Night Game struggles?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on June 24th, 2018 at 5:33 PM

Anyone have any idea what could be the problem?

Night games in the Harbaugh era-

  • 9/3/2015 at Utah, L 17-24
  • 10/31/2015 at Minnesota, W 29-26
  • 10/8/2016 at Rutgers, W 78-0
  • 11/12/2016 at Iowa, L 13-14
  • Orange Bowl v. #10 Florida State, L 32-33
  • 10/7/2017 vs Michigan State, L 10-14
  • 10/21/2017 at #2 Penn State, L 13-42
  • 11/4/2017 vs Minnesota, W 33-10

We are 3-5 and dangerously close to being 2-6 had the epic goal line stand not happened at Minnesota in 2015.


Mocha Cub

June 24th, 2018 at 5:53 PM ^

It's less a function of the time of day than it is who they'r_ playing imo. 2015 Minnesota the team rallied around Kill resigning & Utah was a good team (also, away game, first game in a new system with a grad transfer QB). MSU is pretty much always going to be a tough game home or away. Guys play most of their high school careers playing night games.


June 24th, 2018 at 5:55 PM ^

It's just a quality of opponent/small sample size thing. It's hard to think there's an actual prep problem with night games when the coaches have played/coached in a ton of them and all of the players mostly played at night in high school. 

I mean would you say Harbaugh is 25-6 in day games because he's a day game prep genius? 


June 24th, 2018 at 5:56 PM ^

Eh, this is just a cherry picked stat that looks worse than it is.

Utah: Harbaugh's first game, breaking in a grad transfer QB, on the road, against a team that climbed as high as #3 during the season, and would finish 10-3 and #16/17

Iowa: The only really "bad loss" on the list, but even then, Kinnick is a very difficult place to win, and weird things happen there (e.g. Iowa blasting OSU 55-24 last year).

FSU: It's a prominent bowl game, against a prominent opponent, and we played a good chunk of the game without two of our leaders/better players.

MSU: A game we probably should've won yes, but we were playing our first of many backup QBs, and the game was in a monsoon. And honestly, last year MSU was a pretty strong team. They finished 10-3 and #15/16, while we were in a rebuilding year

PSU: We were in a rebuilding year, and PSU was a 4 hour weather delay from only losing 1 game all season (they still finished 11-2 and #8). And Happy Valley at night is another tough place to win


So yeah, our record isn't good by any imagination, and there's a lot of "excuses", but it's far down the list of things we should be concerned about


June 24th, 2018 at 6:07 PM ^

I am not one to avoid things like night games simply because of the record - it seems like, for a lot of reasons, these games are generally tougher and that's fine. 

Generally, they are tougher opponents and therefore prime targets for the night time lineup on Saturdays. If it is me, I personally like them as I am not a morning person anyway and cannot get fully awake by noon.

Human Torpedo

June 24th, 2018 at 6:38 PM ^

Opponents circle our game more than any other Big Ten team except Ohio State still. Naturally that means we'll get a lot of night games on the road. Our overall road record over the last decade is good for eighth (!!!) in the Big Ten. Until our road woes are resolved, nothing else matter for the football program


June 24th, 2018 at 6:38 PM ^

What’s even more painful is the # of close losses. Yes, Minnesota was close. But FSU, MSU and Iowa were all decided in the final minute or two just like MSU 15, OSU 16, OSU 17 and SC 18.

The program is close to reclaiming the winning culture that evaporated by the end of RR/Hoke. It’s not there yet. I think Shea’s arrival is crucial in two ways - playmaking skill and attitude. The youth and bad luck last year obviously sapped the confidence by the bowl game.  Believing they can win close games and then actually doing it will raise the program to the next tier.

Hail Harbo

June 24th, 2018 at 6:46 PM ^

I think you missed the better correlation.  The five losses are against teams which had winning records, the three wins were against teams with losing records.


June 24th, 2018 at 6:58 PM ^

Utah was the first game under Harbaugh, the first of the year, and a couple timezones away.  That was a recipe for a bad ourxome, and they still almost pulled it off.  And then other than that PSU game where Franklin unloaded literally everything he had, they were close games against good teams decided by a couple of points, oftentimes on flukey plays (FSU, Iowa, and MSU jump to mind).  It's a small sample size and could just as easily be 5-3.


June 24th, 2018 at 7:32 PM ^

I wouldn't put a ton of stock into that list. One, it's a small sample size. Two, MSU was an abboration. Three, PSU was a juggernaut and a night game at Happy Valley is no picnick...ask OSU. The only two I give credence to are Iowa and Utah. It's hard to travel to travel time zones and play at night and Iowa is no picnick either. I wouldn't worry too much about this.


June 24th, 2018 at 7:57 PM ^

All of those wins and losses are fairly explainable and 'it was a night game' wouldn't be in my top 10 reasons why any of them concluded as they did - except playing at night in Iowa City


June 24th, 2018 at 8:12 PM ^

I think what the OP ought to conclude from the record is that M generally beat the bad teams and lost to the good teams. And this is weird how?

Der Alte

June 25th, 2018 at 10:58 AM ^

I hope you're wrong, but you're probably right. Wisconsin is the one game for which I have tickets. I'd prefer not to be still in the stands at 0-dark thirty watching our team struggle against the accursed Badgers. Bo said it best when he announced (paraphrasing). "At 1 o'clock we'll tee it up and play football, and we couldn't care less about some guy in Arizona or anywhere else." Unfortunately that ship has long sailed.