FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
For months leading up to, and including my freshman year at Michigan, I was obsessed with Fight Club. The summer before that first year I would watch it 2-3 times a day. It wasn't a demented obsession with a dark movie that kids with LiveJournals tend to have but, instead, an odd fascination with the themes and ideas it explored. Plus it was violent (within reason), the acting was awesome, the soundtrack was great (Pixies!!11!), whatever.
I ended up writing one of my first college papers on the transfer of novelistic themes/ideas into cinematography, music, acting, etc. The class was "The History of the Novel" and when the syllabus came out and I saw we, literally, were going to be reading and discussing estate ledgers that described what books people owned, I knew I had to find an odd topic to survive.
While facing the beginning of the season and facing an opponent like UConn immediately I feel that exact same type of skepticism and hope that, by the end, what looks potentially bad could be spun into something that resembles something mildly familiar. What's more, the themes of that movie with the plight this fanbase faces makes for odd bedfellows.
For the last ten years, the Michigan fan base became compliant. It bought into reserved play and 3 yards and a cloud of dust. We bought into our own legend as much as we bought into the conservative efforts that encourage complacency and consistency over taking chances and striving for an individual, unique method of victory. This was capped in a season where our complacency ultimately stood out in the form of ruminating that life insurance pays triple (or 1AA) if you die on a business flight (or OOC game).
It was time for a change. We met a charming man who dressed funny and spoke of a new way of life. We disposed of all of our worldly pro-styles belongings and dove forward into a new way of life. And got the crap kicked out of us. Again. And Again.
In 2008 something we never expected to happen... happened. And our fearless leader? You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And it started to make sense, in an everyman sort of way. No fear. Instead, he reminded us: Shifting offenses isn't a weekend retreat. It's not a goddamn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!
And let this spread offense take its place in the Michigan halls of lore.
We bought in though. While everyone around us questioned our motives for this and scorned us for the blood on our shirt, we still felt enlightened: that there was something bigger for us down the road. The fan base even began beating upon itself when accused of impropriety, all as a manner to get by towards an eventual outcome. And when the team followed up 2008 with 2009...
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
We knew there might be tough times but there had to be something at the end. Familiar faces of our past came and went, all in the sake of the cause. While we may not have been running around with ski masks, change requires sacrifice. You wanna make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs. Its name... was undefeated MAC record. Its name... was MSU dominance (or at least in two year blocks). Its name... was national relevance. Lou Holtz ripped on us on ESPN. Lou HOLTZ! No, I didn't quite catch that, Lou. Still not getting it. Ok, I got it. Shit, I lost it.
People asked us how we could put up with it. HOW CAN YOU NOT FIRE HIM?! And you know what we did? We got in everyone's hostile little face. Yes, these are losing seasons. Yes, I'm comfortable with that. I am enlightened. Tell them, the liberator who destroyed my concepts of Michigan football has realigned my perceptions... The mainstream media, with all of its good intentions, has become the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it, but you can't. If we could ignore it, we could go on. But does it reveal something true about ourselves, about this, that we are too blind to ignore? Our local columnist... a predator posing as a house pet.
Over the past two years we, as Michigan fans, have discovered that we are not, in fact, unique snowflakes. In fact, after 8-16, for all intensive purposes we are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the Big Ten.
Do not get confused. If enlightenment comes at the sacrifice of such a burn on the hand - so be it. At worst, we now know we are tangible - that Michigan is not Michigan but... human. We are all part of the same college football compost heap.
And by season end, we will find out if our pursuits to overturn the credit structure and return the Michigan balance to zero were the fruitless efforts. Because, like it or not, we are the space monkeys shot into space and Rich Rodriguez is our Tyler Durden. You ask me? I believe he'll bring us through this. As always. he'll carry us - kicking and screaming - and in the end we'll thank him. For the wins.
But the main post is... when people ask you about your fandom and how you can still cheer for Michigan with all of your heart and soul tomorrow... tell them this: You met me at a very strange time in my life.
Another video from MGoBlue. No walkthrough footage, just RR talking.
We've all had a good month at least to think about the opener. What are your keys to the game other than the obvious one: HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL. In my opinion, it comes down to:
1. Stopping the UCONN run game: After watching highlights of Todman, I've got to admit the guy is pretty darn good. He's fast, shifty, and has good vision for a RB. If we limit long runs and keep his yardage below 100 yards, I'd be happy.
2. Time of possession: We've seen our share of quick three-and-outs and a more up tempo pace under RRod. We either have to have a significant number of sustained drives and/or slow the tempo down a little. The worst thing that can happen IMO is to have UCONN dominate the time of possession, especially considering the concerns with the D. Keep our D rested and off the field.
