This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
Are You Trying To Kill Nana?
10/22/2005 - Michigan 23-20 Iowa - 5-3, 3-2 Big Ten
Last second victories are great--much preferred to last second losses. But it begins to wear on you when the team ends up staring grim, possibly peg-legged defeat in the eye week after week, playing bingo for the souls of Michigan fans everywhere.
Thus the difference between my reactions at the end of the Penn State and Iowa games. When the New Math cradled it home I spent minutes hopping up and down, screaming things that were only vaguely English. When Jerome Jackson fell mercifully into the endzone, I pumped a fist, muttered something about running on third and five, and needed some valium and a nap. Instead of elation the primary emotion was relief. It was still a good time, but once in a while I would like a relaxing time. I would like to make it Suntory Time.
That's why this column is posted on Monday instead of the OMG WOOHOO 12 PM Sunday stamp "The New Math" received. I spent Sunday on other tasks, reading books I've read before, fiddling with bits, etc. I've got no poetic to wax after the Iowa game, no nicknames to bestow. Just like invoking the name of your demon-kitten god over and over, the punch behind a nailbiting victory is reduced when it comes after a season of nailbiters. Fatalism takes over. We will either win or we will lose, but we deserve whatever Angry Michigan Safety Hating God decides to give us.
Still, it's nicer today than it would have been if the final score was something like 21-17, extremely probable-seeming until Kirk Ferentz decided to Lloydball his way into a game-tying field goal by running rather passively on first down inside the redzone. That was odd, especially given that Drew Tate had been near perfect all day. Paired with Michigan's run run run punt with three minutes left that was a carbon copy of the mistake Carr made against Penn State and vowed never to make again, it was akin to games of tetherball I watched as a child where one popular kid would play another popular kid. Whenever a game would come close to finishing, the loser would say "okay" and the winner would let up before the final death blow. The game would continue as I stood in line, silently planning my evil revenge (unconsummated to this day).
The cumulative effect was as if the Universe was indeed Trying To Kill Nana, if by "Nana" you mean me, by ratcheting up the pressure week after week until critical tubes in various life-sustaining portions of my body decided that structural integrity was as overrated as Texas Tech. Eventually you have two choices in life: go starkly bats or shut off, repress things, and set yourself up for post-traumatic flashbacks. I chose door number B.
That's a shame because that was a hell of a run by Breaston and a hell of a catch by Avant, but I've got all my tubes in working order. So I've got that going for me.
(no, I don't really know why the grim defeat is possibly peg-legged.)