Michigan football topped all preseason talk by winning Big Ten


INDIANAPOLIS – The Michigan Wolverines have exceeded all expectations after beating the Ohio State Buckeyes last week and have propelled themselves to an even higher level after beating Iowa on Saturday. Michigan did it, he finally did what he set out to do – win the Big Ten and get a playoff birth.

The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes, 42-3, to win their first Big Ten title since 2004, and the post-game scene was glorious for the men in Corn and Blue. The celebration was fantastic for the players – so much happiness, tears, pride and joy.

Aidan Hutchinson has been selected by the media to win the Grange-Griffin MVP award – just another award to add to his coat. The Wolverines defense stifled everything Iowa was trying to do – like stopping the running game it wanted to do.

After the celebration, the photoshoot and the high-five fans, ssome selected players and Jim Harbaugh met the media to talk about their epic victory.

Many media experts have said Michigan may have a 6-6 record, or slightly better, but the Wolverines have virtually no chance of winning the Big Ten or even getting 10 wins. Like most teams, this was solid bulletin board material for Michigan, and Aidan Hutchinson explained how it stays on the team’s mind – beating the odds.

“Yeah, I read a few, a few people in the crowd that I remember, their predictions for what we got,” Hutchinson said. “Dude, we defied all expectations. No one thought we could do this. No one thought we could ever do that, especially not this season. And, man, we made it. And we did it in a very dominant way.

At the start of the season, ESPN had Michigan with a 2% chance of winning the Big Ten. The Wolverines were due to finish fourth in the Big Ten standings, and Corn and Blue had a 0% chance of qualifying for the college football playoffs – had they been wrong. Andrew Vastardis and Cade McNamara said the team learned about the statistic last week and it was the team’s new saying, “2%”. McNamara says Michigan has really embraced the “it’s us versus everyone” mentality this year.

“So at the start of the year the odds – I don’t know, anything, a 2% chance that we win the Big Ten Championship,” said Vastardis. “It was preseason predictions. I don’t know how it works.

“But, you know, we believe in each other. We believe in ourselves. But, you know, there’s always that little external motivation. So you know, internally motivated, bring every guy with you. But sometimes just a few of the stuff that’s out there, you just take it and roll with it and put fuel on the fire.

“Well, we only found the exact statistic this week,” McNamara said. “But, yeah, two percent for last week. We thought about two percent last week. And, yeah, I mean, we knew that this team – guys on this team, this team is fair – you know, we came under scrutiny. We know that. And we fought. We have – you know, we’re just such a great bunch of guys who just care about each other.

“And, you know, it’s – we really got the Michigan mentality against everybody. And, you know, I don’t know much to say other than that I love these guys, really.

So how exactly did Michigan go from a 2-4 record last year to an 11-1 record and claim a Big Ten title? Aidan Hutchinson says the team has come on board and the culture has changed. The guys believe in each other and they wanted to change the narrative surrounding Michigan.

“Yeah, I really think it was a constant belief, really, from week one,” Hutchinson said. “You know, we saw what we were going to do against Western Michigan. I knew we had something special from the start, so – you know, really, all the time I knew we had something special.

“Just the way we built the team, the basics, the great energy throughout the offseason. I mean, it doesn’t come down to winning, but, you know, it comes down to the culture and the investment of the guys on the team.

Jim Harbaugh said he knew this team was special, and he’s known it for some time. He tells how this team always comes to train hungry and always has a smile on their face. He said they talked about it last night and what a win over Iowa would mean for that program. Coaches and players will have photos on the wall at Schembechler Hall and this team will be left with a rich heritage.

“Oh, yeah, I could smell it,” Harbaugh said. “We all could. We talked about it last night. What’s more – how much more can we stack in a game, the importance of a game. “

“It’s a lot, yes, the championship, the chance to go to the playoffs. To pass the sign we all pass through, “Those who stay will be champions”. To make it valid and true. You know, for that guys – to live, really, at Schembechler Hall forever. I mean, that picture is going to be up there on the All American wall. All the guys on the team in the team photo will be up there as part of Big Ten Champion. We have a banner at Glick Fieldhouse that will say Big Ten Champion.

“And, you know – and, also, I knew they would – I just knew they would handle it because they are doing their best every day, no matter what they do.”

Well, Jim, you did.


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