Mike Lantry, 1972
Has anyone read today's Bill Simmons column?
It's about the Suns, and also EPL soccer, but it instantly reminded me of the last 7 years against OSU. It got me thinking about what crazy thing will happen that causes us to finally win the game. A 99 yard DRob run? Tate leading a last minute drive with multiple broken bones? GERG thoroughly outcoaching and outsmarting Tressel?
Simmons takes a lot of crap nowadays, but when he's on,
he's really fucking on he can still capture the emotional part of fandom better than anyone except Brian and Nick Hornby.
I wanted to write a post about what I experienced Saturday at the big house and the events leading up to The Game. Warning: This will be wordy but does not feature enough statistical content for a diary.
My friend and his wife are unfortunately in AA because their 4 month old daughter just had open heart surgery at Mott on Tuesday. Mrs. Route66 and I were planning on coming over to see them Saturday. We could not find a sitter so I decided to stay home and watch our girls. Figured it would be best because I would be forced to spend the money on some tickets if I went. There is no way I could go to AA and not go to The Game.
At 3pm Friday, already planning naps around The Game, I got a phone call that said our friends just picked up a pair of tickets to the game from some people in the parking lot of the hospital. Literally these people rolled down their window and offered them the tickets. Face value. Our friends were not in a position to buy them and had to pass. Those folks then said they would sell them both for $65. He abruptly bought them.
We then had a sitter, one of 20 we called, call us back and say she could do it. COUNT ME IN! I was on my way to another UofM/OSU game! Only my second ever.(1995) Oh, and the tickets were section 23, row 40 seats 9&10. Um....yeah, those are mint.
The people who gave the tickets away were friends of Coach Hobson. That's why the tickets were so good. We both laughed that we would not be able to say anything bad about linebacker play because we may be sitting next his family.
If any of you know, that section's isle is THE isle to the press box. Saw the likes of Jamie Morris, John U. Bacon, etc.
Here are two others that stand out:
Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum was walking up and I immediately noticed his name tag. I nudged my buddy and buddy yells out, "HEY BIG TEX!" Big Tex smiles and leans over and we both give him a hand shake and say welcome to the Big House, Go Blue, and Please Sign Today as we stumble over our words. He moved on and we both looked at each other like after you looked at the girl you first kissed. Really awkward yet stoked.(no homo) I then said to the people around me that if he signs, it is because two fat white guys, 40 rows up, welcomed him with hand shakes. Yes, I will take full credit right now when he commits. If he doesn't then it is my friends fault.
After the game, we were just chilling, soaking up the atmosphere realizing that we may never sit in this good of seats again. Kind of fuming over what could have been. Then across the isle, in our same row walks a balding guy holding a Members Only coat. His head was down, but I knew it was Bill Martin. I say...again, like a dork because you never know what to say in those situations, "Hey Mr. Martin!" He looks up and kind of stops. Both my friend and I give him the thumbs up say thanks for RichRod and keep up the good work. We also said, simultaneously "Keep Rich!". Bill moved on and we again looked at each other like dang, we just had an impact on RR's job security! Not really, but Martin did say he appreciated the support. Again, I am SURE that we were the reason for Martin giving RR the vote of confidence yesterday.
There you have it. We totally fell into some sweet tickets and got to chat, if you can call it that, with some cool people. For 3 hours yesterday we were able to get away and forget about everything and enjoy a fun atmosphere in the Big House. Thanks friends of Jay, whoever you are!
The announcers were talking about Tate Forcier hitting the wall this year late in the season. And I was wondering whether a whole team could hit the wall.
What has bothered me the most about this team this second half of the season is their complete inability to take advantage of opportunities and their tendency to collapse at the most inopportune times.
Obviously in the first four games (but also Michigan State and Iowa) it felt like they could still make plays when they needed to; like they were going to keep fighting until the end. I can take the losses of MSU and Iowa, like the wins against Indiana and ND, because it felt like we played hard and were in it right until the end.
But in this slide is just didn't feel that way. Whenever the defense played well the offense struggled. If the offense made a big play the defense immediately gave up one.
Today was just another example. Tate just inexplicably fumbles and gives Ohio State 7. We can't make a short FG. The defense plays well but the offense goes three and out. When we do move the ball Tate throws a pick in the endzone. The score may have been close but I never felt we were going to win this game - maybe that is my lack of faith - because we gave OSU the perfect set up: protect a lead and wait for Michigan to make a mistake. It worked.
Maybe it is because there are so many young players - Forcier is still a freshman after all - but it just feels like this team picks the worst possible time to make critical mistakes.
Ohio State is a good defense, and they played conservatively on offense, but five turnovers?!?! Three with the game hanging by a thread.
I don't know if it is inexperience, mental and physical exhaustion, or trying to do too much. But this team found ways to lose rather than finding ways to win and it wasn't always clear that it was due to lack of talent.
One thing I will be looking for next year is a sense that those who return will play smarter and within the system. I am not sure I can take another year of massive turnovers and the overall lack of poise and discipline.
P.S. For the record I am totally against firing RichRod. I think continuity is a must right now. We need as many returning players as we can get plus as many recruits as is possible. This team needs to continuing building not start over again.
I don't blame this inability to find ways to win games during conference play primarily on the coaches - the players were in a position to make plays but didn't. But I do think next year this team has to show composure and discipline or I will begin to wonder about coaching.
I wont be in Ann Arbor today (fuck me)...But it's game day, enough said, I am fuckin amped right now... GO BLUE!!!!
P.S. Sorry for the pointless thread
Today is what I live for. I have been emotionally commited to michigan since I was 4 years old. There have been alot of great times, and lately some rough times. I know if I look at the matchup without my maize blinders on it looks bleek for us, but I don't care.
At noon I'm gonna sit down with my pipe and a case of beer, then I am going to spill out my heart and soul supporting my team. There is nothing that I have experinced in my life that makes me feel as alive as THE GAME. The emotional high's and low's I go through during THE GAME have yet to be duplicated by any other experince in my life.
I don't know if its the 40 year anniversary of the 69' game, osu having already clinched the rose bowl, the ugly uni's their gonna wear or just my deep passionate hate for everything ohio, but I feel like today's game will be one of the greatest we have ever seen in the rivalry.
Win or loose, as glorious or ugly as it gets, I know today I will feel as euphoriclly high or as manically depressed as humanly possible. Most people won't let a game ruin or make their day to day lives, but I will. It may be pathetic but I don't care I love this team with every bit of emotion I have in me. I wouldn't trade what I experince during THE GAME for anything in the world, and damnit thats why ITS GREAT, TO BE, A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE.
Many of you might have seen reports about the team-only meeting that was called earlier this week.
Now, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, we have an idea of what Brandon Graham told the team:
"It was just, ‘Lay it out on the line. This is our last go-round,'" Graham said. "'This is our way out. You’ll have to wait 300-and-something days until this game. Right now, leave a mark on [Ohio State] for a whole year until that next game because we beat them.’
I don't know about you guys, but there's something really heartening about the energy that must have been going through that room. Let's see 'em shock the world on Saturday.