I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
The University of Michigan claims to be the leaders and best. Whether it be in the classroom or on the football field the U of M strives for excellence. From the most wins all time, to the hightest winning percentage, to the largest stadium in the country the University of Michigan has staked its claim in the college football world. The football program, however, has failed to evolve with the ever changing college football climate, and nothing proves this more than the hiring of Brady Hoke. This hiring is more a triumph of mediocrity than the pursuit of excellence.
The Bowl Championship Series has forever changed the college football landscape. No longer is it good enough to win the Big Ten and defeat a good team in the Rose Bowl. Now, in order to be called the champions, you must defeat another excellent team - the best of the best if you will. Does this mean that every championship prior to the BCS is worthless? Certainly not, but the method to be considered the champion has changed. In the 13 years of the BCS, Michigan has failed to recognize this change of culture. Sure, Michigan has won their share of Big Ten titles in the BCS era, but they have consistently failed to compete when going up against elite competition in BCS bowl games.
Three years ago, it seemed like the Michigan fanbase had come to recognize that a paradigm shift was necessary with regards to our football program. In other words, we were ready to stop throwing rock on first, second and third down. The fanbase clammored for change and a change was made. We dipped our toe in waters of chage, and many found that it was to cold or to uncomfortable. Instead of being the leaders and best, we have opted for the saftey of the past and the comfort of what was familiar.
Winning the Big Ten championship isn't enough anymore. Or at least it shouldn't be if we consider ourselves the "leaders and best". That is the old way of thinking, and it clearly has not been working in the BCS era. I have no doubt that the current coaching staff can stabilize the program and bring it back to where it was under Lloyd Carr. I am confident they can lead the program to Big Ten championships and even win a bowl game every now and then. But I want more. I expect more. This university and its fans should demand more.
Please don't misinterpret the point I am trying to make here. I don't believe that we should play in the BCS championship game every season. Programs have good years and bad years, injuries take their toll on every team, and sometimes you just aren't lucky. But, there is no reason why the Universy of Michigan cannot compete with the best teams in the country on a consistent basis.
Always wondered what happened to him. Article reminded me that RR tried to use wingless Michigan football helmets as motivational tools during the offseason.
So after they announced the hire yesterday, I too was a little peeved. I called my father (who lives and works in Ann Arbor) to get a good feel for what was going on. He made some excellent points which got me off the ledge and onto the Hoke bandwagon. Brian seems to be bent on shooting himself and renouncing everything Michigan, but some of you might find this helpful.
1. The Little Things - His best point IMO, was about the little things. Do you remember when you didn't have to worry about the little things? Do you remember ever worrying about the punt returner catching the ball? Do you remember every worrying about a 25 yard field goal? How about kick coverage stopping the other team before they advance past he 30? Do you ever (In your entire lifetime) remember Michigan turning the ball over the most in the Big Ten?
Hoke will fix the little things. This guy is a detail oriented coach who is tough, challenging, and endearing. He learned from the best, and went out into the coaching world to learn more from experience. Those of you saying that "all RR needed was a good defense" were simply not correct. His special teams were the worst in Michigan history. His turnovers were abundant and devastating in all three years. There are so many fundamental things wrong with this team that we desperatly need to get back to basics. Hoke is the perfect coach to do just that.
2. Where's the BEEF? - I grew up with Michigan football. It means everything to me, and it has given me much more joy than it will ever give me sadness. Going to the Big House is my favorite thing to do - PERIOD. Since I was a kid, I watched Michgan's smashmouth style with glee. I loved seeing the opposing team give up more and more yardage as the game went on. I loved to see us dominate the other team, even though they knew what we were doing. Try to stop us, I dare you.
Hoke will bring back the physicality that has been missing from this team. We had no killer attitude, and no dominating presence. With all the amazing weight training and strength building, we never got to see the Barwis effect on our physical nature. I read that he loves Michigan and might stay. That would be fantastic, and I think Hoke will quickly learn to appreciate his ability to shape and mold players. They won't be focusing on speed and quickness now, as much as raw power and explosion.
