things go poorly
Michigan has lost 5 of its last 6, but it has held a 2nd half lead in every game. I think this is both remarkable and telling.
It is not that our players and schemes are not good enough, or even as simple as us lacking consistency (if that was the case we would think we'd sometimes be down 20 at the half and then lose by 7). While our talent has some notable holes and our youth makes us up and down, there is something else going on, perhaps also having to do with youth.
We fade when the momentum swings big quickly. This happened at Penn State; it happened with Michigan State and with Illinois. We came out strong, looked better, gave up some big plays and then slinked away. I don't think that our guys quit or stop playing hard, necessarily, but the discouragement does seem to make them tight. It seems to make them doubt that they were really supposed to win. Minnesota is the standout game, we continued to play well because that huge swing never happened. It looked like it might until the Trent interception, but it never did. We pitched a perfect game. Unfortunately, we may be so fragile right now that that is what it takes.
It would be hard for anyone to like Kirk Herbstreit less than I do, but I think he was right when he predicted that Notre Dame would be defining for this team. That game was a perfect storm of bad luck, bad calls, and bad weather that magnified early mistakes and blunted a valiant response. In that game we did not pack it in even after a rapid three touchdown deficit. We clawed back and made some progress.
But in hindsight the ND game seemed to fatally scar our psyche. When Illinois started landing big-punches on us it was like the bad dreams came back. Long passes, missed tackles; here we go again. And since that Illinois collapse it has become a recurring theme. When we give up the huge plays we wither. This is generally true of college teams, but I have never seen it be more true than with 2008 Michigan. We are too young and unconvinced to weather the discouragement and embarrassment of the big plays. It cues a whole host of already-experienced moments that haunt this team. They keep fighting, but they lose their nerve. We throw to the other team, give up the next big play, etc. It is truly heartbreaking to watch.
But I think this is a reason to be slightly more hopeful regarding the future. This is not a typical 3 win team that is down 1 touchdown after the first quarter, down 17 points at the half, and never really challenges. We're close. Call me crazy, but I think that if the 2008 team had never acquired this wounded psychology it could have won at least 7 games--even with the deficiencies at QB and safety.
We are a team of haunted freshman. But a good start out of the gate next season and we will be watching swaggering sophomores. That is what I am looking to. Not sure what else to ponder...
All this talk recently about people leaving and the OMG Panic post reminded me of Bo's quote "Those who stay will be champions." In this case, however, it may take a little longer than we are used to. If McGuffie and Babb and Chambers don't want to stay, let them leave. And please, give Rich Rod a chance. He may not be Lloyd Carr in terms of integrity according to the media but what when your put in his situation with your family being threatened, what do you expect? (insert a-splode pic here) The guy knows how to win. He has proven that everywhere And in the winningest program in college football, shouldnn't that count for something, evne if it does take a little while? My message to everyone that has been preached by Brian over and over again, be patient. It is the guys first season and if you look at his track record this has happened everywhere he has gone. Just because we are Michigan means we should be able to walk over everyone? No. We have to work just like everyone else and I believe partially that sense of entitlement has gotten us here. I like what RR is doing with family values, especially the story with Brandon Harrison. Everyone that is buying into his system is becoming closer and closer together. Becoming a true team is the first step he is taking to bringing us back to the promise land. And remember, "Those who stay will be champions"...they just may have to wait 2 or 3 years.
Mark Dantonio says go Bucks & alot of you are upset. WHY??! I *ucking love it. This guy is the gold standard for Spartans. We need him. I cannot stand the guy. First off he has made weird and unfinished responses as well as hate filled jabs at us since he was hired at MSU. Then he makes winning the game in E.L. last year the players national championship instead of winning football games overall. And last but not least he decides to tell the media that hes rooting for those classless bums down in Columbus. All I gotta say is HELL FUCKING YES.
We need this guy. For one it gives a sense of urgency to this non-existent rivalry. And it also exposes everything thats wrong with Michigan State football. When a head football coach says that hes rooting for the Bucks when it could possibly help his team thats just straight up nonsense. Especially if that team is from the Michigan and the other team is in OHIO. You better believe it that if a Big 10 title and a Rose Bowl trip came down to The Bucks and State in the last game of the year i'm going to root for MSU. Not that MSU is going to beat Penn State or anything remotely close to that.
2 years ago I went to Columbus to watch the game. We were both undefeated and enjoying something that we had never experienced in our rivalry. #1 & #2. The day was a perfect football day and as I walked to the stadium and took it all in I felt an excitement that was very rare and couldn't wait for the game. As I walked closer to the stadium out of nowhere pops up MSU fans. And they tried everything they could play the day spoiler. I blew them off and kept walking only to have 3 more pop up and do the same almost turning into a fight. I thought to myself, wow, is this really how bad the fan culture has become for the young kids at MSU? A fan base who has kids that are willing to drive 4 hours to Columbus just to antagonize UM fans while they are getting waxed as we spoke by Penn State??
