At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
“I find that I don't care about Ohio State at all.” (Brian Cook, 11/23/2010)
Has it come to this? That during this week, the week of Thanksgiving and our unity against the common foe of That Team Down South, our esteemed leader can’t bring himself to care about Ohio State?
Cannibalism may be fun for the short term, but in isolation it’s not a viable long-term survival strategy. To repeat the already-repeated obvious – everyone wants Michigan football to be good on the field, good in the classroom, and good in society. That’s the end, upon which we all agree (though likely with different views on the appropriate mix of those three factors). What we can’t agree on is the most effective means to that end.
All this shouting has become tiresome, and it seems like the site has become a perverse echo chamber. Rodriguez has improved in wins every year… he lacks ‘quality’ wins. The offense has improved… the defense has worsened. The cupboard was bare…the pantry was emptied. Inexperience has been exploited and will improve…experienced bad players are still bad players. The coaches demand the most out of the players… the coaches can’t get the most out of the players. It’s GERG’s fault… it’s the guy who hired GERG’s fault. New blood was needed…the old way worked.
One thing we can learn from economics – when there’s only one dimension to consider, there’s generally an optimal position to maximize total happiness (or utility, or whatever). Imagine a single ice cream stand on a beach full of sunbathers – the optimal location of the ice cream stand is the one that minimizes the total distance that the sunbathers have to walk. But when we start adding multiple dimensions – younger customers are willing to walk further, the demand varies by the weather, some customers will walk further for certain flavors but not for others, there’s an Italian ice stand as well, customers have different amounts they can pay, some ingredients are more costly than others, and you have to pay rent for the beach space, etc. – there no longer is a clear optimum. Furthermore, there’s no mathematical solution – you can only simulate and try to find optima.
We’re at the point where there’s no math, no hard and fast truth, that clearly states the right course of action for the program. We are all finding our local optima and arguing from that point. Sure, some points aren’t actually optimal, but there’s so many of points of discussion that it becomes impossible to determine the truth. (Note: Brian, a comp sci guy, would argue that with enough data processing power the truth can be discerned from all but the most random of data points – but we’re not supercomputers).
What’s the way out of this mess? The Founding Fathers had it figured out – representation. We are, collectively, the muddled masses with a multitude of conflicting, confusing opinions. And so we need a representative to sort it all out. In this case our representative wasn’t elected; he was chosen, but he’s ours nevertheless. And while David Brandon may have some flaws, it’s hard to argue that there’s anyone in the world better suited to be Michigan’s Athletic Director. And it’s his call. Will he make the ‘right’ decision? I don’t know. I do know he’ll make the best decision he can, and he’s the best person to make that decision, and what more can you ask for?
So that’s how I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the pimp (hand). I hope that MGoBlog can remain the blog for many Michigan fans, one that educates, informs, considers, and most importantly has fun in the process. Fight amongst yourselves if you must, but remember that we ALL agree on the end, and it’s OK to disagree on the means. Remember that all but the lamest of arguments have some good points to consider. And remember that if your side ‘loses’, suck it up and move on. Besides, we always have women’s softball. Or is there a firecarolhutchins.com site?