This year is different though. The solid foundation that the Michigan program has stood upon for generations is now eroded. It feels much less stable than we can seem to recall. Last August surely didn't have this feel. Despite the regime change, despite the player exodus, despite the complete overhaul of how our Wolverines would line up and play the game, we felt that talent and tradition would lead us again to glory. It was our right after all, what the past had taught us to expect. Now the situation is palpably different. The rug has been swept from beneath the Michigan fan base. We simply cannot view each game on the schedule as a better than even chance of victory. Western Michigan looms as a stiff test for these young Wolverines, and that feels very odd indeed to say. The season has more glaring questions than most of us were willing to admit going in to last season.
Remember how it felt in years past, when there would be a question mark at quarterback, running back, defensive line, etc, etc, etc? Maybe the replacement wouldn't completely fill the shoes of the star player they were replacing, but pretty much rest assured they would be solid. Now we have questions everywhere we look...
- Can a freshman quarterback really lead this team to a winning record and a bowl berth?
- Do we really have a great running back in the stable, or will the fumbles and injuries return to haunt us?
- Will one (or hopefully more) of the many talented wideouts or slot receivers step up and become the star target we need?
- Was it merely a mirage that the O-line seemed to gel in the second half of last season?
- Can the D-line pick up where the departed seniors left off?
- Will RVB or some platoon of underclassmen be enough of a threat to free B. Graham of constant double teams?
- Is Ezeh cut in the mold of great Michigan linebackers of the past?
- Will Warren take that next step, or are his perceived shortcomings of last season due to something more than injuries?
- Do we have any decent safties on the roster?
- What the heck is a Spinner supposed to be doing?
- Will a burnt crispy Stevie Brown haunt us each and every weekend?
- Most glaring of all, can a defense possibly come together when the system they run as well as the their coaching staff changes three times in three years?
Hail to the Victors.
(Now let's hear some answers to the questions raised above. Maybe through further intelligent discussion we can all feel more confident about the situation!)
“THE ABILITY TO DESTROY A PLANET IS INSIGNIFICANT
NEXT TO THE POWER OF… THE FORCIER!"
This is the first entry of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert , a design project that
will enable MgoBlog readers to vote for upcoming designs in the brand spankin’ new MGoBlogStore. To reach the store, click here. To read
more about exactly what MGoShirt Alert is and will be about, click here.
For our first entry, I simply HAD to go with the current tagline of MGoBlog—a shout-out to the poise and talent of our new quarterback, not to mention the nigh-insurmountable pressure that we’ve all placed on his young shoulders. While quite simple in style, this shirt actually evolved quite a bit before settling on this final design. This final rendition hopefully captures the essence of the joke while clearly identifying one single player on our team. Unless, of course, you presume that it’s Vlad Emilien… but that’s another story for another post.
So, time to vote! What do you guys think?
|pollcode.com free polls|
|What do you think of MgoShirt #1?|
|Five Stars Four Stars Three Stars Two Stars One Star|
***** Five Stars: I MUST OWN THIS SHIRT RIGHT NOW!
**** Four Stars: Looks good—you just missed touching the GO BLUE banner!
*** Three Stars: Not bad—but does it come in Zoltan?? (PS- NO, it doesn’t.)
** Two Stars: Meh.
* One Star: I wouldn’t wish this shirt on Mark Dantonio’s pet turtle. Yikes.
Keep in mind that the design will not actually appear this large on an actual shirt-- I made all designs occupy most of the shirt space just to give everyone as good a view of the art as possible. That shirt graphic is also probably not anatomically accurate in the first place.
So place your votes, ladies and gentlemen, and feel free to add any comments below. I’m not likely to change the design unless Brian himself steps in on behalf of the community, but certainly anyone can feel free to speak your mind. I’ll be revealing another shirt tomorrow, and one every day for the next three weeks (not counting the weekends), so I’ll see you all tomorrow for another exciting round of – MGoShirt Alert!!
- Is this a uniquely awful revelation that casts doubt on the ability of Rich Rodriguez to properly evaluate character? Yes.
- Will this serve as ammunition for fans of our rival schools to taunt Michigan? Yes.
- Have crimes of this magnitude been perpetrated by student-athletes at a high-profile university before? Damn straight.
- Did that unfortunate event prove to be the program's undoing? Not even close.
But here's the thing: No matter how true you might think that is, it's still big fat tough titties for you. This could have happened just as easily under Les Miles or Jeff Tedford or literally any other coach in America, save perhaps Lane Kiffin, who would have found a way to sneak a 9-year-old transsexual sweatshop worker into the coke deal.