So yeah, I have lost interest in MSU. Its not a rivalry. Its a game that we lose once every 5-6-7 or so years. Hell if it wasn't for Shot Clock Bob we were damn close to hittin the 10 year mark. So what they beat us this year. I didn't like it. I hated it, but they almost lost a game to the worst Michigan team uh...ever in modern history?? ... So in comes Dantonio and his crybaby, Michigan Wolverine hating antics and big mouth #### talk. Cool i'm with it. Because now when we go back to winning the next 5 or 6 outta 7 I am going to relish and celebrate with renewed vigor every single time we beat them.
As the greatest team in college football history with a fan base as entitled as a UAW worker, this season has gone from bad to worse to off the rails the last few days as we head into the shoe and everyone is coming out of the wood work to pile on. I say to them bring it on. Herbstreit and Spielman keep yucking it up, Dantonio you can keep acting like a smug idiot..Go Bucks??(Keep lying down for your old buddies maybe they'll let you go to a Rose Bowl in another 20 years...what a moron.) ESPN pile on Rodriguez with inaccurate headlines, Newspapers slant Desmonds comments, Valenti continue to waste 3 hours of your show talking about Michigan but insisting you're not obsessed with them, callers keep calling for Rodriguez's head, interneters keep up with bashing heap it all on, shovel after shovel, we're pissed off and you get us even more mad, we're a laughingstock and just like Ol Fat Charlie all we can do is take it. I'm sure the kids are taking it, the coaches are taking it so if you're fan save it all up, because revenge is sweet and in a few years we'll all be going to the dentist.
In case no major news will pick it up(they always post the boring clarification)..I listened to Desmond oon WTKA and he explained his comments, expressed his support for Rod and the coaches and thinks if given time they will play for the NC in 5 years, the best part was when Sam asked him about Herbie and Spielman's comments and taking noise from all the Bucks @ ESPN. He made fun of them a little bit, then said I'll try to paraphrase "Herbie, Spielman, Robert Smith those guys no better than to talk noise with me, because they know I scored the most humiliating touchdown in their stadium in its history, they know I never lost to those guys so don't bring that my way, they best no who they are talking to..none of those guys have winning records against us. I bleed Maize and Blue and I want my second Ann Arbor family to know I'm with them 100%
I had this dream last night.
I was watching Michigan play Ohio State on Saturday. It was deathly cold. Threet was starting. I was watching the game from on my old porch on East William in Ann Arbor. Yes that's weird. It's a frikkin dream, okay?
On the first kickoff, some unheralded guy put a lick on OSU's returner that would make a Mack Truck jealous. It was on.
Jamison came around the edge and forced Pryor to throw early, and this time Brown caught it.
Herbstreit, doing analysis up in the booth, said Michigan wouldn't be here if they didn't have to be. Someone threw him out of the press box. Not the nice way.
On a seemingly innocuous run, Moundros plowed into Laurinaitis. Replays couldn't show what happened -- too many guys in on the play. But when they finally got James up, there were stains on the seat of the silver pants.
Ohio State's offense scored. A tight end came across and Pryor hit him for a big gain, and Wells did the rest from the 5 yard line.
Michigan returned it to the 50. They started running it again. For 4 and a half minutes. Threet sneaked it in for the tie.
This is a dream remember -- it flashes forward worse than those replays on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan gets a gift -- for once the other team finally doesn't have safety help and 22 breaks for a long, perfectly executed TD.
Now it's late in the game. Graham plows through the offensive line. He hits Pryor so hard the stadium is immediately silenced. Michigan is up 22-7 and time is ticking off the clock still, and there's Graham atop his prey, right in Pryor's facemask. The frozen world outside those facemasks does not exist. It's Graham looking right at Pryor. He spits on his face. He says
And he never does.
That was my dream.
The other dream I had last night my girlfriend made us convert to Orthodox Jews and I had to grow my sideburns out. But that wasn't nearly as interesting as the other dream.
Okay okay okay... we need, or at least I need, something fun and full of Michigan pride to get me through McGuffieGate and all the stress that's accompanied what in my opinion has to be the most UNenjoyable Ohio State week since I've been following UM football.
Being that the game is in that foul cesspool of human civilization otherwise known as Columbus, Ohio, I'm sure several of our loyal fans and readers will be making the journey to be taunted, cussed, laughed at, spit on, pissed on, and/or homosexually propositioned. AND of course it goes without saying that those fans will see in great abundance, that familiar tee shirt. You know, the one that at point in the mid 90's deserved a fair snicker just because it was clever and funny and foul all at once. The same one that now gives true meaning to the term 'beating a dead horse' everywhere from State College to Iowa City. The same shirt that drunken frat boys honestly think is something that honestly offends us, even as our powerhouse teams were dismantling their poor excuse for a Boilermaker or Hoosier squad on the very same afternoon.
Yes, that shirt. "ANN ARBOR IS A WHORE."
What was once a relatively funny and imaginative idea is now been BLOODY BEATEN to death by the rest of the Big 10, and I'm sure they'll be in heavy rotation among the drunken and otherwise brain-deprived Scarlet & Gray this weekend. So, I think it's time we RESPOND... and while it's far too late to actually go into production for this weekend, we can certainly talk about it later, Brian. You just work on Sam with VanHaaren.
So without further ado, I unveil my shirt...
"NO SHE'S NOT."
Go forth, Michigan Men, and defend her honor. Well, at least starting next year. GO BLUE.
Beat the damn Buckeyes