Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s football action around the state.
Michigan hopes to party like it’s 1969 against Ohio State
Look for memories of arguably the greatest win in Michigan football history to surface this entire week, mainly because in many ways it’s a great comparison.
Back in 1969, an underdog Michigan team knocked off an unbeaten Ohio State team with national title aspirations, earning a 24-12 win in Ann Arbor that gave U-M the Big Ten title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
It also set in motion Bo Schembechler’s legendary tenure for the Wolverines.
This year is the 50th anniversary of that game, and guess what the situation will be on Saturday for the latest Ohio State-Michigan game?
It will be an underdog Michigan team at home looking to beat an Ohio State team that is No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings and a definite national-title contender.
Of course, there are major differences between this year and that 1969 game.
The Big Ten title is not at stake, as Ohio State has already clinched the East division title and a spot in the conference title game in Indianapolis.
Truth be told, U-M probably won’t be ruining Ohio State’s national title hopes with a win, since OSU likely would still earn a playoff berth by beating Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten title game.
While Michigan can put itself in position for a Rose Bowl berth with a win, it’s not a certainty with Penn State, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the mix for Pasadena also.
But after losing eight straight and 14 of 15 to the Buckeyes, just beating Ohio State would feel like a championship for the Wolverines.
U-M knows it will need all the help it can get to spring the upset, including any magical vibes the 1969 game can provide.
Will Martha Ford consider firing Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia?
Following an embarrassing 19-16 loss to the previously one-win Redskins, Lions fans are assuming there’s now a watch on general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia regarding whether or not they’ll be fired.
After all, Quinn fired Jim Caldwell after a 9-7 season, saying it wasn’t good enough, and now the Lions are about to go a second straight season under Patricia worse than 9-7.
But despite what fans think, the only opinion that matters is that of Lions’ 94-year-old owner Martha Ford.
Will she be loyal to a fault and not do anything like her late husband, William Clay Ford, often did?
Or is she as fed up as the fan base is over more failure?
Will she see Matthew Stafford’s injury as an excuse to give Quinn and Patricia another chance? If the Lions lose to the Bears on Thanksgiving, those questions will become even more pertinent.
Michigan State on track for Quick Lane Bowl
Michigan State finally won a football game after nearly two months, although it came against lowly Rutgers.
The Spartans broke a five-game losing streak with a 27-0 win, and now can become bowl-eligible with a win at home against Maryland in the season-finale Saturday.
If MSU wins, the likely destination is the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
Settling for that game wouldn’t be good image-wise for MSU, but the Spartans can’t afford to turn down any bowl invite and the 15 extra practices that come with it.
Unfortunate ending to prep semifinal
The Division 5 state semifinal between Almont and Detroit Denby ended early because of excessive personal fouls and featured a confrontation between players and fans following Almont’s 36-8 win.
As Denby players exited the field, they climbed the ramp and got into a shouting match with fans from Almont, who chanted at Denby players as they were walking to the locker room.
Denby head coach Deon Godfrey told the Detroit Free Press that fans directed racial slurs at his players.
Police were on hand to separate the players from the fans.
Detroit Denby just attacked Almont’s band. A player was detained by police. Players are throwing shoes and helmets at Almont fans. Local police are racing here in droves. pic.twitter.com/ovc2SLiBUk— Brandon Folsom (@folsombrandonj) November 23, 2019
Matchups for state finals at Ford Field all set
Here is the schedule for this weekend’s prep state football finals at Ford Field.
Division 8 - Beal City (12-1) vs. Reading (12-1), 10 a.m.
Division 2 - Detroit Martin Luther King (10-2) vs. Muskegon Mona Shores (11-2), 1 p.m.
Division 6 - Maple City Glen Lake (12-1) vs. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (11-1), 4:30 p.m.
Division 4 - Birmingham Detroit Country Day (13-0) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (12-1), 7:30 p.m.
Division 7 - Pewamo-Westphalia (13-0) vs. Jackson Lumen Christi (12-0), 10 a.m.
Division 1 - Brighton (11-2) vs. Davison (11-2), 1 p.m.
Division 5 - Lansing Catholic (12-1) vs. Almont (13-0), 4:30 p.m.
Division 3 - Muskegon (13-0) vs. River Rouge (12-1), 7:30 p.m.