Sitting there on New Year's Day I watched in horror as my favorite team was demolished and embarassed. My Mom was remarking that our team just "didn't look like a Michigan team any more." When the Wisc/TCU game came on, she was like, " That! That is what Michigan used to look like!" And she's right. We used to be a team people were scared to play. Not just because of the threat of losing, or the intimidating stadium. We were big and scary - the kind of team that gets off the bus looking like hell is on it's way.
3. A Fanbase united, Finally. - This might seem like it's not such a big deal, but it certainly is. We need our former players to stop saying things like "Lloyd Carr's Michigan." We need all the boosters, facutly, and especially all of you to get behind our new coach 100%. We really, really need Brian to get behind this guy because he is probably one of the most influential Michigan fans in the history of our program. There are so many things out of whack about this team right now that we really need someone to get us back on track.
Hoke isn't a glamour pick. He's not the "hot name" whatever that is. He is simply what we need at this time. I think David Brandon was hired to come in and fix our football program. He is smarter than most of us, and I watched him really get to know the coaches and players on this team. When I went to the Purdue game this year, I sat and watched him, Rich and Rich's son talk for 30 minutes. Most AD's don't even travel with the team for away games. (Esecially not by bus) Hoke is a proven coach that has turned programs around who are perrenial losers. Ball St. quickly went back to a bad school soon after Brady left.
4. Defense wins championships - Michigan fans now know this better than most. The last three years, we have seen why having a great offense isn't really that great. If you have a great defense, you will be in every game you play. Hoke will concentrate on running the ball and stopping the run. This philosophy works today, worked yesterday, and will always work in football. I know that the spread is fun to watch, and that the two teams in the title game this year ran the spread. It's all over college football because it works. That doesn't mean smashmouth football doesn't work, though. Any offensive scheme can be run successfully. In fact I could point out several championship teams in this decade that were as good as any spread team. Bringing the core values of what we all know to be Michigan football back to the Big House is what David Brandon did. I applaud him, and can't wait to see this team next year. GO BLUE!!!
Most of you will say, "TL, DR" - or something like that. But I'm writing this for the few out there that will have a bit of an epiphany like I did yesterday. I'm really looking forward to smacking other teams in the mouth again. Look at BH's stats from previous schools, he's not all about running the ball every play. Hell, we used to turn out NFL QB's like we were growing them in petri dishes. It's all headed back to us now. And who's to say that we can't throw some option in there as we're driving defenses into the ground? Bo ran some option back in the day, peeps.
Today's "snow armageddon" in the southeast got me to thinking . . .
For those of you that live in the south, y'all know what kind of reaction there is to a predicted snow storm. For those in the north, a snow storm is an everyday occurrence and you probably laugh hysterically at the reaction of southerners. (Yes, all of the bread and toilet paper in the local Target here was gone by early evening yesterday in preparation for the 4-8 inches of snow predicted).
On my enjoyable drive into work this morning, with the roads to myself, I started comparing the physical and emotional reactions of people to approaching wintry weather compared to the reaction to coaching changes across the country. As the analysis evolved, it became pretty entertaining and I wanted to share in case you are entertained as well. What I've tried to do is match the reactions to snow storms based on geographic location to the reactions of a fan base to a coaching change at a particular school. Here's some categories I've created - please feel free to add more that you believe are pertinent, especially for schools/locations that are less extreme examples that the ones I chose:
Snow in Georgia = Coaching Change at Michigan: I think this fits. Those of you in Georgia (Atlanta, in particular) that deal with approaching snow storms know how drastically people freak out when even a hint of snow is forecasted. I think this is how the coaching change/search has gone with Michigan fans:
Everyone that freaked out about a change are analogous to southerners living in Georgia that are not used to the snow. Those that did not want a coaching change were aware that a change could occur but were emotionally unprepared and started freaking out when it became a foregone conclusion (equivalent to southerners flocking to the grocery store to get milk and bread).
Everyone that welcomed the change are analogous to northerners living in Georgia that feel comfortable in anticipation of a snow storm. Those that welcomed the coaching change believed it would be "all good" and did not worry. However, once the change came they quickly realized that they were not prepared for the fallout and became extremely nervous and began expressing their reservations. For example, Atlanteans (?) realized that getting to work from the suburbs was almost an impossible exercise, just as the coaching change at Michigan has frustrated many to the point of trying to remove themselves emotionally.
