landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Some things shouldn’t be written about. They deserve far more than words could ever accomplish, regardless of how eloquent those words are or the sophistication of their arrangement. Then there are things that exceed even that. Things that make you want go, “screw it, I have to at least try and write something. If I don’t my brain is going to explode. Also, if I write about it, maybe I can make sure it’s true and actually happened. I don’t ever remember writing something down in a dream.”
That’s how last night is for me. I need to do write about it and hope that I can do it 100th of the justice it deserves, so that maybe one day I can look back and remember just the amount and consistency of the emotions I felt. This will probably be disorganized and random; a kind of mind drain that doesn’t care how it all comes out, as long as it comes out. I just need to get as much down as possible, hoping these thoughts don’t escape me before I can write them down. On with the show.
The day itself deserves its own diary, but that’s for another time or another person. Suffice it to say, Ann Arbor was flooded with excitement, from the first moments of College Gameday to the opening of The Big House’s gates, the city glowed. Walking up Hoover towards the woman about to be taken to her first night time ball and showed off for all of the nation to see, the sun silhouetted the crowds as it set over Main Street.
Fast forward to the pregame, and the excitement was reaching a fever pitch. When Desmond got Legended (kind of like being knighted), it made you wish there was something you could do besides cheer, that there was some other way to honor a great player and great man. Yelling at the top of your lungs just wasn’t enough. A few months ago when the whole “I should have my number retired” (not a direct quote) stuff was going around, I was a little disappointed. I knew Desmond loved him some Desmond, but I also knew he was a team player who loved our great university, and I felt disheartened that he would ask for such a thing. Yesterday, as he did his best Lou Gehrig impression during his speech, all was forgiven. He was a man truly grateful, acknowledging how blessed he was for every opportunity the team and, perhaps more importantly, university, gave him. A very rough paraphrase from what I remember is:
Every experience I had at this university, from the Diag to Schembechler to (5 or 6 more campus locations) has made...me....the man....I am....today.
His pearly whites glowed as he couldn’t hold back tears of joy and gratitude. What a fantastic start.
Then, in remembrance of the horrific tragedies from a decade ago, the whole crowd joined in a chorus of God Bless America. I’m pretty sure the band was playing the song on heartstrings, or cutting up onions, or releasing a massive dust cloud into the stands. A beautiful moment for a terrible tragedy.
When the game started, my biggest fears seemed to be coming true. Throughout this week, when asked about my predictions, I always cited a nervous feeling that ND would go up a couple scores while Borges tried to get a feel for the gameplan and our offense tried to settle in. That’s exactly what happened. The pom-pom I held had its handle slowly reduced in size as I slowly bent it and broke off pieces in frustration. Some girl behind me kept yelling “Oh no! He’s going to throw again,” every time Denard dropped back. I wanted to yell at her or just show her some highlights from our 2008 offense, but refrained. In truth there were times where I felt similarly, the dreadlocked, dilithium-powered powder keg of a big play looked very human at times. This did not feel like 2010 ND. All was not right.
Then Hemingway said, “pardon me, sir, but I have a ball to catch and a touchdown to score. It would be easier if you weren’t in the way, but instead I’ll have to jump through Michigan Stadium’s non-existant roof.” Adrenaline spike. 114,000 strong came alive again, individual maize plastic strings tied together rocking in unison to a chorus of The Victors.
Halftime was weird. There were people in costumes from a horror movie covered in flashing lights, some of which worked, some of which didn’t. I sat down and tried to relax, hoping my pounding headache would subside, because it every time I yelled on a defensive series, it got worse. A long day of drinking things that, while they contain water, make it their job to deprive your body of every drop of it apparently does awful things to the front part of your brain and makes it feel like it’s trying to escape out your forehead. Who knew? Yelling apparently doesn’t help, but dammit, I had a job to do. And that job was to be fan number 114 thousand-something who believed that an extra yell from me would make Tommy Rees stop correctly checking out of plays when reading blitzes or make Michael Floyd want to just sit down and take a break for a minute. Jesus Tapdancing Christ, Michael Floyd. But, I digress.
Normally I’m very good at remembering the exact sequence of plays and all major events in a football game, but I think I blew a couple fuses. The next thing I really remember was Jeremy Gallon pretending he was in fact, a gallon rather than a pint. We were clapping, screaming, jumping up and down on a surface small and slippery; the biggest 5 foot nothing player you’ll ever see had given us hope. Also, Jeremy Gallon, I know you’re not reading this, but I owe you an apology. Whenever ND punted I did my best Smalls from The Sandlot impression when he sticks his glove in the air and Benny the Jet bats a fly ball right into it. “Please catch it, please catch it,” I would implore in your direction. I’m done with that. That was last year. You’re a different player, and you showed an incredible amount of heart. No more finger crossing from me. Apology to imaginary reader over.
