Over the last couple of years, Ohio State has dominated Michigan. Michigan hasn't beaten them since 2011. There is one game that sticks out where Michigan had a chance to win. On November 26th, 2016, the Wolverines traveled to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams were 10-1 going into the game and if Michigan won, they would advance to the Big 10 championship. Going into the half, the Wolverines were up 10-7 and shutting down Ohio State offensively. Both teams scored in the third quarter to put the score at 17-14 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was scoreless until Ohio State made a 23 yard field goal as the clock ran out to send the game to overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime. In the second overtime, Michigan was stopped and held to a field goal. Ohio State was then stopped on their first two plays and had a 3rd and 9. The play call was a screen pass to Curtis Samuel. It looked like he was going to be stopped, when he started going in the other direction, running circles around the Michigan defense. Samuel advanced the ball 8 yards and made it a 4th and 1. On this play, JT Barrett took a direct snap and ran for 1 yard for a first down. The problem with this was, it appeared as if Barrett was short. He was given the first down and Curtis Samuel scored a 15 yard rushing touchdown on the next play, winning the game for Ohio State. This sparked the question: What if JT Barrett was called short? In this article I am going to simulate the rest of the season and see the impact on the college football world if JT Barrett was called short.
Champ week - Going into the game, Michigan was ranked 3rd and Ohio State was ranked 2nd. After the game, Michigan jumped Ohio State to the 2 spot and Ohio State fell to five. In real life, Ohio State stayed 2nd and Michigan dropped to 5. The original championship was between Penn State and Wisconsin, but Michigan beat Penn State in the regular season making the big 10 championship Michigan vs. Wisconsin.
2. Michigan vs. 6. Wisconsin - In a defensive struggle, Michigan comes out on top 24-14. The MVP was De'Veon Smith with 11 carries for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilton Speight was only 12 for 18 for 160 yards and 1 touchdown. For Wisconsin, Alex Hornibrook went 23 of 37 for 249 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Corey Clement had 29 carries for 145 yards. The rest of the box score is below.
Top 10 rankings after champ week - 10. Colorado 9. USC 8. Penn State 7. Wisconsin 6. Ohio State 5. Oklahoma 4. Washington 3. Clemson 2. Michigan 1. Alabama.
Bowl games that were changed -
Rose Bowl - 6. Ohio State vs 9. USC - Ohio State jumped out to a 21 point lead and never looked back. The most they were up was 35-10. Final The MVP was JT Barrett as he went 20-30 for 199 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also carried the ball 22 times for 64 yards and 1 touchdown. Curtis Samuel had 9 receptions for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. For USC, Sam Darnold went 23 of 36 for 240 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Juju Smith-Schuster had 8 receptions for 81 yards and 1 touchdown. The rest of the box score is below.
Final score: Ohio State 38 USC 24
Orange Bowl - 7. Wisconsin vs. 11. Florida State - The game was relatively close at the beginning as Wisconsin scored 2 field goals and Florida State scored a touchdown but after that, Florida State turned on the jets and used the Florida crowd to their advantage and ran away from Wisconsin. The MVP was Dalvin Cook as he had 26 carries for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, with 1 reception for 34 yards an a touchdown through the air. Deandre Francois was a close second for MVP with 301 yards, 2 touchdowns, 31 rushing yards, and a touchdown. The lone bright spot on the Badgers' offense was wide receiver Jazz Peavy, as he had 7 receptions for 141 yards. The rest of the box score is below.
Final score: Florida State 38 Wisconsin 9
Cotton Bowl - 8. Penn State vs. 15. Western Michigan - The New Years 6 Bowl Game matchup between the best group of 5 team and one of the better Power 5 teams is always a high scoring affair. This one was no different except for the fact that Penn State was the only team to have a high score. Western Michigan made two early field goals to go up 6-0 and Penn State only allowed 6 more points for the rest of the game, demolishing Western Michigan. The MVP was undoubtedly Trace McSorely. He went 15 of 24 for 227 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Running back Jarvion Franklin was the only Bronco to put up a decent stat line with 19 carries for 82 yards. The rest of the box score is below.
Final score: Penn State 48 Western Michigan 12
College Football Playoff: 1. Alabama vs. 4 Washington 2. Michigan vs. 3 Clemson
We are going to assume the same outcome for Alabama vs. Washington because that's how it played out in real life.
Fiesta Bowl - 2. Michigan vs. 3. Clemson - In the biggest surprise of this simulation, Michigan defeated Clemson. Michigan was down twice, at 7-0 and at 10-7. After that Michigan ran away with the game and only allowed 10 points. The MVP was De'Veon Smith as he ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Michigan had 3 different rushers get touchdowns with Smith, Karan Higdon, and Jabrill Peppers. The only player to shine for Clemson was Deshaun Watson. He went 22 of 36 for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The national champions have been defeated. The rest of the box score is below.
Final score: Michigan 31 Clemson 20
National Championship - 1. Alabama vs. 3. Michigan - The Crimson Tide jumped out to an early 17-0 lead with 2 passing touchdowns from Jalen Hurts to Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart and a field goal. Alabama remained in control for the rest of the game and only allowed a field goal and a touchdown on Michigan's 2nd to last drive of the game. The MVP was Jalen Hurts with 149 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 83 rushing yards. Neither of these offenses were able to get going as Wilton Speight had 141 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Your new national champions are the Alabama Crimson Tide. The rest of the box score is below.
Final score: Alabama 23 Michigan 10
As you can see, the 2016-17 college football season would've been much more different if JT Barrett was called short. All New Years 6 Bowl Games the Big 10 was involved in would be changed. Michigan would've made the national championship. People would probably look at Harbaugh as a good coach and not a waste of $40 million. Comment down below if you have a suggestion for another what if.