[You could probably substitute several schools here including, but not limited to, Florida(?) and USC(?)]
Snow in Michigan = Coaching Change at Eastern Michigan: You could substitute a number of schools here but I thought Eastern was the most fun. Everyone that lives in or has driven regularly in Michigan knows that snow in that state is a regular occurrence and almost all but disregarded. (As an aside, I can remember being in school up there in 1993, probably the worst winter I've experienced, and classes went on as usual. I remember walking to the Frieze Building in a -60 degree wind-chill for my 8am calculus class. And I also remember commuting to work on roads covered in ice with people driving at least the speed limit, seemingly oblivious to the ice.)
I imagine this to be the same for die-hard fans of Eastern Michigan football (are there any???). They basically expect a coaching change every 2-3 years as part of the game. Just as players graduate and new players must be recruited, so do coaches at schools like Eastern.
[Other analogous schools = Minnesota(?), Washington(?)]
Snow in Florida = Coaching Change at Penn State: This one is the most enjoyable to discuss . . . Everyone in Florida knows that it could, one day, snow there. Every Penn State fan understands that, some day, Joe Paterno will retire, be fired, or pass away on the job. Nevertheless, each year that goes by where neither happens leaves Florida residents less prepared just as it leaves Penn State fans unprepared for a change. In particular, every year, Penn State's coveted assistants get wooed by other schools (e.g. Bradley) and Penn State fans freak out that their coach-in-waiting is going to be gone. When the time actually comes, if ever, its going to be very entertaining to watch.
Snow in Canada = Coaching Change at Notre Dame: Per jHackney. Self-explanatory.
Will there be a final piece on mgoblog of college football TWIS?
The Chernobylesque manner in which UM boards are melting down today, followed by the Big Ten bowl debacles, crazy coaching changes, and recruit de- and re-commitmases, plus Ohio State vs. ArkanSAW!.....man, plenty of material dudes.
Hail to the Doomed and Purple Rain
As another rabid college football fan, I was bursting at the seams of my favorite polyester pants in anticipation for the 2010-2011 bowl season. Many criticisms have been leveled at the NCAA for the current way division I-A chooses to participate in a post season, many of which I agree with. The players, without them there would be no bowls, seem to be locked into a NCAA led masochistic agreement with this year’s A-list clients in the way of sponsors for bowl games. It seems every year that any mongrel that has a dollar and something to push gets an added bowl. I am expecting and dreadfully waiting for the soon to become real Maxi-Pad bowl between 3-9 La-Monroe and 2-10 Washington St Cougars held in Flagstaff, Arizona to drive home the “stays dry” selling point.
Anywhoo, enough with doom predictions, there is enough doom to go around after this bowl season. The 2010-11 bowl season kicked off in New Mexico. The Mormons of BYU versus the upstart UTEP Miners. The result of this dull game gave a menacing outlook for the rest of the bowls. After cashing in a lackluster performance in the regular season, the Mormons pulverized UTEP into smithereens. I of course picked UTEP in a friendly college bowl pool. No worries, 34 more bowls to go, and a heavy stash of mood and reality enhancers to get me through it.
As the appetizers of the bowl season rolled on, I realized that I judged this bowl season about as right as those taking Jim Cramer’s advice on Bear Stearns did. Not only did the teams I expected to win, lose, but they lost it in Mel Gibson fashion.
12/28/10 would be the first time for the B1G on the national stage for bowls. The background for this game couldn’t be much worse for Iowa. Players transferred, arrested, and shamed after the swine busted them for a “drug house”. It is a shame, because I am guessing the Paterno household contains more drugs than any early twenties kid could handle without getting vampire bats high in their attic. I of course listening to the solar winds of the universe picked Missouri to stomp Iowa like a one eyed child orphaned by Satan himself. I was wrong, and again I cursed the Mormons for setting the tone. Iowa slugged Mizzou all game long with the use of the demon infested halfback named Coker and play action passing that could have fooled Bobby Fischer if the game was held on a chessboard. By halftime I thought it was over and I might as well finish my drink and go to bed. Thankfully Lou Holtz opened his mouth and I had to have more of my liquid coping mechanism. Mizzou came out, put up a respectful fight with a surgical passing game. Coker, however, would not be denied. It was as if a methed out Mack Truck driver was at the wheel just running over any hippie that dare get close to him. The Missouri quarterback tried hard to imitate Stanzi and succeeded, except it was the Ricky Stanzi of 2009. The two interceptions thrown at the end put the dagger through the heart of the Missouri team. Ricky Stanzi and every other corn fed, long hair haters were thoroughly impressed and satisfied. Could the B1G be vastly underrated? We all here in Michigan nation hoped so.