3. Converting in the Red Zone: We have to put the ball in the end zone when we have it in the red zone, plain and simple. Many drives last year stalled in the red zone, and we simply can't rely on a new kicker in the first game.
Books have released some player props for tomorrow's game. What do you guys think?
Roundtree total catches O/U 5.5
Odoms total catches O/U 3.5
Hemingway total catches O/U 2
What will Tate throw first: A TD, -160; and INT +130
Michigan total points O/U 28.5
UConn total points O/U 23.5 ......I like both these total points a lot, btw
Kaisif Moore total catches O/U 3.5
Frazer total completions O/U 19
What will Frazer throw first: A TD, -140; an INT +110
Longest TD of the game out of either team: O/U 51.5 yards
Will either team score in the first 6 minutes: Yes, -135; No, +105
Who will score first: MICH, -130; UConn, even
And, at the risk of going OT, we're trying to get a contest off the ground at the JCB. It might take a week or two before its gets going with participants, but we'll just play it by ear. Check it out if you're interested. Next week, we'll have more props to choose from overall and within the UM/ND game
I have a confession to make. It’s early afternoon on First Game Day’s Eve and I’m completely hammered. No worries though, both of the people on my floor who haven’t cut out early have no clue. No one does. All they see is the normal me, the guy that strives to be level-headed, logical, and mostly stoic except for when dramatic effect warrants a reaction…or when I’m really mad. So, yeah I guess I’m not stoic at all, whatever, forget that part. They see the kind of guy who writes longer-and-more-rigorous-than-any-report-he’s-ever-been-paid-to-write diaries explaining why, if you just look at the data, things just won’t be that bad and maybe even OK. What they can’t see is that the suppressed side of me, the Mr. Hyde Id that balances the Dr. Jekyll super-ego, is stammeringly, staggeringly, rockstaringly HAMMERED drunk on maize and blue kool-aid.
Since around the middle of the second quarter of Wisconsin v. Michigan 2008, my MGoPsyche has been in all out Sportscenter Y2K Emergency mode. You know yours has been, too. The lights go out, the back-up generator kicks in, a roid-raging
Mr. Hyde Mark Macguire is bashing a hapless keyboard with a baseball bat as if it were a detractor who is wrong on the internet, and a crazed Dr. Jekyll Charlie Stein with a maize and blue tie cutting of circulation to his brain screaming “follow me, follow me to freedom!” yeah, that commercial precisely illustrates the mgoboard any time any news event has happened since 2008, probably sooner than that.
Well now, on this First Game Day’s Eve 2010, my inner Hyde will no longer be contained and he’s saying, “you’re dumb, Jekyll, Michigan’s winning 10 this year.”
Who’s coming with me?
That’s crazy, right? We have two quarterbacks therefore we don’t have one, we don’t have a running back, our linebackers run around the second level as if they were herding cats, and our secondary sucks. Look at the data, Hyde. When your team has a defensive outlook that bad and plays in a BCS conference, 6 or 7 games,8 if we’re lucky…that’s all we can expect. But, what about Missouri 2008, Tennessee 2007, UCLA 2005, and Wisconsin 2005? Here are some table points on each of those teams:
|QB||5||3rd Year Starter (Chase F. Daniel, Sr). Followed up gaudy numbers as a 1st year starter in 2006 with gaudier numbers as a second year starter in 2007.|
|RB||2||New starter on a pass-heavy spread offense|
|WR||4 or 5||Returned leading receiver Jeremy Maclin (80 catches, 1055 yards, 13 TDs) and solid TE (Chase Coffman).|
|OL||3||Return 3 starters from previous season including both tackles. New starter at center.|
|DL||3||Return 3 starters but lost anchor at NT (Lorenzo Williams).|
|LB||2||Returned 3 starters from a unit that was frequently exploited in underneath coverage.|
|DB||a shaky 2||Return 3 starters (CB, FS, SS) from a unit that gave up a ton of yards through the air in 2007. Think Michigan or Michigan State circa 2009.|
|QB||5||4th Year Starter (Eric Ainge, Sr). The former rivals.com 4-star recruit posted a spectacular year in 2006 with a passer rating of 151 with a 67% completion rate on 350 attempts (!) for almost 3000 yards with 19 TDs against 9 INTs.|
|RB||3||Returned a platoon of three meaningful contributors including the explosive LaMarcus Coker, Montario Hardesty and Arian Foster. The group rushed for 1300 yards in 2006 with Coker accounting for 696 yards on 108 carries.|
|WR||2||Lost top 3 receivers from 2006 including Braylon-esque Robert Meachum (71 catches, 1300 yards, 11 TDs).|
|OL||3||Return 3 starters from previous season.|
