Despite outplaying Ohio State for the nearly all of regulation, Michigan made repeated mistakes, from turnovers to dropped passes, to allow Ohio State to hang around, eventually completing the comeback in an emotionally charged, 30-27 victory in double overtime.
After the game, Jim Harbaugh wanted to make one thing clear. He was not happy about the officiating. Here’s a more complete clip:
And here are a few of the highlights, which basically amount to Harbaugh being mad about...well...an awful lot of things.
Harbaugh absolutely blistering the officials. Keep saying "I'm bitterly disappointed with the officiating" over and over again.— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) November 26, 2016
Harbaugh cited Grant Perry being held, complained a long time about the official being more concerned with him on sideline than OSU coaches— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) November 26, 2016
Harbaugh did get hit with a critical unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he threw his playcalling sheet, and he wasn’t particularly happy about that either.
Harbaugh if you throw a hat, throw your script, that's a penalty? Was told it was in basketball because that ref also does basketball— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) November 26, 2016
And finally, Harbaugh called J.T. Barrett’s 4th down conversion in double overtime, which he appeared to just *barely* get, “outrageous”.
Harbaugh: I thought there were some outrageous calls, including the one that (should have) ended the game— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) November 26, 2016
Michigan was certainly penalized more than Ohio State was, as the Wolverines picked up seven penalties for 59 yards, while the Buckeyes were only penalized twice for six yards. But the officials also forced Ohio State to take a timeout over a ticky tack mouthguard violation for Corey Smith.
And even if one was to concede that Ohio State got the benefit of the doubt on a few key calls, the officials didn’t have Michigan fumble right before scoring a touchdown, or throw two backbreaking interceptions.
I certainly can’t imagine why officials might be inclined to pay a little bit of extra attention to potential Harbaugh histrionics though. That sword swings both ways, and if go out of your way to constantly draw attention to yourself...well...you’ll get that attention.
There are tough calls that happen in every close game. But any Michigan fan, or coach, who wanted to blame the result of this contest on the officiating, is, in our humble opinion, making a mistake.
We’ll see if the Big Ten league offices agrees.