2011 michigan football
January 4th was at the peak apex and swift crescendo of a roller coaster of weirdness that permeated Ann Arbor, Michigan for the last four years. We all know that when things get weird, the weird turn pro, but what happens when things return to normalcy?
Michigan began a warpath of rampage wider than Genghis Khan. Michigan had no wall. The first victims of the conquering heroes were the clueless and tailback led offense. Nebraska has always had an interesting and sometimes intimidating offense. The TB actually plays in the QB position for Nebraska. This offense has seen days of complete domination and recently, days of high Drama between their prima donna TB/QB and their 12 time anger management/spittle distance champion coach. Their latest season proved to be as bi-polar as Pelini. The 2011 Cornhuskers team defeated foes the like of Michigan Staee Penitentiary, Iowa, and an emotionally charged cult team from State College, PA.
Michigan came in unsure about the future after many déjà vu experiences of late season collapses and self loathing tongue lashings. Watching the game in the quiet hamlet of Livonia with my necessary equipment and required medication, I quickly realized my mind did need prodding for altered consciousness. The serious beating of the Cornhuskers by the Wolverines was like watching an unruly Kodiak taking on a clubbed foot mink. This was a Michigan effort I haven’t seen in a long time.
Nebraska served as a launching pad for GoBo’s offense and Hoke’s voodoo pointing to the next week death match against the Terrell Pryor’s School of Selective Contributions located in a shitcan town dead center of a cesspool state north of where the Hatfields and McCoys spilled blood over swine. The game went back and forth and Michigan tried dearly to hand the evil empire an undeserving victory. As best as the philanthropic Wolverines tried, they ended a long agonizing stretch of losing to a team that needs four people to figure out how to spell their state’s name.
The Wolverines found themselves in an unusual place, playing football in January in New Orleans (Thank you to all the MGoGeographers out there for setting me straight). Unfortunately, I missed half the game studying an accordion type device that promised to send you to a planet of unicorns, badass grizzly care bears, and a bottomless plate of fat free/vitamin rich BBQ spare ribs. I did return from the outer reaches of the universe to see an anemic offense get in a position to win the game with a field goal. At first I thought I ended up on an episode of Sliders, reaching a parallel universe. Michigan winning a big game on special teams? Staunch defense not allowing massive deflation compared to the previous three years of eleventy billion ppg, to a high powered and traditional powerhouse from the ACC? I realized then that the ESPN3.com screen in front of me in a valley separating NY and PA that Todd Blackledge and Brad Nessler would never be in a place that resembles a personal utopia. This was real. The year ended and Michigan was Sugar Bowl champs. What now? What panic and angst would I write of? Is this the end of the modern day Greek tragedy known as Michigan football? As a fan I sure as hell hoped so, but as a periodic panic purveyor, I feared the worst.
As spring football ushers in absolutely nothing in substance and the recruiting trail of coming years are hot, the feared doldrums of normalcy and confidence have not yet fully entrenched the Michigan faithful for the upcoming year’s slate of games. The ulcer creating anticipation and fear are starting to creep back into the hearts of Mittenanders everywhere. The Michigan team will no longer be such a severe underdog for teams the like of Nebraska and they will also have to play the most difficult challenges in the belly of several beasts. The schedule is grim from start to finish with the exception of little brother at home. Dave Brandon sold his grandson’s first born male to play the incorruptible Tide of Alabama in the home of the vilest man in the NFL. Along with Alabama away, Michigan must also battle filth in Columbus, Nebraska, and South Bend. Also adding to the drama this year is the new coach for our last opponent of the regular season, Urban Meyer, or as I enjoy calling him, Pope Urban II. Will he tilt the edge back into the favor or mouth breathing truck drivers or will he wilt and receive mysterious personal and family issues pulling this great coach of Tim Tebow back to the commentator’s desk of Brent Musburger and Matt Millen?
Those issues above combined with the usual tragic injuries of gladiator sports, unexpected moments of disappointed, disgust, and the usual hijinks of college football are a sure bet to create the writing fuel many of the bloggers here eat up. With expectations up, and challenges large, we shall have another year in which there may be little actual turmoil, but we can be sure that turmoil, panic, and The Fear will have a safe place on this blog of myriad personalities and clinically psychotic bloggers in this invisible village of rabid fanatics. Have a great, safe, and twisted summer. See you in August.
Does anyone have any pictures/video of Denard's block on the end around? That was awesome to see, and I could tell Denard enjoyed getting a chance to dole out punishment.
I'm sure you're all as excited as I am about the Sugar Bowl. But I'm sure you've all been pestered by friend/family/co-workers about how M is only there because it's all about the money. Or they have various other gripes. I've decided to classify these gripes, and share my unsolicited opinion with you on the internet. I'll approach this as a conversation with each of the various butthurt partisans.
