clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

RIP to Michigan’s 17-game road losing streak against ranked teams

New, comments

A win at No. 24 Michigan State in 2018’s Week 8 ended an incredible slide. What’s Michigan going to do next?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

On Sept. 16, 2006, Lloyd Carr’s No. 11 Michigan beat No. 2 Notre Dame in South Bend, 47-21. The Wolverines were building a national championship case, which they maintained until they visited No. 1 Ohio State the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

That started a streak. After Week 1 of 2018, the Wolverines have lost 17 consecutive road games against ranked teams. It puts them in some especially embarrassing company, behind only Colorado (28), Purdue (23), Kansas (19), and Vanderbilt (also 19) in the Power 5, per ESPN. Jim Harbaugh is 0-4 in three seasons and counting.

The streak lasted until Oct. 20, 2018, when No. 6 Michigan overcame a bunch of classic Spartan oddity to beat No. 24 Michigan State in East Lansing, 21-7. Michigan was a 7-point favorite and, for the first time in 12 years against a ranked team on the road, didn’t lose.

Here’s how that 17-game streak game together in the first place, categorized.

Group 1: There’s no shame in losing to Troy Smith

  • 2006: No. 1 Ohio State 42, No. 2 Michigan 39 (+6.5)

Michigan could have been the best team in college football this year. Who knows how things shake out if this game happens at the Big House, or if the Wolverines get a few more plays at the Horseshoe and become the team to face Florida in the BCS final?

Group 2: Bad Rich Rodriguez teams and some Ohio State games, with a stray Brady Hoke thrown in

  • 2008: No. 3 Penn State 46, Michigan 17 (+24.5)
  • 2014: No. 7 Ohio State 42, Michigan 28 (+21.5)
  • 2008: No. 10 Ohio State 42, Michigan 7 (+20.5)
  • 2014: No. 8 Michigan State 35, Michigan 11 (+17)
  • 2010: No. 8 Ohio State 37, Michigan 7 (+17)
  • 2009: No. 12 Iowa 30, Michigan 28 (+9.5)
  • 2009: No. 21 Wisconsin 45, Michigan 24 (+8)

These losses were just customary. Michigan wasn’t expected to win any of them, either because the Wolverines were bad, they were visiting the blood rival that beats them almost every year, or some combination of the two.

Group 3: Brady Hoke was bad

  • 2012: No. 11 Notre Dame 13, No. 18 Michigan 6 (+6)
  • 2012: No. 4 Ohio State 26, No. 20 Michigan 21 (+4)
  • 2013: No. 24 Michigan State 29, No. 23 Michigan 6 (+4)
  • 2014: No. 16 Notre Dame 31, Michigan 0 (+4)
  • 2011: No. 23 Michigan State 28, No. 11 Michigan 14 (+3)

An ideal world would’ve seen Hoke win at least one of these. The 2012 season represented the best shot Hoke had at beating Ohio State in Columbus, and the Wolverines almost did it, but scored zero points in the second half. UM was supposed to be competitive in all of these games and was in many.

Group 4: J.T. Barrett was short

  • 2016: No. 2 Ohio State 30, No. 3 Michigan 27 (+3.5)

Or maybe he wasn’t. I don’t have a strong opinion about that spot. Ohio State and Michigan fans can and will belabor the point forever. A loss remains a loss.

Group 5: Well within the Harbaugh era

  • 2017: No. 2 Penn State 42, No. 19 Michigan 13 (+7.5)
  • 2017: No. 5 Wisconsin 24, No. 19 Michigan 10 (+6.5)
  • 2018: No. 12 Notre Dame 24, No. 14 Michigan 17 (-3)

These were pretty flat performances on big stages. Two were College GameDay night games against teams Michigan could’ve beaten, but Saquon Barkley and Penn State ran UM out of the stadium, and Shea Patterson’s offense generated only 10 points at Notre Dame.

It’s good that the streak’s over now.

The Wolverines’ only other chance in 2018 would’ve been to beat Ohio State in Columbus. They don’t exactly have a tremendous track record in that regard. But now that this particular monkey’s off the Wolverines’ backs, maybe they’ll win these games more often.