Even Lloyd, whom we would like to believe incapable of such an oversight, could only sit with folded hands as opposing fanbases across the country laughed at the dismissal of defensive tackle Larry Harrison, who was charged with four counts of sexual delinquency and suspected in 16 more. Harrison endangered fewer people than Feagin, certainly, but the fact remains that Rich Rodriguez does not stand alone among Michigan coaches who have seen a felonious embarassment take place on his watch.
This paragraph originally had a comment concerning the extent of Rich Rodriguez's duties as head coach of Michigan football; the original statement was roughly that Rodriguez's only obligation to the team is to coach them, and that any mentorship or emotional growth that a player might gain from his relationship with Rodriguez would simply be a lucky exception to the rule. That is inaccurate and frankly, pretty cold. What I should have said, and will say now, is that I simply don't know what to expect from Rich Rodriguez's relationship with his players. I formerly insisted that Rodriguez was a saint, beloved by all the pure-hearted cherubim on his roster; now, I can't say that. I don't think anyone can.
I've been trying hard not to compare the young Rodriguez era to the Lloyd Carr era for so many reasons: the small sample size of the current regime, the difference in personality (neither good nor bad, just evident), and the fact that a man deserves to be judged on his own merits.
If you want to claim that the mystique of the Michigan Man is waning, and that Rich Rodriguez has ushered in a new era of filth and depravity where there was once class and dignity, just remember that football will never be anything more than a sport. If you truly feel as though your own reputation is reflected in the record--on and off the field--of Michigan's football team, you are, unfortunately, projecting your own identity onto an inanimate, abstract concept, and you desperately need to reconstruct your priorities.
With that in mind, let us all load up with good defenses for the inevitable bombardment of insults from our peers in East Lansing, Columbus, and South Bend, and prepare ourselves for the upcoming season.
(Note: This has been bothering me for some time; spending my time in college I find myself coming across this more and more.)
I was at a friend’s costume party in East Lansing about a month ago, surrounded by Sparties and the like, when a fellow UofM fan walked in wearing Michigan memorabilia. I naturally walked over and told her I was also a UofM fan much to the other Spartans’ chagrin.
This became an issue throughout the night, however, when we would talk smack and go back and forth with the other Sparties. Arguing with them was an easy task-- as it always is because they really have nothing on us except for one victory in over 7 years-- but then they pulled out a wildcard of sorts. Something so diabolical yet really stupid that it boils my blood and grinds my gears every time I hear a fan of another team use it: I was only a “Walmart Wolverine”.
Now I happen to be a Central Michigan University student (and the UofM fan-girl was a State student) but I was born and LIVED in Ann Arbor my entire 20 years of existence. I have more history in that town than most students of the actual school have. I could’ve gone to Michigan for my undergrad; I graduated with highest honors from high school and know plenty of people from my graduating class who did choose to go to Michigan, but because I am paying for my own schooling, I could not afford their tuition.
I bleed maize and blue, I have always had a passion for Michigan sports and it pains me that I cannot go to school there. That being said, for someone to have the nerve to come up to me and question my fan hood just because I don’t go to the school is just straight out bullshit.
It is by far the dumbest argument I have ever had to face: “You don’t go to school there, you’re not a student, so therefore you cannot be a fan!”
Fuck you!* Have you ever worked for the Detroit Tigers? You haven’t? Well you aren’t associated with them, therefore you can’t be a fan. I just can’t imagine what these morons say to other State fans (or other fans of other schools) who didn’t go to their school. Walmart Spartan? I mean the logical argument works for all teams spanning across all fans.
Didn’t play soccer or live in Europe? Can’t be a soccer fan.
Never been to a hockey game? Can’t be a hockey fan.
Did you ever play for the Detroit Pistons? No? Well can’t be a fan of them either.
Of course some people might try to say that the fallacy in my argument with other sports, such as professional sports, is that you can be a fan of the said team because you live in the region.
But then they just proved their own argument wrong that I can’t be a Michigan fan because I lived in Ann Arbor my entire life, thereby associating myself with the local team.
I apologize that I am not a Michigan student nor on my way to becoming an Alumnus to the school. I apologize that I lived near the campus my entire life and chose to follow them instead of some other school that I have no local/familiar ties to. I’m just straight up sorry that your best argument to try to deface my fan hood has no logic to it. But say what you have to say, I will always root for the maize and blue, even if it means being a “Walmart Wolverine”.
*I apologize for the profanity. It is there for emphasis and nothing more.
