The talented young players will become older and more experience. Even if the coaches are average, the two great recruiting classes will float the coaches boats in the next couple years. This will probably be Hoke's worse season. I don't know if he is a good enough coach to win a NC but talented kids can get him to the 10 game per year plateau.
Let's Go Bowling
11/23/2013 – Michigan 21, Iowa 24 – 7-4, 3-4 Big Ten
Ypsi-Arbor Bowl was demolished in early October.
MUSIC POST! HIT PLAY OR I KILL YOU!
I am one of those irritating people who believes the Big Lebowski is deep, man. I think this because of everything about it but mostly because of one particular scene. If you have not seen the Big Lebowski, you are about to be spoiled. Also, screw you you're a bad person and you deserve to be spoiled. What is wrong with you? You are bad and should feel bad.
Sorry. I am taking things out on people. I hip-checked an old lady into the frozen pizzas on Saturday because her earrings annoyed me*. That was wrong. I know that now. I will stop doing this posthaste.
The scene is the funeral. Because of miserable copyright bastards you have your choice of an official thing that cuts off before the crucial line or one with the volume turned way down. Here's the latter, turn up for hearings:
It is just so Dave Brandon that the Official Movieclips.com version manages to cut itself off before "Come on, dude… fuck it, man. Let's go bowling." Anyway.
At this point I simultaneously feel that I have to explain and that I have to explain that there's no point in trying. But fuck it, I'm talking to the guys who had the world's saddest tailgate before the season opener and came up to me at our event before the Notre Dame—another world—and were just so excited to be the world's saddest tailgate. They told me about their jury-rigged pancake plans for Notre Dame. They were engineers. That part is probably obvious. I loved them, and I feel badly for them. They're all 18 and probably don't know a damn thing about a movie that came out when they were three and Michigan was national champions.
I don't know anything about Buddhism but the Big Lebowski feels pretty Buddhist. The Dude comes into his apartment to a guy peeing on his rug and from that point on he's propelled through this rollercoaster over which he has zero agency. Literally everything he does in the movie is at the behest of someone else, and what little gestures towards doing something himself are quickly co-opted by the people he's doing them with. He picks up Walter to make the drop; Walter presses his underwear upon the dude and shoots up his car with an uzi. He has sex with Maude; Maude reveals that he acting as a living sperm bank. Etc.
The movie is a series of unfortunate events culminating in the death of Donny thanks to the bullheaded stupidity of Walter, who doesn't want to give up his fifteen dollars to some nihilists. That Donny dies as an indirect effect of that decision is the capper: your desires and actions are futile; you are subject to the random capricious whim of a universe that doesn't care about anything and if it was going to care about something it absolutely wouldn't be you. I don't have to spell the rest out for you. Sports! Fuck sports.
The thing about the funeral scene that kills me every time is the shoving rant from the Dude and Walter's scalded-dog reaction hug in the midst.
what THE FUCK does anything have to do with Vietnam?!?!
This is the guy with the Uzi who pulls a gun on the pacifist, and that is pious. It's a prayer for forgiveness. That kills me every time. And then the song. I mean.
I've probably mentioned this before, but in the aftermath of The Horror the one thing I wanted and needed to do more than anything else in the world was watch The Big Lebowski. I don't think I knew why at the time; it was my favorite movie but if you asked me why I wouldn't have been able to come up with much in particular. As I was watching it the whole Lebowski-Sports thing dawned, the lack of agency over your emotional state, the attempt to come to terms with arbitrary bullshit wreaking havoc on your emotional state, the lumbering oaf you've chosen to have far too much influence on your emotional state. I revert to it still, because at the end the Dude reaches out and clasps Walter to him, and fuck it, let's go bowling.
I have to tell you that I am at a low ebb right now.
3-9 was awful but had an element of fun in it in the same way Naked and Afraid does: holding my frozen hands to the pretzel machine and feeling guilty when I returned to the stands to find that I'd tried to heat myself so long I'd missed Michigan's first three-and-out of the second half. This is worse, six years on. It's lost its novelty, and now staring at the Armageddon that is the last week of the season is just Promethean fate. I can't imagine accidentally missing any part of this football season and thinking anything other than "stroke of luck, that." I don't see a way in which Michigan gets on Ohio State's level in the near future, and even plotting out Michigan State's level is pretty murky.
