinite Pain), and he tore the Buckeyes apart last year with 142 yards and 3 TDs. In 05 the defense let them down, giving up two fourth quarter TDs. Last year the offense put up 39 points on the road against the #1 Buckeyes; should've been enough. But the defense gave up 42.
I cannot accurately describe how happy I am to see Hart say what he said. It shows he is self-aware. He knows what is at stake this year. When legacies are on the line, football players tend to take it up a notch. If Henne and Hart (I'm still trying to figure out a clever H&H Bagels joke) take it up a notch this season, the losses UM suffered on defense will not be as painful as they could be.