This diary will give you a game by game Win and Loss prediction of what I expect UM to do this season. HOWEVA, it will also provide a projection as to where I expect UM to be at in the coaches poll. In addition, I also detailed what I believe the (ever-changing) fans' expectations for the season will be. This was the tricky (and fun) part of this diary because as we all know, expectations can and will change during the season. If you don't believe me, see the 2009 Detroit Tigers. Remember in Spring Training, most fans would have loved to just be in contention in August. But now, if they don't win the division, most fans will be disappointed. But let's get back to UM football...
Stage 0: How many more days til the games start?
Record: 0 - 0
Poll Projections: The coaches poll was just released. Only 1 coach projects us to be in the top 25 (and this was probably RR). Overall, around #57 in the country. Not very good.
Fans' Expectations: Most fans (gauging from various message boards and informal conversations with other UM fans) expect us to be anywhere from 5-7 (pessimists), 9-3 (optimists), but more likely 7-5 (realists). Motor City Bowl...hey we'll take it and be happy with it.
Game 1: Western Michigan W 42 - 17
Game 2: Notre Dame W 31 - 27
Stage 1: Hey, we're better than last year!
Record: 2 - 0 (0 - 0)
Poll Projections: I believe that after a nationally televised victory over a ranked Irish team, the coaches (along with the rest of the country) will take notice. We will definitely get some votes for the top 25. How many, not really sure. But this big win should be enough to break us into the party at around #24 or so.
Fans' Expectations: On MGoBlog, there will be some crazed lunatics that will be predicting 13-0 saying that this team is better than '97. While others, in an attempt to bring them off the ledge, will go overboard themselves in the opposite direction, and overly downgrade the good start to the season. But all in all, the fans' consensus will be it's a good start, but let's not get too excited yet. We will still be happy with any bowl, but we secretly have left our calendars open for New Year's Day, just in case.
Game 3: Eastern Michigan W 52 - 10
Game 4: Indiana W 38 - 24
Game 5: @ MSU W 24 - 20
Stage 2: WEEE'RE BAAACK!! And WE BAD AS HELL!!
Record: 5 - 0 (2 - 0)
Poll Projections: The nation is buzzing with UM talk now. RR is all over ESPN and for a good reason for once. We are steadily moving up the coaches' poll, and at 5-0, this puts us around #13 in the country. Surprisingly, we have 1 number one vote. (RR strikes again!)
Fans' Expectations: We are all overjoyed. You see UM t-shirts, hats, banners and car flags everywhere you go. The internets is full of talk about BCS bowl berths and dare we speak, even NC game appearances. We totally rule MSU and Mike Valenti takes a personal leave from 97.1 after his head explodes. Some fans even take to talking trash on OSU message boards in anticipation of the Big Game on 11/21. There is no stopping us now, RR is king!!!
Game 6: at Iowa L 31 - 14
Game 7: Deleware St. W 41 - 3
Stage 3: So, I guess we're not going to go undefeated after all...
Record: 6 - 1 (2 - 1)
Poll Projections: Losing at Iowa at night is not a bad loss, all things considering. We fall a bit, but still are solidly ranked at around #16.
Fans' Expectations: You can't win em' all, right? I mean, we DO have 2 true freshman quarterbacks and this was their first time leaving the great State of Michigan, and it was their first ever dreaded NIGHT game, and hey, they just had a bad game, right? All is not doomed. The fans are still excited. The BCS is still within our reach.
Game 8: Penn State L 31 - 30
Game 9: at Illinois L 45 - 21
Stage 4: RR SUCKS! I knew he couldn't compete in the BIG 11!!!
Record: 6 - 3 (2 - 3)
Poll Projections: We've lost 3 of 4 games. At 6-3 in a below average Big 11, and with blowout road losses to Iowa and Illinois, and a close loss to PSU, we haven't really beaten anyone good (ND doesn't count, sorry Irish). The coaches drop us out of the polls, but we still get some votes and are around #30 in the country.
Fans' Expectations: Like Wojo would say, "Panic in Ann Arbor-town! Panic in Ann Arbor-town!" (a WDFN oldbit) The magical luster of a once promising great season has dwindled. That blowout at Illinois was a disaster. An unusually high number of posts with the the letters "wtf" are recorded on MGoBlog. What the hell is going on! The crazies are loose and you hear words like, disappointment, let-down, underachievers, etc. Rational fans try to convince us that we are a good, young team, but just not ready to compete with the big boys, not yet. But they are quickly drowned out by the louder fanatics. Mike Valenti mysteriously arises and reminds us all that he said all along that Michigan was overrated and that MSU was going to be rebuilding this year.