I also don't see a FIRE THIS TURDFACE solution. This is the culmination of a dozen different things, all richly deserved by everyone except the fanbase, and my belief is that the best course of action is to persist with this low-attrition, good-dude, quality-talent recruiting and hope that the blithering recedes as things go along. I hate this, because I know that any realignment towards an offense that I actually like will be met with a reaction equivalent to George Wallace hearing that they're integrating the schools, and that the burden of Michigan's past hangs over them in a way that Ohio State was perfectly happy to throw over before Urban Meyer even showed up. I also feel that Michigan will insist that it's anyone's fault but their own, and that the best we can hope for is 1997: an outlier.
This is massively enervating. We're staring down a 20-year period in which Michigan beats Ohio State like 4 or 5 times. Memories of when Michigan could claim equality are as fresh as Jim Delany's letter about how the SEC was a bunch of stupid poopy pants, and as relevant. This feels like a new order, right now. Inescapable.
Fuck it, dude. I'm going bowling. At 5 PM after Michigan gets its anatomy explored on Saturday, I'm going to Colonial Lanes on Industrial, which still exists, and I'm going to throw some balls in the general direction of some pins.
I can't stand bowling. I suck at it and there is nothing more frustrating than sucking at throwing a ball straight at things that aren't defended or even moving. Any time you fail to bowl you have failed to be a vaguely functional person. I hate bowling. So it is obviously perfect for Saturday.
If you promise not to talk about this year's football team, I would love for you to join me. I will tell you it is not your fault. You will tell me it is only about 5% my fault. It will not be a great time but I'm sick of staring at a computer screen trying not to check twitter. By God if I am going to be enervated it is going to be by not being able to throw a ball straight for a moderate distance. I'm done being enervated by sports, if only for just this moment.
In the moment where I take the ball down from its perch between my hand and my clavicle there will be a moment of beautiful, stupid hope that will persist past the results. And that moment will be enough to mitigate what follows.
Therefore I will bowl.
*[For the people who run the Children of Yost account: that's a joke, and your hat is unflattering.]
There is no other stuff, except the elsewhere section because by God ST3 and bronxblue persist. Goddamn if bronxblue doesn't nail it:
And yet, I still can’t find it in myself to turn off these games. I know why, of course: there are only 13-14 games a year, and when times are good or at least exciting there is nothing better to watch. And when the team isn’t that good (which, let’s be honest, started well before RR’s tenure made it official), the calcified memories of former greatness and the diminishing hope of a return keep me coming back. And despite the losses and the continuing sense that UM is still on the wrong side of history, I’ll keep watching and coming back to watch, even games like this when you could feel the loss coming after Iowa’s first drive of the 2nd half. And in all likelihood, my kids will love watching UM football as much as me, even when they realize that patch of missing hair isn’t because Dad was pranked. But this simply cannot end soon enough for me, and next week’s OSU game will likely get the background treatment as I shop online, listen to music, and otherwise tool around the apartment.
And ST3 goes with the Smiths, because yeah:
Stop me, oh, stop me...
Akron, yes Akron, records 8 TFLs
Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before
UConn, still winless as I write this, records 10 TFLs.
You are both champions, gentlemen. Thank you for your posts.
Also, if you want a graphical representation of the way Michigan's offense is going, dnak438 has your evidence. It is grim.
Not that I needed to tell you that.
Literally just a few short years ago I lived and died with the UM football team. When they won I felt as if I were there and taking part in their celebrations, nothing could bring me down. When we lost though, I would find myself in an insurmountable funk that would carry on until my team won again.
Naturally in 2008 I was in a funk much of the time, but that season (along with the two following seasons) always gave me a glimmer of hope, something to hold onto. Each year you could see improvement in the team on offense and you just knew, that even a mediocre defense would be enough for this team to win most games.
That mediocre defense didn't materialize and much to my dismay, the process unfolded and we hired a guy that I wasn't sold on. This was MY TEAM though, so I put my reservations aside and got behind the new coach. It didn't take long to believe that things were going to be better, and quickly. The first season...11-2 with a BCS win, and that was with someone elses players. Just wait until his guys got up in here!
Well, fast forward to now and we have his guys here and we have been in a constant downward spiral since that first year. I like Brady Hoke and believe (see also, hope) that he can be successful in the long-term, but he needs to get an entirely new offensive staff if this ship is going to right itself.
So here I am today typing after yet another absolute egg was laid on offense and I feel nothing. It's like this past few years has made me numb. Never seeing improvement, but stagnation or worse, regression everywhere in the offense. Had this transpired a few years ago I would have been in a funk so horrible that drugs wouldn't have been able to save me, but this year...I find myself thinking "Yep...that seems about right".
I haven't been able to stop watching the games, but I can see that if things aren't chnaged after this season (in terms of the offensive coaching staff) that next year I may miss a lot of games, doing things I really enjoy doing like spending time with my kids, going hunting...hell a brazillian wax sounds more fun than watching football games if what we've seen this season is an indication of what we're in store for next.
I went through a brief phase of wondering why this program doesn't give two shits about me when I live and breath with it. Why should I invest so much emotionally when I seem to be let down time and again. If not for all the players have invested in this team (and previous ones) I would almost be glad things have transpired the way they have, because they have forced me to reassess my priorities and that was probably a longtime overdue.
So to Al (and an extent GERG as well) I thank you both for making me see the error of my ways. You might not be able to coordinate worth a shit, but you helped me realize there is more to life than football...a lot more, and for that at least, I'm grateful. Now get the hell out of A2 you beast!
we're not Florida.
Florida will make a coaching change and return to elite promptly. Because they are Florida.
They're not blindly clinging to the Florida of 40 years ago. Because there was no Florida 40 years ago.
"Because there was no Florida 40 years ago."
Those eight words pack a profound truth.
Michigan is rightfully proud of its legacy, but such a thing can become a blind spot. And it has.
The blind spot is not so much the Yost years -- that's ancient history; a nice bookend at the start of things, but too far removed to be a hinderance.
The blind spot is the Schembechler years. Those were good years, but they are in the past. They should be properly remembered, but not revered. Misplaced reverence is a blind spot.
The game of football is fluid, and the good programs move with the current. But the Michigan program seems to hold a stubborn eye on the picture of the Schembechler years, and that is hurting the program.
Place the picture of Schembechler in Michigan's hall of fame. Pay it proper homage. Then turn and face the reality of now.
I've been following Michigan football for 40 years now. I've seen ups and down. I was supportive of the transition away from the previous coach for the same reason I am now concerned about the present -- a stubborn insistence to cling to what was.
That's the off-season challenge for Hoke -- prove that he's not a man who has the stubborn insistence gene in him. I'm not calling for Hoke's dismissal; I am hoping for an indication he understands the problem.
So I don't want to disagree with you that we are destined to failure because we are chained to tradition, but RichRod proved that we are destined for failure because we tried to deviate from tradition. In the end we are screwed, regardless.
All we can hope for is...more desperately pray...that Brady isn't as frustratingly stubborn as we all think he is.
There's a tremendous risk of opening up the whole RR debate here, which I don't wish to do.
My basic argument is this -- beware the tendency to rely too heavily on what once was, because what once was may not be effective in what now is.
Hoke seems to look back to his days at Michigan back in the late 90's and see a pattern for today, but that's a mistake. Today is what today offers, not what 1997 looked like.
Al Borges seems to look back to his formative years learning the "West Coast Offense." There's a reason almost nobody is running that offense in the form it was from back then.
Rich Rodriguez's mistake was thinking the spread model he had at West Virginia translated exactly to the Big 10 or into the future. The game is changing; it's not 2006 any more, the WVU model with Pat White was great but isn't the game-changer today that it was then.
(Please, nobody cite the Arizona win over Oregon ... it was one game, Oregon is beat up and dispirited, and Arizona is hardly a dominant force ... and probably won't ever be. They may well be better than Michigan, but that's something quite different from better than Alabama, FSU or even OSU.)
The common pattern is that all three seem to look back to what might be called glory days thinking that success today can be had by repeating things from the past. The great coaches don't fall into that trap. They adapt and take what the present affords.
My hope is Hoke wakes up and realizes the folly of chasing a ghost from the past.
but RR's offense has evolved over the years at Michigan and into Arizona. He is more focused on getting more QB depth thanks to Threet/Sherdian blackhole at Michigan plus Pat White's injury that cost WVU the shot of going to the NC game. He is focused on finding a true dual threat QB who can pass first then run 2nd. HIs recruiting indicates that he is looking for a good passer who happen to run well.
Even with injuries, Oregon has won a shitload of games this season and were without De'Anthony Thomas who is one of their best player for a couple games. Arizona offense just eviscerated one of the better defense in the country with ease with a JC transfer QB in Denker. Has Hoke won against a top 10 team? So far, he hasn't.
I'm not trying to argue that Hoke is superior to RR, or that RR is bad or anything of the sort.
I'm simply saying I don't believe RR is going to achieve anything approximating national significance at Arizona**. I could be wrong, but I suspect I'm not. This weekend's game against Arizona State is going to be interesting, and will be a test of how good Arizona is at following-up on a big win.
** I live in Tucson ... and it's hard to describe the level of indifference there is to this football program. I barely knew last weekend was a home game. It wasn't the best weather day here, but the stands were half-empty for the biggest game in the Rodriguez tenure. USC and a newly ascendant UCLA will suck the talent out of California, and a resurgent Arizona State program is going to compete hard for what little in-state talent there is. UA has never been a football power, and without a Phil Knight or Boone Pickens benefactor I just don't see how UA maintains its position within the increasingly hostile arms race that is top-tier college football. But again, time will tell.
I might actually agree with the statement that "Arizona [under Rodriguez] will never be an elite football program..."
Just maybe, Arizona -- a basketball school for the most part -- might never be an elite football power. West Virginia was a merely good program before Rodriguez took it to new heights. And it is hard to break into real elite status and maintain it. Ask the folks in Ann Arbor.
Maybe -- just maybe -- Arizona won't be Coach Rodriguez's last stop. Maybe he'll get snatched up by USC. Or Auburn. Or Florida. Or even Oregon. And at one of those schools, he might just lead a really elite program.
All this RR love here is interesting. A week ago, when Arizona lost to Washington State, the comments from the Arizona fans were eerily similar to the fans on this board. They couldn't wait for him to leave town. Sorry, supposed to be a reply to DonAZ.
saying florida isn't good, but i think you may be conflating recent florida success for urban meyer success.
since spurrier left (2001), they have had 5+ losing seasons six times, out of twelve years. this spans zook, muschamp, and yes, even meyer himself.
urban won big with tebow, but given the rest of the decade i don't know if you can guarantee a coaching change will bring success.
UF has 2 national championships in the past decade. I think most UM fans wuld rationally trade three seasons like UF is having this year for 1 NC, not to mention 2, in the past decade. Further they still have a nice defense (#7 in the nation and loaded with NFL prospects) and have been injured beyond belief. UM has actually been quite injury free this year aside from the big ones prior to September.
So if Michigan gets annihilated by OSU and no Michigan fans are around to watch it...
The place where Bo Schembechler met with his young all-new staff on their first day in Ann Arbor.
“When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing”
I'm not going to rent it shoes, or buy it a beer. And he's not going to take your F-ing turn, Brian.
This cartoon aired on the New Yorker's website, like two hours ago:
Brandon threatens to cut off all our Johnsons while telling us to "just give him the money."
They show it on ESPN, therefore it must be sport, right?
Try being a Lions fan. Try supporting a NFL team that is as creative at finding ways to lose as Banksy is at making artistic statements on the side of buildings.
Yeah, it sucks to see Michigan underperform. Yeah, it sucks to see the Maize and Blue not at the top of the conference. But they were once and will so again. This program has too much going for it not to. The only question is whether Hoke is the answer or just a precursor to greatness.
Ahem...try being a Pirates fan. And yes, I hung around to see them finally do something this year.
have a long history of winning like Michigan.
"Try being a Montreal Canadians fan" during their down years is more analogous to what we are going through.
Lions/Pirates fans = Cubs fans
Are you kidding? The Pirates have 5 World Series titles and played in the very first World Series. They employed some of the best players in the history of the sport. Until the last 20 years they were, by any measure, baseball royalty.
Sorry are you talking about the pirates or michigan football? There are some disturbing parallels
I always said it has to suck to be both a Lions and MSU fan. Perpetual angst, perpetual denial, perpetual "SPARTY NO, LIONS NO" moments, perpetual "we get no respect" card thrown down by their fanbases when they have any success.
So to be a Michigander and be fans of those 2 at the same time - what a sucky experience. But now we can switch it to UM and Lions fan.
"...it sucks to see the Maize and Blue not at the top of the conference. But they were once and will so again. "
And at this point we wake up and realize that we've become Notre Dame...just waiting for some OSU blog to start printing up navy blue shirts with "MICHIGAN FOOTBALL: RETURNING TO GLORY SINCE 1997" written in maize of highlighter yellow, whichever is more readily available.
Do you think anyone attending Yale or Harvard or Pennsylvannia or the University of Chicago in the 19-oughts woiuld have foreseen their programs "relegated" to Division 1-AA status or giving up their football program altogether within the next century?
Michigan will (probably) never realize a fall that significant and severe, but based on the trajectory of the program so far in the 21st Century, it is a mistake to simply assume that it will be competitive with Ohio State or any other strong national program anytime soon. Brian's (and in fact most users on this blog, IIRC) initial reaction to the Hoke hire was the right one after all...Hoke is a caretaker, not a solution. The stars aligned and they won a BCS game in his first year, but water seeks its own level and Brady Hoke has found his...not awful enough to be Illinois/Purdue level bad, but nowhere near good enough to be even Michigan State/Wisconsin level good. As for Ohio State? Forget it. Winning actually means something to those troglodytes. The costs for doing it are irrelevant. If they want a good coach, they get one. Doesn't matter if it's a guy with known baggage at his former gig...if he wins, they want him and they fortify their position around him. Tressel's baggage at Youngstown State wouldn't have gotten him an interview in Ann Arbor. Urban Meyer recruited Aaron Hernandez at Florida. Probably endeared him to Columbus even more.
I will watch the now annual bloodletting that has become The Game on Saturday because it's just what I do, confident in the realization that Michigan has become the Georgia Tech of the B1G (although Tech's offense is so much more interesting to watch)...an historical program that never beats its biggest rivals and understands that between 7-9 wins and continuing bowl eligibility SOMEWHERE is the best that can be expected of them.
Even if he is paid $100.
Our leader has fallen! Try to find us reasons for hope next year Brian!
I don't necessarily agree with the lack of firing Borges/Funk/Jackson. Someone needs yo be accountable and I look at the improvement at places like USC and even Texas and think a change brings hope.
We're still a better program than Tennessee!!!* So there's that!
Woo hoo! SSSSS EEEEE CCCCEEEEEE
*Of course second from bottom among college football royalty is all relative. And yes you should root against all things Tennessee in football so that we don't occupy the basement slot.
I don't think Gator fans are really too geeked up at the moment, either. All they have to root for right now is that FSU's QB is declared ineligible, thus royally fucking up FSU's dream season.
See response higher up the thread re: UF. 2 national championships this decade offsets a lot of current issues. I was speaking the past 12-15 years as a program, not any single season. Only ND and UTenn match us among the "blue bloods". And I guess last year's ND puts them above the other 2; the only relevant type season we had to ND 2012 was 2006. Otherwise both programs are pictures of mediocre...and Tenn seems to have fallen a bit more than that.
Florida fans might be living in the past to cope with this season, but -- much unlike us -- they at least have the recent past to live in.
1.) My friends all blame Devin Gardner still. I have stopped defending him, because my friends are dumb and won't listen. Sometimes I am jealous of their ignorance. I wish I lived in a world where I thought all of our problems stemmed from our quarterback not being good. One problem is starting to sound so much better than all of the problems. Something that shocked me this weekend was that they both knew Al Borges' name, and one of them knew that he was the third highest paid O.C.
2.) I haven't played NCAA 14 since Michigan beat ND. I mean I've played the game every year since I can remember, with very little change in the past 10 years outside of visual improvements. But I picked it up on Friday. I am starting the fifth season with Army, coming off back to back NCs. It feels good to bring a program from the depths back to the top. Its nice to like football again. I guess I am more like, "Fuck it, let's go live in a virtual reality, and actually win at football."
This is my first post despite reading this blog since 2007. I was ironically drawn to it after 'the horror' which should've been a red flag but whatever. I was compelled to finally post something after reading Brian's sentiments and what bronxblue said. Those thoughts perfectly articulated my state this past weekend. The rage and increduality that the performance in East Lansing gave me (after a 2nd bye week) shifted to a catatonic fear a week later that has only grown this month. We have all seen this movie before. We all know the impending dread. The RR's years were different because there was certainty to it to some degree. This season has a weird ambiguity to it which is way more unnerving. The conflicting feelings this team gives me (the horrendous coaching on all fronts vs. world class recruiting) has only deepened the concern for some reason. Living in Ohio these past 7 years has also escalated my fandom PTSD so that could be it too. All I wanted to say is that I will watch on Saturday, I will fear every second of it, I will be relieved when it is over, I will check the mgoblog community for support, and then I will move on and distance myself from 2013 and eventually come around to the idea of the 2014 team. That is all I can do. Sorry for the long post. Go Blue.
Also good luck living on Ohio.
One of the great things about being an old fart is that you're never have a shortage of bad memories. What I see in Michigan football today is what I saw around 1950. After their Rose Bowl win, the program became mediocre for an extended period, largely due to major rival coaches Biggie Munn and Woody Hayes. It appears that Dantonio and Meyer have assumed similar roles. It was 19 years before Bo started coaching, and I am not confident that the current staff is likely to copy his success.
+1 on the vintage Lions player reference.
+10000 on surely being the oldest guy here at MGoBlog—not many people here were born before or during WWII.
Well, my father was a Great War vet, so I was lucky to be born when I was. One of my earliest football recollections was hearing he and his friends argue who was better in 1947, Notre Dame or Michigan.
Fritz stuck with Bennie because of all his early coaching wins. Back then it was important to keep Michigan men in charge no matter their W's and L's Then Bennie gave it to Bump and Fritz stayed just a loyal to Bump after some really lousy seasons. No way this happens in Today's world. If Hoke doesn't turn this thing around after 2015, he is gone and a dump truck of money will be used to get a top coach.
This post makes me depressed
I can't back up my reaction because I don't have the time to go back and check pre-season predictions, but nonetheless:
The large majority of predictions at MGoBlog were of the 9-3/10-2 variety, with more than a few 11-1s sprinkled in. The people who said 7-5 or 8-4 were generally regarded as Negative Nancys or Debbie Downers.
But I agree with you on one point: next year's schedule is going to be brutal.
The ones who predicted 7 or 8 wins were not Negative Nancy's or Debbie Downers, but were realist. And correct, I might add.
I thought ND would be a loss
PSU would be a win
IA a close win on the road since I thought the team would improve enough through the season.
The disappointing part is that a young O-line playing through the season should have improved. This leads to some coaching problems and may be making too many positions changes through the season between C and Gs.
Things would have turned out better if we would have kept the early season OL, through the Akron game going through the season to congeal and gain experience as a unit.
Oh well back to the drawing board.
Michigan football, for me, has become like an addictive substance, when you do too much of it, and pass the enjoyment point. It's like smoking too many cigarettes or drinking too much diet coke. You get to a point where the taste is off, even odious. You don't enjoy it anymore, but you're not going to stop because you remember what it can taste like.
of the term odious. This season has been, save for one game, completely odious.
Saturday can not be over soon enough. This is going to suck.
This is why I come to the site.
Sorry to Coach Brown, Magnus, etc.
I should take my own advice and sit a few plays out.
I don't hate you guys (I dont even know you). I basically hate what has become of my favorite thing in this world.
I guess that's why I'm so pissed off. The incompentence and arrogance of our current regime has destroyed something I used to love very much. It's like if your favority pizza place slowly changed their way of making pies and slowly, ever slowly they got worse and worse till you couldnt eat them anymore. You're angry cause something you used to love eating is no longer delicious and now it's virtually unedible.
And when you complain the owner of the place tells you the new cook is fantastic and he absolutely LOVES his new cooking and if you just give him some more time you'll see how delicious this new pizza is.
Domino's pizza used to be quite good (say in the late 70's).