"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Roundtable Response X + 1
Roundtable X + 1! At IBFC! Yow!
1. The Envy Poll (as seen on rsfc)
Name the five teams, other than yours, whose accomplishments you respect / envy the most. Use whatever criteria you feel is appropriate (wins, titles, consistency, academic integrity, competitive integrity, NCAA violations, general thuggery, mascot intimidation factor ...).
I wince when Michigan welcomes various MAC teams to Michigan Stadium, the PA announcer offers whatever sacrificial lamb we've imported a warm welcome, and in response the crowd viciously boos. I am despondent when I'm standing up during a timeout and someone asks me to sit down. I've honestly considered bitching out old ladies who say things like "we'll leave after the band plays." But I really like it when we're told that we're the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America. And I love the Michigan wave, which has to be the most gloriously complicated wave anywhere on the planet.
I guess what I'm going for is a sense of fervent community fandom that isn't coupled with total unbearability. Michigan is middling in this respect, and that's unfortunate. So the following teams are a combination of respectful-yet-dangerously-insane fan passion, historic and current success, and a general impression of how fun being a fan of a said team would be. Teams like USC and Miami with their fairweather fans come nowhere near this list despite their success. Teams like West Virginia and Ohio State that accompany their passion with violence and bags of urine are also off the list. I also try to shy away from teams with vast NCAA troubles where I can and skew heavily towards tradition. In no particular order:
- Alabama: The archetype, save for the distasteful NCAA sanctions.
- Iowa: Historically quite successful under Fry and now under Ferentz. Fans are maniacal and classy. Sorry about those pass interference calls.
- Texas A&M: Yes, practicing your cheers does have great appeal to me. The 12th Man embodies the spirit of the crowd.
- Florida: has been as whistle-clean as SEC programs get; I am developing an EDSBS-level Spurrier mancrush; I wore jean-shorts as a child; the Swamp has a rep for a reason.
- LSU: Howling maelstrom.
With regard to Question #1, what is the most damaging criticism of your program that you will admit is a legitimate criticism? That is, what negative trait does the most damage to the overall respect level of your program (in your eyes, or to others, interpret as you will).
That you-always-lose-Rose-Bowls thing drives me absolutely mad because it's true. Our record there is dismal and has ruined many an otherwise standout year. Even more maddening was that stretch during the 90s were the Pac 10 was awful, awful, awful and we were busy pissing away games to Illinois and Northwestern and such, watching Wisconsin draw Stanford or whatever. I'll take a cheapie at this point.
3. Unrelated Discussion Question
Who do you think is the best player in the history of your program? Tell us a little about him (especially if he's not a household name). Feel free to pick someone from 50 years ago that none of us has seen play.
Well, you've got your Woodson. He's a cornerback; he won the Heisman. There is no other answer. Except Anthony Carter, who singlehandedly changed the way Michigan thought about football. Sort of.
But wait! What of Tom Harmon? Harmon, who you can see above, won the Heisman, cured polio, and once played all eleven positions on the same play. Not to mention that his genetic code eventually produced
Angie Harmon Kelly Harmon (whoops) down the line. And then you've got the whole bomber/WWII thing:
Not satisfied with destroying the midwest, Harmon's next target was an entire continent:
Early in 1943, Harmon parachuted when his plane went down in a tropical storm in South America. He lived through one of the great man-against-nature survival stories. In a vast, virtually unexplored rain forest, armed with a machete and a compass, he headed east to the Atlantic coast on what was to be the greatest "run" of his career. Four days and fifty nightmare miles later, he stumbled into a clearning in Dutch Guina. "I had nothing to eat and little to drink even with all that rain," Harmon said. "I was afraid bad water would sicken me. If my strength went, I would die."
Did this deter him? Not so much. He was so scared of this experience that he immediately did it again:
Later that year, Harmon bailed out again. In a battle with Japanese Zeros over Chungking, China, his P-38 fighter took a fatal hit. But Harmon made it back, thanks to the Chinese underground. "If you didn't have religion before the war, you did then" Harmon wrote in his book "Pilots Also Pray." For his war efforts "Ole 98" received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
So maybe he's not a great pilot, but he could kill you with his bare teeth, and he died in 1990. Don't eff with Tom Harmon.
BIG TEN = PWN3D
OHIO STATE = PWN3D
VAST, VIRTUALLY UNEXPLORED JUNGLE = PWN3D
CHINA = PWN3D
HITLER = PWN3D