Somewhere in the fourth quarter, during a TV timeout, I remember turning to my alum friend who was in town visiting, telling him to break out his cowbell again. He of course kept it after he graduated, its large dent still there from when I shoved him over in last year’s Illinois game in celebration. He picked up his drumstick, striped in alternate maize and blue tape and rapped out a “Go Blue.” He went through the appropriate number of verses, but I wanted more. “GIVE IT TO ME AGAIN!” I yelled, doing my best Dan LeBetard impression. The mood was right and I watched as people around me nodded emphatically when he struck it up again; they wanted more too.
Writing this is a lot more difficult than I anticipated - my thoughts are just so scattered. In truth, I’m not even going to touch the breakdown of Roundtree’s Braylon impression or Vincent Smith going HAM or any of that. What I will say now is that the next time anyone ever tells you that the Big House is a “wine and cheese” crowd, tell them to kindly shut the hell up. When Seven Nation Army came on, that place absolutely erupted. I’ve been to my fair share of college football games, including big time SEC matchups, and while I won’t say it was louder last night, I will say I don’t remember anywhere else being louder. I had goosebumps on my goosebumps. Anyone in a 10 foot radius of me got repeatedly throttled or hugged or high fived throughout every glorious or disheartening or breathtaking moment, and nobody cared. Why? Because they were all doing the same thing. Controlled, glorious, fantastic chaos. Want to say something negative about our crowd? How many stadiums stay brimming with tens of thousands for what, an hour after the game?
As I walked home, I just kept thinking about how people years from now will still talk about the 2011 Notre Dame game the way that talk about the most legendary of moments. The walk home could’ve been for 5 miles, for all I cared. I floated back. As I hydrated at my apartment to go celebrate fully, someone across the street was playing House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” On loop. For at least a half hour. And the only reason someone would’ve called the cops to complain was if they turned it off. I’ll never watch a Wisconsin game the same after that.
Trying to end this feels like trying to wrap up that game, which is an impossible task. It’s futile. Describe colors to someone who can’t see. Read every book ever written. Capture a unicorn. All pale in comparison to the difficulty I’m finding trying to write this. I guess there’s really only one thing to say. It’s great. To be. A Mich-i-gan Wol-ve-rine.
It was late and I was in a bar surrounded by new friends. My old friends couldn’t meet up with me. They were all sick or they had something else they needed to do – one excuse or another – and so there I was by myself in Chicago, sitting in a little bar packed full of blue.
I hugged a man I didn’t know, shook hands with his friend and hugged his girlfriend and then I high fived another man and his wife. I didn’t know them before. I didn't give a damn. None of us did. We were all out of our minds. We shouted until we had all lost our voices. We jumped and cheered and freaked out together, convulsing with the physical manifestations of so many strange emotions. I was in a daze. In the course of thirty seconds the world as I knew it had gone from abject despair to pure, unadulterated, unashamed euphoria. And that was only in Chicago. I can’t fathom what it must have been like in the House.
My hand is bruised this morning from pounding on the bar. I can’t think of anything I could do in thirty seconds that can turn the world upside down like that. Not like that. I mean God, I don’t know if I can brush my teeth in thirty seconds.
But there, in that House I loved so much, a bunch of kids wearing my colors had just pulled off something that not even a quarter and a half ago would have been inconceivable. They had denied the stats, the completion percentages, the yards given up by their defense; it mattered only so far as it set us all up for one of the best endings we’ve ever seen. Denard needed eleven completed passes, and that’s exactly what he got.
After that game, I wandered my neighborhood like a roving lunatic. I laughed and shook my head and couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I collected ‘good game’ comments from so many random people on the street; even State fans. I ended up at a hotdog place, a little hole in the wall run by a guy whose dad used to play for Irish. A sign that read ‘Play Like a Champion’ hangs on the wall there. He was cleaning the glass door as I walked up, took a look at me, opened the door and said, “Holy shit.”
That’s about all I could say back. ‘Holy shit.’
I went in and we talked about football and the things we had just seen. It was that kind of game; where a Michigan man and the Irish fan can both respect the fact that they had just witnessed something purely amazing.
And to think, eleven years ago I was a kid who didn’t like sports, didn’t particularly like football, didn’t care one way or the other about how many people fit in a stadium. Sports were the opiate of the masses, or some other nonsense I have since learned to recognize at nonsense. At the time, though, I was ‘too smart’ for that.
But when my application for student season tickets came in the mail, my father sat me down and told me I was getting them. There would be no discussion. I could sell the tickets. I could sell the tickets to him if I wanted, but I was getting them. And I’m so happy I did.
Because, a little over a decade later, I was hugging grown people I had never met before, celebrating fleet footed miracles with my new friends and fellow fans.
How about you, blog friends? Tell us where you were.
So Shane Morris recently tweeted something interesting:
Just heard the best news of the dayyy... #impatient
ScoutExile on the blue board also posted saying:
Wait until the interview comes out! I'll post it here.
Sounds like a possible commit. Guess we will have to wait and see. Based on Shane's tweet I am guessing a WR but who knows. Speculate away as to who it could be.
