Facts and numbers don’t lie.
And Braylon Edwards didn’t, either, when asked to compare the Michigan football program to Ohio State on Monday.
“Falling? We fell,” Edwards said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s past tense. We’re light years behind Ohio State right now.”
Edwards, the former Michigan All-American receiver, hasn’t masked his frustration with the state of his alma mater, particularly during the Jim Harbaugh era.
Last season, Edwards blasted Harbaugh’s program in a viral Twitter post in which he ripped players and called the program “trash.” Edwards was suspended from his job as a Big Ten Network analyst because of the comments, and while he has since backed away and apologized for such direct claims, he still said earlier this month he was waiting for U-M to “win the big game.“
As in, The Game.
As in, Ohio State. And the Big Ten championship.
Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2004 and has yet to advance to the Big Ten championship game, which has been played annually since the conference formed divisions in 2011.
Michigan also has lost seven straight to Ohio State, including last season’s historic 62-39 defeat, and 14 of the past 15 in the series.
National titles? The Buckeyes have won two (in 2002 and 2014) since Michigan’s last title in 1997.
“My biggest concern, if I’m being honest,” Edwards said. “Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year, they are breathing, living, hating – they can’t even say our name. They hate us so much. When they go into that game, that’s that old-school, 1960s football, Friday Night Lights in Texas – that’s the atmosphere. That’s what they bring to the table when they play us. You can feel it on them. You can almost smell the hate when you play against them.
“… You approach certain teams differently. We got to start approaching that game from the standpoint that they do. I feel like when we go into that game, you’re looking at two different preparation systems.”
Michigan entered this season as the favorite to win the Big Ten. The Wolverines returned the bulk of their firepower on offense, and after adding Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator, they were expected to take a step forward with their “Speed in Space” offensive philosophy.
The early returns have been mixed.
No. 10-ranked Michigan (2-0) showed promise in its season-opening win against Middle Tennessee State, then regressed in a double-overtime squeaker against Army in Week 2.
Injuries have played a role in the slow offensive start, but freshman running back Zach Charbonnet looks like a star in the making. Still, U-M will find out just how close it is to Big Ten contention when it plays at No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Coming off a bye week, the Wolverines are 3-point underdogs.