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What The Michigan Fan Base Is Saying After Another Painful Rivalry Loss

While some are still holding firm to the belief that everything will work out in the end, it now appears that a good portion of the Michigan fan base is coming to painful realization.

Now that Michigan football fans have had a couple of days to digest the 37-33 loss in East Lansing, many are taking to social media to let their thoughts be known when it comes to the current state of the football program. While some of the Maize and blue faithful are choosing to remain positive about 2021 and beyond, Saturday's loss to Michigan State was the final straw for a good portion of those who had been clinging to hope that this year would be different.  

jim harbaugh

Following the game, we asked Michigan fans to share their thoughts with us whether good, bad or indifferent. With nearly 400 submissions, here were the top three most common takeaways from Saturday's collapse in East Lansing.

1. Red Zone Offense

"The red zone offense has to get better. Two touchdowns on six red zone possessions isn't good enough."

"Red zone issues. When one of your top scorers each game is the field goal kicker, you are going to struggle against teams capable of putting seven on the scoreboard. We kicked, I believe, four field goals on Saturday. Turn two of those into touchdowns and Michigan wins. We gave this game away."

Entering Saturday's contest against Michigan State, the Wolverines ranked No. 66 nationally in red zone conversion percentage (60.61). Following Saturday's contest against Michigan State, Michigan's conversion percentage dropped to 56.41 percent on the year.

Put simply, the inability of the Michigan offense to put the ball in the end zone has been a problem all season - and it finally caught up with them on Saturday. To his credit, junior quarterback Cade McNamara said as much during his postgame availability.

“Us stalling out, I mean, it’s a variety of reasons,” said McNamara. “Last game we weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone. We had our opportunities last week, and we did not execute. It was a combination of that this week.”

2. The Two-QB System

This is certainly an area where there is a split among the fan base. Take these two responses that came in consecutively, for instance:

"I don't like the quarterback switching. It cost us today. They dared Cade to beat them throwing and damned if he almost did it."

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"The two QB thing is fine with me. It's been working and nobody was complaining about it before. At some point we need to stop blaming the coaches. The players need to make the plays."

This is one of those debates where there is a strong argument to be made on both sides. 

On one hand, Cade McNamara proved on Saturday that he's good enough to help Michigan legitimately compete for a Big Ten title. There's no longer any denying that. Don't get me wrong, his performance on Saturday was far from perfect - but it was good enough to get a W. While few would argue against the fact that getting true freshman JJ McCarthy in-game reps is a good thing, most who are Team-Cade are just as unhappy about the quarterback rotation as the those who are Team-JJ. 

On the other hand, the quarterback rotation - though puzzling - was actually proving to be effective at times throughout the season. McNamara's stability, combined with a sprinkle here and there of JJ's playmaking ability, had helped lead Michigan to a perfect 7-0 record and a No. 6 ranking in the AP Poll. In fact, there's a strong argument to be made that the QB rotation on Saturday actually helped keep Michigan in the game (see McCarthy's TD pass to Andrel Anthony).

3. "Outcoached Again"

The most common response to our question - by far - was the fact that most believe it simply came down to coaching. For these folks, this isn't about an isolated event - this is about a track record.

"100 percent on the coaches, yet again. Michigan was hands down a better team, again, but play calling, the defensive substitution penalties, not being ready for the snap or in position...that has been happening all season and it's completely unacceptable."

"Harbaugh's personnel decisions and play-calling leave me scratching my head. The team didn't lose that game, we were out coached. Again. The referees were bad, but we (Michigan) should have been up three scores at the half."

"552 yards of offense and only 33 points to show for it. How is this ever going to change? I like Harbaugh, don't get me wrong. But at what point does Michigan decide that Harbaugh is no different to Michigan than 1990's John Cooper was to Ohio State?"

"This game was literally a microcosm of the program since 2007. They fold. They got smacked in the mouth and folded. It's not on the players. Harbaugh has run his course and needs to go."

Are those assessments harsh? Maybe. Are those assessments fair? Absolutely. Regardless of how much you may love Jim Harbaugh as a person or as a football coach, the numbers are what the numbers are. At the very least, its understandable that - after nearly seven years of heartbreak and disappointment - some Michigan fans have simply had enough.