Game 10: Purdue W 49 - 31
Game 11: at Wisconsin W 30 - 23
Stage 5: Okay, I guess we'll be alright!
Record: 8 - 3 (4 - 3)
Poll Projections: 2 straight meh victories, but they still count at W's. We are ranked again at #20 as the coaches finally realize exactly who we are.
Fans' Expectations: Okay, that's more like it. 8-3 is pretty good and we are stabilized in the coaches' poll. The Big 10 championship and BCS talk has disappeared, but we have a good shot at an excellent New Year's Day bowl. Orlando and Cap1 Bowl sounds pretty good! Fans' expectations calm down as we all prepare for the Big Game. For the most part, the fans are pretty happy.
Game 12: O$U (It's petty, I know, but it's fun to type) L 24 - 20
Stage 6: We lost the Big Game, AGAIN : (
Record: 8 - 4 (4 - 4)
Poll Projections: Everyone saw it coming. We competed really well, but there's no such thing as a moral victory or a good loss. Except, in the eyes of the coaches' poll. We stand pat at #20 and finish the season there. Not bad, all things considering.
Fans' Expectations: Even though you hate to admit it, OSU is just a better team than us right now. But, our time is coming. All the naysayers have switched their focus from RR being a terrible coach and possibly getting fired at season's end to when will he ever beat OSU? They question if he can ever win a big game and they bring up examples of the WVU-Pitt debacle from a couple years ago. But most fans stand up for their program. We can see improvements from the beginning of the season to now in terms of the offense, defense, ST, and coaching. And when compared to last year, the comparison is like night and day, a dramatic improvement.
An invitation to the Outback or Capital One bowl is accepted (depending on how good Illinois and Iowa are) and the fans are "partying like its 1999" cause we need a good Florida vacation. All in all, a very entertaining season and hopefully, one that will foretell good things to come in the near future.
Thanks for reading along....only 27 days, 21 hours, 32 minutes, and 55 seconds until we play some M football.
Gentlemen (and ladies), the 2009 Michigan football season is less than a MONTH away. You have very little time to prepare the gameday menu, to put a new coat of lacquer on the beer pong table, or to spend quality time with your wife before she loses you every Saturday for the next three odd months. You’re also going to need something to wear… and that’s where I come in.
It’s time for the...
That’s right folks—Because all of you demanded it, Brian is now rolling out the MGoBlog apparel in a brand new store. And… wait for it… That’s not all— we’re even going to ask YOU to decide on a shirt or two that will be featured in this 2009 line!
Over the next three weeks I’ll be unveiling a new shirt design every day from Monday to Friday. Each will rejoice in the glory of Michigan football, and by necessity, none will actually say Michigan football. For each shirt design we’ll be asking readers to ‘score’ each shirt on a scale of ***** (5 stars, Chad Henne) to * (1 star, Cobrani Mixon), based on the following criteria:
1. Visual Quality: Regardless of the message or joke, does the shirt look good? Certainly I’ll be doing my part to create aesthetically pleasing and professional designs, but the best design should be something that everyone is happy with.
2. Character/Humor: Assuming the shirt is funny… how funny is it? Does the joke work, or does it miss its mark? If the shirt is NOT meant to be humorous, then what IS it attempting to be? And is it successful in that regard?
3. Michigan Pride: How well does the shirt represent the glory and honor of Michigan football? Our various enemies are always looking for new ways to ridicule the block M and tear us down, and we’re certainly not going to give them any extra ammunition.
4. Mass Appeal: There is an inevitable culture here at MgoBlog, and for many reasons it is why you visit this site and not another random Michigan blog. So that’s great—Tacopants and Muppets are the order of business around here. But what happens when your Uncle Joe, also a loyal M fan, sees the shirt? Or perhaps the blue hair three rows behind you? Will the general UM fan base get the shirt’s message, and does it matter anyway?
5. Marketability: Most importantly, is this shirt something you would wear, or even more appropriately, something you would BUY?? A design can be hilarious or interesting to look at, but if it’s not going to sell it’s really not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something that all of you will be willing to spend your hard-earned money on and wear with pride on gameday.
Each day for the next three weeks, starting Monday, will see the release of a new t-shirt design by yours truly. We’ll allow the judging of each to last for a limited time and then tabulate the results to see which designs the MgoBlog community has chosen as their favorites. The top selection will then be made available for future purchase during the 2009 season.
2009 MgoShirt Alert is all about celebrating the culture of Michigan Football, and everyone is encouraged to take part. When all is said and done I hope to see everyone wearing the gear we’ve created at MGoBlog. Look for the first design tomorrow. GO BLUE!!