TRich shares his thoughts another Michigan victory over Notre Dame. (it feels good to say that)
Like about everybody else here, I'm still basking in the afterglow of the win over ND, but I still wanted to get this done before the next batch of Picture Pages comes out. In other news, I finally figured out how to slow down video, which some people have asked for.
Setup: (Brian's original post is http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-how-not-defend-power-part-ii) In Part I (http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-how-not-defend-power-part-i), we see that Brennen Beyer overran a counter play Western ran to the left, losing contain and opening the door to a 25-yard gain (to be fair, he just opened the door; bad linebacker play exacerbated the lack of contain and escorted the Western RB through it). He was undoubtedly coached about said overpursuit afterwards (without, I am assuming, the use of stuffed animals) and returned determined to not repeat that mistake.
Wha'hoppon: Naturally, Beyer made the opposite mistake this time by engaging the pulling guard inside, proving there's more than one way to lose outside contain. A cut block on the MLB took out both him and the backside LB, and Herron steps up into the pile instead of out to force the play back inside, completing the loss of contain. Once again, Kovacs comes across from his deep safety position to make the tackle far downfield.
Non-embedded version at http://youtu.be/9asASKuFZ-I?hd=1
Regression to the Mean
What do you get when you have a game between two crappy conferences, one which comes into the game posting an 8-0 record and the top CPR among all conferences, and another that comes in as the only conference not to log a non-conference win over the opening weekend?
Yaaay, law of averages.
The Big East lost their clean sheet on Friday night, as Louisville fell to the mighty Golden Panthers of Florida International. To the Panthers' credit they have started the season 2-0, even though the Sun Belt had yet to win an interconference game. Their opening game was against conference foe, North Texas - the Texas team which is least likely to start talking about how pretty it is.
The last conference to post a perfect resume for 2011 fell only hours later. The Big 12 fought hard for their perfect record, with Arizona State needing overtime to beat Mizzou and break the streak of 11-0. This is not a big deal for the Big 12, though, as it is not like they're going to disintegrate the conference because of the loss...
|Conf.||Wk 1||Wk 2||Season||CPR||+ / -|
From the Top
The red-headed stepchild of the BCS. The ACC comes in below both the MWC and CUSA in this weeks table. Talks of the ACC poaching from the Big East should cease, as the Big East actually looks like a stronger conference.
What happens to your CPR when you go 7-5? Nothing, apparently. The B1G stays at number 3 even after developing a subpar record this week. I was tempted to give them +1,000,000 for Michigan's efforts, but that would skew my numbers a bit. Instead, the Big 10 stays at three and watches the top two conferences put some distance between themselves and the pack.
Well, this is kinda akward. The Big 12 this year is like a boyfriend who saw the light a little too late. Yes, they are on their best behavior, but she's totally over you, Big 12. The B12 is leading our CPR at this point, but they're still going to come home at some point and find all their shit on the lawn.
The Big East took a nosedive this week, after leading the FBS in the CPR last week. They drop four spots to number 5 due to a 'meh' 4-4 effort which saw losses to teams such as Vanderbilt and FIU.
CUSA can lay claim to the title 'Best of the Rest'. Their 8-9 record is good enough as 11 of their 17 OOC games have been against BCS conferences. They have posted three wins in those games, with two more coming to other FBS schools.
Don't look now, but EMU is 2-0! Largely due to the Hart influence, no doubt. A heartbreaker in Columbus was very nearly the biggest win the MAC has seen in years. Northern Illinois also lost a close game to Kansas while CMU kept it close throughout most of their game against Kentucky, only to lose 27-13.
A lukewarm 3-2 record which included two wins against FCS schools saw the MWC drop a spot. Their lone win was a 3 point SDSU win over Army.
The Pac 12 rebounded nicely from a disasterous opening week to climb six points in the CPR. They did so with a 6-2 week that saw them become the only conference which has beaten the Big 12.
Undefeated. 8-0. The AFC Southwest. God's gift to ESPN. God's gift to God. The reason I couldn't watch the opening kickoff of the greatest game in the history of the word 'game'. The SEC shot up as the only potential challenger for the CPR crown. At this point, it appears to be a two horse race with the Big 12 narrowly beating the SEC.
The Sun Belt didn't wait until Saturday to post their first win, with FIU beating Louisville on Friday night. The Sun Belt went 4-4 with wins over the MAC, CUSA, Mountain West, and an FCS school. For their part, the Sun Belt has beaten up the fewest cupcakes (sounds like innuendo?), having only played one FCS school.
The WAC has brought up the rear among FBS conferences for the second week in a row. That's what happens when you post a 5-10 record, with only two of those wins over other FBS schools.
Navy posted the only vistory this week as they rolled over Western Kentucky. BYU gave Texas a run, but came up short by a point. Notre Dame was apparently involved in some sort of 'night game' thing.
The FCS was picked on less this week, as they only played 20 games against FBS schools, compared to 36 the week before. They posted as many wins this week as Notre Dame.