(Since we are the lowest ranked BCS team in, I'll compare everyone's resume to ours)
QUIT YOUR WHINING
Sparty - I'd almost feel bad for you if you were passed over for a BCS game by us. But you weren't - you were outside of the top 14 and therefore ineligible. Why were you outside the top 14, when we both had the same number of losses and you won the head-to-head? And won the division over us? No, not the polls - we were ranked within a spot of each other in all of them. It was the computers. Why? You see, while you beat us by 14, you lost to Nebraska by 21, who lost to us by 28. Triangle of doom. Shall we look at the other loss? Ours was an ugly one in the division to Iowa - by 8 points. Which gave you the edge in the B1G West. Yours was an even uglier thumping at the hands of Notre Dame. Yes, yes, you beat Wiscy on a Hail Mary at home. And then lost to them by 3 at a neutral site. Want to count it as a tie against a top ten team? Doesn't change the fact that If you had shown up at all in that ND game, you may have had a legitimate gripe. You didn't, so you don't. Enjoy Florida. I hear it's nice this time of year.
Oklahoma - Yes, your TT loss doesn't look that much worse than our Iowa loss. And your Baylor loss looks better than our Sparty loss. But the way you got absolutely stomped in the biggest game of your season is way uglier than anything that happened to us. Also, you're 9-3 after that one. You don't deserve anything more than the Copper Bowl.
South Carolina and Arkansas - Nobody wants to hear it. No, the limit on only two teams from a conference isn't holding you back - it keeps you from playing each other. Look, even in your good years nobody wants to see two teams from the same conference play in a bowl game against each other. And the SEC didn't have a good year - Arkansas, your best win is against the Cocks, and your escape against A&M is not as pretty as our escape against Notre Dame. And you got throttled in your two losses - you got beat worse by Bama than Penn State did. Gamecocks, your best win was against Clemson - and your losses against Arkansas and Auburn are comparable to our losses against Sparty and Iowa. But we pretty much thumped everyone else on our schedule except our rivals. Your wins were...uninspiring. The system isn't holding you back at all - your own failures on the field are keeping you out of the party. And no SEC partisans are ever allowed to complain about the BCS again, unless it's talking about how biased pollsters are towards their own.
Boise State - I usually defend you guys, but I'm not going to this time. Yes, you've got only 1 loss, and it was a close one to TCU - better looking than either of our losses alone, and certainly prettier than both put together. And your win over Georgia is comparable to our win over Nebraska. But here's the thing - your next best win was either Tulsa, Wyoming, or SDSU. SDSU was at the bottom of our resume for wins. In fact, it's so far down there we don't even think about where it is. Your second best win is our 7th or 8th best? I've got to go with our resume on this, even with the uglier losses.
Southern Miss - When both of your losses are to teams without winning records, then you have not proven you belong in the BCS. That interview gave me a good laugh though.
YOU MAYBE HAVE A POINT
TCU - I love how you guys do what you do, and you had an amazing season. Beating Boise on the blue turf and winning the Mountain West is nothing to smirk at. And while your win @Boise may be better than ours against Nebraska, and your losses are comparable to ours, I've got to go with the same argument I had against Boise - the meat of your schedule is the dregs of ours. What's that you say? Why is West Virginia ahead of you? That's a good point, but you guys know how it is in the Mountain West. That's why you're leaving next year. Good luck in the B12.
Baylor - I've had a lot of fun watching you guys, and I'm rooting for RG3 for the Heisman. And your resume isn't bad - beating three ranked teams is far better than us, and getting blown out by OK St is not so bad. Losing to K St by one isn't bad at all either. Getting blown out by A&M is way worse than anything that happened to us though. So yea, your resume is close to ours. But there's a couple of other guys in your conference who belong more, so I don't feel so bad that we're in over you.
I FEEL FOR YOU GUYS BUT YOUR CONSOLATION ISN'T SO BAD
Kansas State - You guys should be in a BCS game. Yes, your blowout at home by OU is bad, but your second loss was by seven @the #2 team in the country. You totally have an argument that "it's all about the money." But hey now, don't look at US like that - we weren't the last ones in. That would be the Hokies you have beef with - and truth be told, I think you'd probably travel to NOLA better than them anyway.
But really, getting a chance to play an overrated #6 SEC team in the Cotton Bowl - a game that was "major" back in the Bowl Coalition days - that's a major opportunity for respect, and pretty much a BCS game anyway. I mean, without the massive payout. But that would've gone to Texas as blood money anyway, right?
DEATH TO THE BCS
Oklahoma State - What can anybody say, guys. You got hosed by Alabama. They have two wins over the top 25, you have four. They lost to the #1 team at home, and you lost to an unranked team on the road - your loss is a little worse, your wins are better. No, just cause they blew out a weak schedule doesn't mean anything - you should have gotten the nod from resume alone.
What makes it ridiculous and insufferable is the obvious - this is a rematch, they didn't win their division, they're playing a team from their conference. I know you've been over it a hundred times over in your own heads. I hope you guys beat Stanford and win the Grantland Rice and the Macarthur trophies. I hope Alabama gets crushed.
But really, your gripe is way more legitimate than K-State's. It's probably the most legitimate gripe I've ever heard with regards to the BCS - yes, more legit than Oregon, Auburn, and USC have had in the past. While I've never loved the BCS, I never thought it was so broken as to screw you over for a less deserving team because they came in second in a conference that was good the last couple of years. The system is broken and you've been royally screwed by it, and will watch them play a regional scrimmage.
I'm way more excited for your matchup against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl than I am for the event that precedes LSU's deserved coronation. Good luck, and prove to the nation that you deserve a shot.