After a night of total debauchery, I woke to a stern looking Jack Russell Terrier staring at me intently. Obviously the love seat that I finally succumbed to because of the toxins in my body was his regular sleeping habitat. Strange way to start the new year indeed. After piecing myself back together and getting necessary sustenance to carry on, I was ready for the New Year Day’s bowl schedule. The first taste came from Tampa Bay in the form of the Outback Bowl. It aggravated me to no end that this bowl was now on at 1pm. I became accustomed to waking in the second quarter of it when it was televised at 11am. The Gator Bowl started at 130pm. I was in a houseful of PSU fans that had just got done pleasuring themselves over the JoePa/Meyer interview by Jon Gruden. Of course they came away with glowing reviews of his genius while I was still trying to figure out if the man was alive and someone was just pulling strings above the set to make him move.
Finally the Gator Bowl began and I commandeered the remote away from the ring leader of this strange cult, my best friend. The Bowie knife on my side became all in one day a great deterrent and evidence in a surely coming criminal trial. After suffering for weeks upon weeks of coaching change talk, I was ready for an impressive show by Denard & Co. that would have Rich Rodriguez deniers begging to lick the fromunda cheese build up he has been saving them in his upper taint region. I busted open a little hair of the dog and also had a dog wearing a Michigan hat over its hair sitting close to me in case any of these rat bastards tried to go for the remote or my jugular. Michigan got the ball first. I was actually hoping they would go on defense first. I would be able to tell if we had a chance if the defense was on the field first or if I would have to reach in my bag of goodies early in order to be able to tolerate the Neanderthals that surrounded me.
The first drive was something to be seen. Nothing would deter Denard and Michigan from scoring. Not the Miss St defense, not the humidity of a Jacksonville afternoon, not five million fucking cowbells these yeoman farmers brought from their last farm show, not even Mormons could have stopped it. Denard showing flashes of his early performances of the year drove the team down inside Miss St’s 20 yard line. The first touchdown of the game came when Denard tossed a pass as beautiful as Katy Perry to Roundtree. I had about the same reaction as if Katy Perry would have been delivered to me in such a way, with complete insanity and reckless abandonment. I danced with the dog in the Michigan hat (Huxley aka Schnauzer), threw back another Jerry and Coke and got ready for the redemption of the season to continue with the same zeal. It was then bit of a let down when Miss St scored on their first drive. Things became a little darker on the field and in my mind. After another special teams mishap on the punting team, I thought for sure this was it. Game over. Fire Rodriguez and his band of hoodlums. I was wrong, at least for a quarter. The defense bent, but didn’t break and held the Bulldogs to three points. The ensuing drive, Michigan scored on a freak catch by Odoms. I then wondered if this is what it would look like if the archangel Gabriel caught the pass. Doubtful. Odoms is above Gabriel’s level. At the end of the first quarter Michigan led 14-10! Let the good times roll!
The second quarter on brought a harsh reality to all of us Michigan fans. Nothing has changed when we play challenging teams this year. We start out in a competitive fashion, but then finish like a three legged mule destined for hell. Miss St took total control of the game and Michigan became demoralized very easily and gave up. I have seen this before during the Wisconsin, MSU, and osu massacres.
Nothing has changed. Our defense lacked the discipline and integrity of a Pop Warner team, our offense folded in the pressure of trying to make swan napkin figures out of shit logs, and our kicking team continued to take the short bus to Terrell Pryor’s school for beginners class.
