"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
My Name Is Henri, The Otter Of Ennui
10/13/2007 - Michigan 48, Purdue 21 - 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten.
Is it better if the opening two weeks of the season were a prelude to enormous disappointment or a soul-crushing aberration? After brief consideration the answer is obviously the latter, but the lingering effect of The Horror and the post-apocalyptic Oregon game has, unfortunately, put a damper on what should be a time to celebrate an emphatic win. We finally get what everyone envisioned when they put on their nightcaps August 31st and dreamed sugarplum dreams of the season ahead, and the result? Mostly "aaargh, this reinforces everything I already thought."
Hey, don't ask me, ask the MZone:
This team has had seven chances to look impressive this year. They're 1 for 7 so far. Even in baseball, that's a horrible average. Their best wins before Saturday - Penn State and Notre Dame - had as much to do with their opponents' incompetence than Michigan's superior ability. Games against patsies Northwestern and Eastern Michigan were struggles far longer than they should have been. And let's not forget the first two games as much as we would like to.
Well, that's... mostly depressing. And then there's this guy from the open thread:
Wow, this game makes me so pissed about the first two weeks of the season.
Well... yeah. There is no Michigan fan out there who saw the game or even just the score and didn't have a momentary what-if spasm about missed field goals and unspent timeouts and the whole Oregon fiasco.
The deranged are still there. Those deranged in the opposite direction -- not cited here, as said lifeforms tend to exist exclusively in the true believer zones of premium message boards -- have erased all memory of the systemic flaws this coaching staff exposed for the nth time and are not thinking about possible pratfalls hence. Both are annoying genres of person to interact with, as they typically resort to sarcasm instead of acknowledge that things are not perfectly bad nor perfectly good, deny that they think things are perfectly bad or good when challenged on their continual optimism or pessimism, and imply that anyone who thinks differently than they do is either an idiot or a greedy child.
But to be in the middle is to be bored, lazy, lackadaisical. Yay we beat Purdue by lots. Boo we fell out of the national championship picture before October for the ninth time in ten years. Yay we beat Penn State. Boo we were crushed by running quarterbacks. Yay we're probably going to play Ohio State for the Big Ten. Boo Tressel will eat our babies. It's hard to get excited either way once the immediate flush of "oh my God we don't suck" passes.
It's nice not to suck. It is. But we've seen this script before. It ends poorly. To get excited is to be vulnerable; caution and forced boredom is the order of the day. I am buying a beret and some urchins to smash upon my tummy. I will watch some reality television and complain about the weather. I may remark on the fact that the urchins these days don't taste as good as urchins used to. No quality in these urchins.
It's a front, but it's a useful one. Otter Lucy is holding the otterball for Otter Charlie Brown; get back to me in November to see whether we rush towards the cliff, hopes aloft, in 2007.
- Shawn Crable takes some great pictures:
- Attn Joe Tiller: escaping with a 27 point loss does not maintain your dignity.
- That said, can we please recover an onside kick? That's four straight we've failed at, which has to be approaching an NCAA record.
- More special teams hijinks: huge returns for Purdue followed by a kick out of bounds and then the failure to even pop the ball up to the 30. It's depressing that Michigan has to kick off like it's a high school team.
- KC Lopata, on the other hand, looks like a completely uninspiring but largely accurate kicker, which I will take.
- Does Carr hate Tiller or something? The starting offense was in for way longer than anyone expected and Michigan actually punched in a couple of late touchdowns to push the score out to a prodigious margin. Every year, the Sporting News quotes some anonymous Big Ten coach who trashes every other program, saving special venom for Carr and Michigan. This is always Tiller -- TSN caveman Tom Dienhart and Tiller are BFFs. Maybe Carr's just tired of it?
- Henne's PC had one interesting comment in it: early on, Purdue was doing a you-check-we-check thing on defense that confused some playcalls. This was probably the cause of the two ineffective Hart runs that led to Michigan's first punt.
- The parabolas that drop directly into the waiting arms of Mario Manningham returned. I missed them so.
- Until Carlos Brown's touchdown explosion, I was convinced we were going to suuuuuck at running back next year. Minor hasn't made a yard the offensive line didn't get for him all year save for his spectacular truck job on a Notre Dame safety; Brown had spent most of his time either fumbling or running directly into the backs of his offensive linemen. Both have been disadvantaged by the mop-up situations they find themselves in, but McGuffie will have a major opportunity, IMO.
- Ciulla saw the field late; is he healthy enough to play? Will he be healthy enough for Illinois? Is the Schilling-Ortmann right side a voluntary decision?