it's a major award
The Signature Win? These moments tend to come when low expectations are rewarded with a big outcome - usually a big upset. Is the general malaise about RR in the public due to a lack of this "AH-HA!" moment? Recall:
Michigan Fans may remember 1995.
Previous year 8-4, #14 preseason, Michigan loses to #25 Northwestern at home? Followed by a loss to unranked MSU, and then a loss to #22 PSU. On our third coach in 5 years - is Carr aggressive enough? Too soft?
But then, #18 Michigan upsets #2 OSU 31-23. - Carr's 1st Signature Win.
Or remember 1969, when a 1st year coach named Bo took a 7-3 Michigan team and soundly beat #1 OSU 24-12. A very Signature Win.
However, Gary Moeller took over for Bo with a Big Ten Champion #4 ranked team. He did beat OSU too, twice in a row. And then went undefeated 9-0-3 with a #5 rank and a Rose Bowl win. But after all, starting at #4 the only place to go up to is a National Championship. Was the expectations too high? Did Moeller never get the Signature Win and therefore the extra love where everybody loves an underdog?
With #6 Wisconsin and #8 Ohio State looming is this where the underdog unranked Wolverines get a RR Signature Win? Will that win lift RR into the good graces of the skeptical and undecided fans and media? Will the effectiveness of the RR spread be the difference?
IMO - an upset vs WI or OSU provides a Signature Win for RR, a contract extension and proves once and for all that yes, West Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
This is in response to a few posters who said Michigan was eliminated from the Big Ten Championship hunt. This is obviously bat-shit crazy, but IF:
1. Iowa upsets Ohio State
2. Purdue upsets Michigan State
3. Michigan upsets Wisconsin
1. Minnesota upsets Iowa
2. Penn State upsets Michigan State
3. Northwestern upsets Wisconsin
4. Michigan upsets Ohio State
THEN, Michigan would be a 2010 co-Big Ten champion. Ergo, there is, indeed, a chance.
coming up live soon on sports center... just fyi.
[A bit of mgofiction for a slow thursday before the game. Hope you all enjoy. Or not.
-- Coach S.]
[Fade into the locker room, just after the Wisconsin game. Coach Rod takes center stage, and starts speaking.]
COACH ROD: "I'm going to say one thing to you, men. One thing."
[Cut to the last drive of the Wisconsin game. Michigan down by 4, 35-31. 1st and 10 on the Michigan 24 yard line. 2 minutes, 13 seconds on the clock. Frank Beckmann announcing.]
BECKMANN: "Denard takes the snap, running right. Cuts back left, just tripped up! Gain of 5 on the play. 2nd and 5 coming up."
BRANDSTATTER: "He's been hard to stop today, huh Frank? Kept Michigan in this one almost by himself, over 300 yards of offense and three touchdowns. You think he has another touchdown left in him?"
[Cut back to Coach Rod, in the locker room]
COACH ROD: "It's been a long year. Remember spring practice? Remember those long weeks you put in during the summer? Well, it's been a long year for me too. Did I do everything right? Hell no. I've made mistakes. Who here hasn't? We made some honest mistakes, and get raked over the coals for it. Wasn't easy for me, wasn't easy for my family. But as Mufasa said, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Have we been killed, men? Are we dead?"
[Cut back to the game]
BECKMANN: "Denard back to pass, zings one over to Stonum, who drops it. Big third down coming up."
BRANDSTATTER: "Nice read by Denard, saw the corner playing a little off Stonum there. But gotta catch those easy ones. Don't want the drive to die here..."
[Back to the locker room]
COACH ROD: "Hell no! Not dead yet. No, not dead. And therefore, stronger. We are stronger. WE ARE STRONG."
[Coach Rod takes a deep breath, looking around the room. All eyes are on him.]
COACH ROD: "I want you all to think about what this team means to you. To be part of it. To contribute to it, no matter how big a contribution, or how small. Just like that little play out there on third down, right Kelvin?"
[Back to the game]
BECKMANN: "3rd and 5. Big play, not much time left, lots of yards to go for the win. Denard back to pass, passes down the middle to Roundtree, caught it! Roundtree dragged down from behind -- oh no, fumble! Who got it?"
BRANDSTATTER: "I saw Kelvin Grady running behind the play, and I think he just might have dived on the ball and gotten it. We'll have to see who's under that pile of white and red."
[The refs slowly peel one Badger off the pile after the other...]
BECKMAN: "Michigan ball! What a hustle play by Kelvin Grady! The play of the game! First down Michigan, ball at the 44 yard line. One minute and thirty on the clock. The Wolverines aren't dead yet!"