At this point I also started to notice the propaganda commercials every break from Values.com that told us how to be good citizens and people. How far had our society fallen to be told how to be compassionate and truthful? How far has this team fallen to be pitied and empathized rather than feared and hated? After a little research I found that the Mormons had a hand in the Values.com commercials. After a little self reflection and mind altering substances, I have figured out that someone must roast on a pike while being shot in the eye with cobra venom for the embarrassment that Michigan has become. Michigan lost the Gator Bowl 52-14 and I then lost my patience and sanity.
After watching Michigan drag itself off the field and when the powers of mescaline and devil’s lettuce took hold, I began watching the Fiesta Bowl with my best amigo and Huxley. This was it. It seemed nothing but evil prevailed on New Year’s Day. The ESS EEE SEE spanked the B1G in an aggressive way, not an exotic way. All I wanted now is for these boys from UConn to surprise the Okies from Norman. At the time of this writing, I have yet to see anyone hit harder and throw their bodies as hard as the kids from Connecticut.
While the game progressed, my friend and I began a lively discussion at knife point on the state of the B1G. In the end I could not argue with his assessment of the conference this year. The B1G had turned into the B1G MAC. Huxley didn’t add much to the conversation except for blank stares. He must have still been reeling from the Michigan loss or got into my blotter sheets again. It could not be argued the B1G was anything more than pretenders this year. The clowns from osu are yet to play, but I don’t expect much from them except embarrassment. Even if they won, it doesn’t excuse the poor performance of the B1G this year. Three co-champs that have turned out to be three co-chumps.
I then remembered watching the Rose Bowl and listening to the commentators talk about purple rain and the TCU defense treating Wisconsin like fresh meat in a maximum security prison that had just dropped the soap. Purple rain, it was more than just the TCU defense, but a weird description of the 2010 season. No one would have have expected purple rain to fall from the sky, or the B1G with three co-champs going down like Pamela Anderson on a random rock star. Bad craziness. Nothing but the feeling of helplessness and shame could be felt from Pennsylvania to Nebraska. What will happen next year?
I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain
I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend, hey
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It's such a shame our friendship had to end
Honey, I know, I know, I know times are changin'
It's time we all reach out for something new, that means you too
You say you want a leader, but you can't seem to make up your mind
And I think you better close it and let me guide you to the purple rain
I am not a professional fan at other B1G schools, but I am for Michigan. I want someone to roast in a slow painful public death or a good tar and feathering for the final game. I was an avid RR fan, but it actually looked like the team regressed into a Special Olympics team instead of making any progress after a long period to prepare. There better as hell be changes within the next couple of days or AA can expect a revolt the size of the July 26th revolution. If RR is gone, well, that's the way the cookie crumbles in this line of work. He may be a nice guy, but this culture, society, and game do not acquiescence to a nice guy as a coach. If not, the defensive staff better be put in pillories to feel the humiliation we all felt the past three years. I want someone that breathes fire and shoves their boot up Tressell’s and Dantonio’s ass so far that when they cough at the site of a Michigan TD the refs take their wheezing as a fucking whistle that inadvertently blows giving Michigan a free penalty on the next possession.
As New Year’s Day came to a close and I was in the thick of an extreme bender of multiple mind altering substances, I turned to a CNN documentary about John Lennon. It turns out his killer was a religious obsessive fan that thought he became more John Lennon than John Lennon. After finding out about his comment about the Beatles becoming bigger than Jesus, he started a downward spiral of psychosis and murderous tendencies. I then wondered before I slipped into comatose if that is what most of us have become.
We became enwrapped with the image of an invincible Michigan image that no matter what, we were Michigan and no one was better than us. To tell the truth, this fanbase is not accustomed to losing and to see it three years in a row, it seems a downward spiral has transformed us from a fanbase that was spoiled by a century of winning tradition to a fanbase that practices cannibalism amongst each other within three years. A sad sight to see and participate in indeed.
In the end of the John Lennon story, a man was eliminated from the Earth that could have given more to us that we could comprehend. I don't want to see the same thing happen to the talent that is on this team right now. No matter what direction this program takes, I expect there will public execution of someone responsible for our malaise and a coach that will bring immediate hope to a fanbase that so needs it. What I don’t want to see, is a Michigan fanbase become so obsessive that they become the rudder that steers the ship right into a giant fucking rock. That would be a Notre Dame type tragedy. All we can do right now is imagine, but I know I'm not the only one. Mahalo.