|DL||2||Must replace both tackles from a unit the ending 2006 ranked 72 against the run.|
|LB||3 maybe 4||Returned 2 starters including Jerod Mayo.|
|DB||2||Replace both cornerbacks and the free safety. Had 5-star true freshman Eric F. Berry.|
|QB||3||3rd Year Starter (Drew Olson, Sr). Solid year in 2004 with a passer rating of 132.|
|RB||5||Returned Leading Rusher (Maurice Jones-Drew: 1007 rushing yards on 160 attempts and 146 all-purpose ypg in 8 games in injury shortened 2004 season). On pre-season Maxwell Award watch list.|
|WR||3 or 4||Returned Receiving TD leader and pre-season All-American Tight End Marcedes Lewis. Solid, veteran corps of wide receivers.|
|OL||4||Return 4 starters from 24th ranked offense in 2004.|
|DL||3||Return solid veteran group including sack and TFL leader (DT Kevin Brown).|
|LB||4 or 5||Returned 3 starters including pre-season All-American ILB Spencer Havner (Greg Jones level LB).|
|DB||2||Returned SS and 2nd leading tackler Jarrad Page. New Starters at FS and CB. Lost 2004 first-team All-Pac-10 CB (Matt Clark).|
|QB||2||2nd Year Starter (John Stocco, RS-Jr). Stocco was god awful in 2004, posting a passer rating of 109.|
|RB||3||New Starter (Brian Calhoun, Booker Stanley).|
|WR||3||Veteran Corps (Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr, Owen Daniels).|
|OL||2 or 3||Returned Center (Donovan Raiola) and Left Tackle (Joe Thomas). Three new starters at other 3 positions on the OL.|
|DL||2||All new line returning 3 total starts from 2004.|
|LB||3||Veteran group with 29 starts returning from 2004.|
|DB||2||1 returning starter from 2004.|
The common thread running between each one of those teas is the fact that they all had terrible secondaries, and it showed on the field. Despite that, despite getting unmercifully torched defensively, they all won 10 games in their respective seasons. In Wisconsin’s case, they got outgained in EVERY GAME and usually by way over 100 yards. Those are thourough ass kikcings, y’all. Yet, there they are with a 5-3 Big Ten record en route to 10 wins.
Teams outperform their statistics every year, tell me that Michigan can not. Go ‘head.
Can I get a hell yeah?
Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting. The theory of evolution claims: only the strong will survive. Maybe so, maybe so. But the theory of competition says: just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked. Thats right.
See, what every long-shot, come-from-beyond-underdog will tell ya is this: the other guy may in fact be the favorite, and the odds may be stacked against you; fair enough. But, what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic.
So, before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clock starts just remember, out here, the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off.
Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling ‘uncle’. And then suddenly, as the old saying goes: we’ve got ourselves a game.
Follow Me. Follow Me to Freedom!
All of us—rivals, apologists, detractors, optimists, pessimists, and “realists” (pick a side, pansy—we all come to mgoblog because we have something in common: we’re obsessed with Michigan. We’ve spent nine months analyzing and rationalizing and consoling and infighting amongst ourselves as we descend upon the internet like thunderhead of locusts devouring every shred of any and every bit of information for insight into Michigan Football.
When the season ends, logos and pathos will have to cope with the exact same record. Your particular tact is merely a pre-coping mechanism. Well, Logos sucks. Logos tells you to consider the consequences before you have the time of your life. Logos tells you that the party wont be worth the hang-over. Logos tells you to make peace with never walking again. Fuck logos. Gimme pathos. Heaps and heaps of pathos. It’s time to let Mr. Hyde out the box. It’s time to descend upon all these assholes mounted up on our maize-and-blue, rainbow-maned
pegasuses pegasi flying unicorns, with blood shot eyes in a Zima induced psychosis. It’s time to lose our voices even if it means that we have to rip out our larynxes and throw them on the field*.
Blessed be the tie that binds us. Blessed be the Michigan Wolverines.
*a bit much? nah.
I had originally planned on unveiling a hype video that I’ve been working on for the last week and a half or so here but the swarm of MGoLocusts has already sniffed it out. Well done, MGoBlog. Aywho, at the risk of being accused of spamming the board, here it is in case you didn’t see it.
[Author EDIT: despammed]
I guarantee you that no one on our team is cowering in the corner, begging, hoping, pleading for 7 wins.