It’s a new day, and time for a new “Blog.”
Well, I saw so much anger and frustration come out with Barking Sphincter Blog I that I decided to stay on topic and continue in my vein of axing just why the hell so many people think Rodriguez should be given so many free passes. But I’m not going to concentrate on Rodriguez here—I’m going to call out the Defenders of the Rod with this one.
The angst UM fans are feeling is polluting the intranets. The Defenders of the Rod (TDoR) come out enforce to rail at anyone who questions not just Rodriguez, but the state of UM football and recruiting. A guy on a premium pay site axes something like, “Hey, who we gonna go after on defense? A lot of highly-ranked defensive recruits are off the board.” WHAMMO. Within minutes this post is swarmed upon as if it was dollar-days at a downriver Wal Mart and Cheeze Whiz was on special. The guy is called a “Chicken Little” a “Debbie Downer” a “Closet Sparty” or is barraged with sarcastic bullshit like, “Hey you’re right. Maybe Michigan should just give up football.” All that ridiculousness aside, the worst part is when the TDoR start justifying 3-9 and why it happened.
I guess the worst record in the history of the program will do that to an emotionally fragile fan base whose identity is based in no small part on the successes and failures of the Wolverines. But it does beg the question: How does a legitimate query about THIS year’s recruiting turn into a self-pitying justification party about the PREVIOUS season? If the TDoR want to put 3-9 behind them, or tell others to do so, why are they always the first ones to bring it up? Take a look at my first blog. I had the vultures all over that post screaming like little girls at a Jonas Brothers concert, and about all they could spit out was “3-9! 3-9! Cupboard bare! Lloyd Bad Man leave no players!” Well, if 3-9 hurts recruiting so badly, how’s come Rich Rod landed some pretty good talent as the season wore on, and did so even after it ended? The dude blew a 40-year streak of non-losing seasons, crashed and burned a 33-year bowl streak, and really good players still signed on.
But THIS year, it’s different. Even after bringing a big time defensive coordinator on board in Greg Robinson. THIS year, 3-9 matters. Gone are the cries of “Yowza! 3-9 and we can still have a top 10 class? We are the ballz!” Gone are the cries of “THIS is gonna be the big year of turnaround! 2009—smokin, baby!” Those rallying shouts have been replaced by “I’m thinking that by 2011 we should be really good.” Bravado moving forward has been replaced by backpedalling and reminding everyone that our poor, young new coach was saddled by horrible players out to get him, Lloyd Carr lurking in the shadows with his non-support or super-secret coven of anti-Rodriguez co-conspirators, and a Michigan Media throwing its full support behind the bible-thumping Prophet of Lansing, Mark Dantonio.
And with all that back pedaling comes the revealing of a very confidence-challenged fan base worried about Michigan falling off the map as so many other Big Timers have. The UM fan base, which never saw a precipitous fall as even remotely possible before 3-9, reels from it and vehemently pounces on anyone who dares question whether Rich Rodriguez can get things back in order. Gone is civil discourse. Gone is acceptance, and discussion with those of differing opinions. These so-called fans, who claim to support a great university known for tolerance and open-mindedness are in stark, dark contrast to the image of Michigan. Many claim to be graduates of the school; to that I say “Bullshit.” Neither their writing, their use of the English language, nor their ignorant closed-mindedness and lack of intelligent conversation speaks to being a graduate of such a great institution of higher learning.
And this is no more proudly on display than when a recruit backs out on a commitment to UM or elects to go elsewhere if the fan base feels they were somehow “led on” by a recruit. Oh, that kid is in for some serious bashing. I remember the backlash against last year’s batch of decommits. Kevin Newsome, Shavodrick Beaver, and all the rest were creamed, called liars, their integrity was challenged, their families were insulted, and all because they simply changed their minds. Often, if not every time, the UM coaching staff had cooled on the kid and the decommit was more of a suggestion to him rather than the recruit just flipping. But no matter; these decommitments evoked a reaction that can not be described as anything but visceral. And all without ANY knowledge of the situation or the recruit in question. The really sad part was that type of reaction came from the majority, not the crazy marginalized sector, as is usually the case with this type of Mob Rule.
So it stands to reason that we now see these angry protestations against those who are, very legitimately, wondering about the status of this once-proud program. I say again: Michigan State is winning a cultural war with UM in the state of Michigan. MSU has “perception” on its side in a big way. Acknowledge it and fight it, or lose 40 years of goodwill and dominance in your own back yard. But again, to accept the challenge offered by Mr. Michigan is Greener means a wave of Maize Ragers raining down on you with the kind of contempt usually reserved for baby seal clubbers or soccer moms.
How long will this go on? Is it true that winning will cure everything? It remains to be seen if Rodriguez will build a winner—how much time does he have? and it remains to be seen—if he has time and does it—whether the “I told you so” crowd will welcome back their fellow UM supporters who, pretty much objectively, have done nothing more than voice warranted concerns.
Have a great weekend people! GO BLUE!