[Back to the locker room]
K. GRADY: "That's right coach. Like you said, never give up on the play."
COACH ROD: "That's right Kelvin. Never give up. NEVER give up. NEVER GIVE UP! This team has been down, this team has been beaten, but never once did I see any of you hang your heads. You kept fighting. The Wolverine never stops fighting, even when it's down. Even when it looks like the fight is lost, the Wolverine never quits. We fight to the end, win or lose, live or die. Right Stephen?"
[Back to the game. Michigan has advanced the ball to the Wisconsin 31, but it is now 4th and 1. Time is running out.]
BECKMANN: "Game on the line here. 4th and 1. Hopkins in the backfield, two receivers split right. Denard takes the snap, hands to Hopkins, who's hit in the backfield! He keeps his legs moving, spins, and dives, and drives the defensive tackle back. It's gonna be close!"
BRANDSTATTER: "I thought he was stopped short but he kept pushing! Depends on the spot, but he just might have gotten it."
[Refs bring out the chains...]
BECKMANN: "First down!! By the nose of the ball. What a second and third effort by Stephen Hopkins! 48 seconds left. Clock momentarily stopped thanks to the first down."
[Back to locker room. Hopkins nods at Coach Rod]
COACH ROD: "That's why we've been working this year, men. All year, every day, every hour in that weight room. It's for that yard when you need it on fourth and one and the whole game is on your shoulders. It's at that time when you see who is the better man. That is why we work so hard. THAT IS WHY WE WORK!"
[Nods around the room, and grunts of agreement. Coach Rod takes one more deep breath, and speaks again, his diction now at its peak]
COACH ROD: "But like I said, I've really only got one thing to say to you. One thing! It's not hard to guess. It's what we've been waiting for. And when the game clock ticked down out there a few moments ago, it's all I could think of. Just one damn thing!"
[Cut back to the Wisconsin Game. It's now 4th and goal, very little time left on the clock.]
BECKMANN: "4th and goal on the 2 yard line. 13 seconds left. Here it is, Michigan fans. 8-3, or 7-4? Win, or lose? What's the play call here Brandy?"
BRANDSTADTTER: "I think we all know who's getting the ball on this one, Frank. I just hope his shoes stay on."
BECKMAN: "OK, Here we go. Denard takes the snap. Takes a step forward. But then he steps back, jumps, and throws it to a wide open Koger. TOUCHDOWN MICHIGAN! TOUCHDOWN! He jump passed it on the last play of the game! Michigan is going to win, 38-35! The crowd is going crazy!"
[The stadium erupts, and then the band. The Victors will play on into the night... Cut back to the locker room]
ROD: "Just one thing on my mind after that game. Can you guess what it is? Denard?"
DENARD (softly): "Beat the Bucks."
TATE (louder now): "Beat the Bucks!"
ROD: "The rest of you all?"
TEAM (screaming): "BEAT THE BUCKS!"
ROD: "THAT'S RIGHT, JUST ONE THING: BEAT THE DAMN BUCKS! Now get outta here and celebrate. I'll see you Monday, and I tell you what, men: They better be ready down there in Columbus."
[Fade to black]
Note: This post isn't about the validity of recruiting rankings, I would appreciate if you would NOT opine about the subject on this thread.
Still no Michigan in the top 25 even after adding two ESPN 150 recruits since the last ranking (Hart, Crawford).
A lot of this can be explained by quantitiy, but if you look at the average rankings we're actually higher than everyone until you get to Auburn at #14. I'm cherry picking a few schools to highlight where I think we'll end up ranked:
|School||Ranking||# Recruits||Avg Rank||# 150||# 4 Star|
Given our current trajectory, I would put us at #15 by the end of the year as a worst case. If our best case four star bonanza ensues, we could easily move into the top 10.
Honestly, there's no reason we shouldn't be above Oregon right now if you go by ESPN's own numbers...
Rich Rodriguez's trademark is, along with the spread offense, the utilization of "tiny track stars covered in butter." A lot of us have been annoyed by the "ahh, if only he had another 2 inches!" commentary on Dee Hart (re: why he doesn't have a 5th star) and in general, skepticism that such short players at RB and WR can let Michigan consistently succeed and stay healthy. This criticism is, of course, ridiculous.
Offensive reign of terror against Big Ten defenses this season aside...
Pretty good ESPN article today about how the Pats' Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Deion Branch all have heard the same doubts about themselves and just laugh: