Sometimes when you bend the rules or go against the integrity of the game, though, karma hits you back with a swift kick to the gut. Such was the case when the Wolverines faced TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinals, according to a Yahoo! Sports report by Ross Dellenger:
Michigan’s scheme was so wide spread among coaches that one told TCU’s staff before the game, “They have the most elaborate signal-stealing in the history of the World.”
Related news! TCU hung a 50 burger on Michigan and wound up winning 51-45 to advance to the national championship game. Yes, the Horned Frogs got bulldozed by Georgia in the subsequent matchup, yet knowing what we know now, how refreshing is it that TCU threw it back in the Wolverines’ faces?
Although two of the Horned Frogs’ touchdowns came off pick-sixes, they still managed to tag Michigan with a myriad of big plays throughout the evening.
The suspended staffer at the heart of the Wolverines’ sign stealing scheme, Connor Stalions, had a sheet with TCU’s signs on them! Can you believe this guy? I guess if he had the audacity to draw up a 600-page manifesto about his vision to make Michigan the “ultimate standard” in college football, something like this isn’t beneath him.
Texts reviewed by @sinow show Connor Stalions claimed relationships with multiple Michigan assistants
He was apparently also working on a 600-page "manifesto" to run the program in the future using data on ~500 Navy players to inform a recruiting theory. https://t.co/WCdmylmWWa
I wonder if the manifesto includes “blatant cheating” as a key tenet of building a powerhouse program. Part of me respects Stalion’s audacity. Most of me is thinking more along the lines of…
It’s one thing to happen to look over at the opponent’s sideline in a game situation and steal their signs then. Or to watch the game film, or a previous national TV broadcast, and pick up some of them from there. It’s another thing entirely to coordinate a clandestine signal-stealing operation and leverage that into an undefeated regular season where you have the answers to the test beforehand.
Again, I agree with Matt Rhule that the stupid signs on the sidelines need to go. It’s a stupid, bad look for everyone involved and often makes college offenses so gimmicky. To me, it’s on the coaching staff to change their signs every week if that’s the lazy way they’re gonna go about teaching their players. Otherwise, you’re liable to be found out and put your players in poor position to succeed.
At least TCU had the wherewithal to do something about all this and had a vicious counterpunch ready. Even still, Michigan almost beat them. Guess we’ll see how this saga unfolds. Regardless, this subplot about the Horned Frogs made me laugh very hard at the Wolverines’ follies.