Kirk Herbstreit and Pat McAfee made some interesting comparisons in explaining how Michigan will respond to sign-stealing allegations.
First, Herbstreit likened Michigan’s motivation to that of the Houston Astros, explaining that the Wolverines will be fired up to prove it’s not the reason for their success.
“I’m just ready to watch football. I’m ready to watch them get on the field. Kind of had enough of this story. We’ll see where it leads. I’d be shocked if the Big Ten did something in this season, but who knows. Unprecedented times,” Herbstreit said, via College GameDay. “Very tough spot for the first year commissioner to be in. … I’m just excited to see how this team will react. JJ McCarthy, when Jim Harbaugh was suspended, he was fired up about his coach. This veteran team, I think it’ll bring them together.
“I think it’s going to be, ‘We’ll show you, that’s not the reason,’ kind of like the Astros did in baseball, ‘We’ll show you that’s not the reason we’re a great team.’”
Following up, McAfee harkened back to the numerous scandals that the New England Patriots dealt with over their dynasty filled with Super Bowl success, and how it brought the players in the building closer together.
“To echo your statement, and to kind of expand upon it, when the New England Patriots were charged with either Spy-Gate or Deflate-Gate, their mantra inside the building was, ‘Oh, is that why we’re winning? You think that’s why we’re winning?’ As players, and it really did rally them together,” McAfee added. “The facts are the closest game this Michigan team has played this year is a 24-point spread, and that was against Rutgers. JJ McCarthy has accounted for 21 total touchdowns, three interceptions. Those all came in the same exact game.
“So I think we all share the feeling that it stinks that it’s happening in this particular season, because of how good this team is on the field. … I think we’re all excited to move on, but if they cheated, we know the NCAA will get them, by 2030 or something.”
While some are hoping Michigan has the hammer brought down on them, the fact that they’ve been in the news over recent weeks might actually be bringing them together, which isn’t great news for the rest of college football.
Time will tell, but the Wolverines have their chance to prove it this weekend against Purdue. The Boilermakers could be a sacrificial lamb for a freshly motivated Michigan squad, and it might not be pretty.