Coach Jim Harbaugh has until Sept. 24 to decide on who will be Michigan’s QB.
That game is against Maryland. Although Maryland is not a particularly strong opponent, it is a Big Ten game which are the biggest of all games this season.
How Long can Michigan go without naming a true starter?
Harbaugh can play his game of QB roulette against Hawaii, Colorado State and UConn. They don’t call it a preseason in college football, but the first three games for Power Five conferences are typically preseason games.
Yes, Appalachian State happens every blue moon. But Michigan has at least a 95 percent chance of dousing these cupcakes. These games are not played for wins and losses.
They are played so the stronger team can tune up for the conference season. The lesser team plays for money.
Harbaugh claims he has a match race in the making between incumbent Cade McNamara and upstart J.J. McCarthy.
Some of us believe him. Some of us don’t.
So what better way to decide this than allowing the QB1 competition be a public spectacle? We can all evaluate and debate with concrete evidence who we believe to be the better man.
“They’re actually both playing their best football since they’ve been here,” Harbaugh told the media. “Cade is arguably one of the most improved players on the team. It’s not a demotion for Cade McNamara. It is a promotion for J.J. based on what he’s been able to do, as well.”
Why Cade McNamara?
McNamara helped guide Michigan to a Big Ten championship, its first outright title since 2003, and a victory over Ohio State. However, he carries the stigma of being a game manager. The Wolverines will never win a national title with quarterbacks like him.
Harbaugh is an odd bird and none of this makes sense to many. However, there is a method to his madness
Perhaps Michigan is finally willing to roll the dice and see if it can shed itself from the old Bo Schembechler mentality of simply beating Ohio State and win the Big Ten. That’s all Michigan wanted for years.
Now we assume that the Wolverines have a flashy new toy that perhaps can move them to the next level.
McCarthy is all full of flash and dash. He carries the big arm and big reputation. The risk is that he could also sink the Wolverines to the second level because his big time arm could turn into big time mistakes and turnovers.
Cade is safe and sure. He does not turn the ball over often and he’s won the dressing room. Evidence of that was teammates voting him team captain.
When Will a Michigan QB be Named a Starter?
Should Harbaugh carry this race into the actual season? That is the hot debate around town.
I have no problem with it. It gives Michigan coaches a few more weeks to evaluate and decide if they want to flirt with the unknown. Can McNamara take them to the twilight zone where they are competing with Georgia, Clemson and Alabama?
However, none of us know if he can manage a game. We usually see J.J. in the second half against a second-string defense that has not prepared for him. It is time to evaluate him against starters with the score 0-0. Only then can you evaluate if he is able to take Michigan to the next level or ground the Wolverines into the ground.
Follow Terry Foster on Twitter at @TerryFosterDet.