Remember last year, when the South Carolina Gamecocks had a magical resurgence at the end of the season by upsetting the Tennessee Vols and Clemson Tigers, costing both a shot at the College Football Playoff? It was impossible to explain. What if they had some help along the way from Michigan Football?
The Wolverines’ sign stealing scandal took another twist Tuesday when it came out that they scouted other teams outside of the Big Ten. According to a report from Yahoo, Michigan scouted Tennessee, Clemson, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Oregon Ducks. Specifically, a staffer attended the UT game against the Kentucky Wildcats on Oct. 29.
Right now, the narrative is that Michigan Football was scouting teams because all were in the College Football Playoff hunt. Indeed, Tennessee and Clemson were both undefeated when the first rankings came out, after that UT-UK game, and Alabama and Oregon each had one loss.
However, what if Jim Harbaugh’s program wasn’t just trying to get information on potential CFP opponents? What if they were trying to clear the field to give themselves some leeway in case they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes at the end of the year to make sure the loser still got in. Hey, OSU did get in.
How would they assure that? Well, by sharing information with opponents of those teams. All four of those teams suffered upset losses in November. Alabama lost to the LSU Tigers, and Oregon lost to both the Washington Huskies and Oregon State Beavers. We already mentioned Tennessee Clemson losing to South Carolina.
Clemson also lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. By far, though, the biggest surprise was South Carolina’s two wins. Spencer Rattler and Shane Beamer were left for dead. They were 6-4 and looked awful. Then all of a sudden they beat two teams in the hunt for the playoff, one on the road?
It even looks weirder this year when you see how bad South Carolina is now at 2-5. So here’s the question: Did Michigan Football share information on the Vols and Tigers with the Gamecocks? Is that how those two teams managed to lose to that program, one that, again, was left for dead?
The loss was clearly devastating for both teams, so it seems likely. LSU was also a suspicious win over Alabama. Remember, this team lost to a bad Texas A&M Aggies team at the end of the year, and the Vols beat them 40-13 in October. How did Brian Kelly’s program pull off that one. Did he have help from the Michigan Football program?
We can’t know for sure how this all played out, but there’s no denying that this is more than suspicious. Still, my take on it is that at the end of the day, you still have to go out and execute the plays, and if a team got your signs, well, you should be on to that and switch them up at halftime. It’s as simple as that.