Or, since you only have one house, a pox on yours twice.
We’re back. No need to thank us.
Henri, I’m not sure we’re welcome here anymore…
In case you missed Part One, we’re on the quest for the ultimate low point of the Michigan sports fan in recent history. I’ll present you with the terrible moment/period/whatever, as well as an argument or two in favor of it being the worst moment, and an argument or two for it not being as bad as you remember. I’ll also include the flip-side of the karma coin; if the ennui moment was the Yin, I’ll try to look on the bright side of life by finding the Yang.
We’re looking at the period starting in the 1990’s until today. We already looked at the ultimate killer dong-blows, as well as the I-coulda-been-a-contenda moments. Today, we consider the generally miserable experiences in the Well That Was Unpleasant Region, as well as the catch-all General FML Region. Read this, then vote HERE.
You’ll be happy to know that this will be the final front page of this here series. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the bracket in the Twitterverse posts in the coming weeks.
Again, remember to vote your pain here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PN9LXST
[For the protection of the childrens, all the gore after the jump].
Duck Duck Goosed - Any hopes that the App State debacle was a fluke were pretty well dashed the very next week when Dennis Dixon and Oregon came to town. Just like the previous week, Michigan took a 7-0 lead, which was great until Oregon executed an uninterrupted 39 point murder-death-kill.
(Side note: this is one of the reasons you don’t hold a wedding on a football Saturday. Under the right circumstances, a reception guest will drown his football-related sorrows in enough gin and tonic to kill a grown rhinoceros. Sorry, brother- and sister-in-law, but I’m not sorry)
Trash Tornado - Brady Hoke had arrived as if delivered by a bolt of lightning, and (like his predecessor) had started the season on a tear, only to face a windy trashy hell in East Lansing. William Gholston went all Gholston, Denard got knocked out, and Michigan lost 28-14 while gaining only 250 yards.
Quit hitting yourself - As with much of the RichRod era, we have to lump some stuff together to avoid flooding the bracket. In this case, we’ll just consider the entire ’08 football season as one entity. Any boy howdy, what a craptastic entity. Take in the first 90 seconds or so of this video, and remember the agony.
Meet the new Breslin, same as the old Breslin - Michigan came into Breslin on the heels of games against Indiana, OSU, and Wisconsin (the latter being the Ben Brust dong-punch), and didn’t seem to bring much oomph into this one. So despite being the #4 team in the country, they spent most of the game being beaten on or about the head by a fired-up Sparty.
I’m starting to think this isn’t going to work - Michigan carried a 7-3 record and a sliver of hope for the RichRod Experiment into its last two games of the season, which they promptly lost to Wisconsin (10,000 to 7) and Ohio State (6 billion to negative pi). They recovered in time to lose to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl ($Texas to HOLY HELL ITS CHRIS RELF NOT TOM F***ING BRADY). And thus ended the 3 year Smutnoye Vremya. Fortunately the new guy is rumored to be pretty good.
Sad RoboHenne – The year that started with The Horror ended in a very different, but similarly blerging game. The weather was cold, wet, and crappy. Chad Henner was basically a quarterback-shaped pile of pinball machine parts. And thus ended the 40 year Glückliche Zeit. Fortunately the new guy is rumored to be pretty good.
Sparty NOOO’d – Take one National Championship Michigan State team, one middling Michigan team, and one Senior Day at Breslin, and you’re gonna have a bad time. And I would qualify 114-63 as a bad time.
Rolled by the Tide – There was a flickering hope before the start of the ‘12 football season that Alabama had lost too much talent to maintain its recent dominance. That hope lasted all of one quarter.
The Horror – The tournament’s overall #1 seed. You are familiar with this game. It was not a positive experience.
Beat(en by) Ohio - Michigan was in the running for a two-seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament until the last week or so, and they slid to a four-seed and a matchup with 13-seed Ohio. Which was all well and good, until the Bobcats turned out to not suck, and Michigan went home early.
Believe it or not, YouTube has largely forgotten this event. Click HERE to re-live it.
You didn’t click the link. We’re waiting for you.
We have all day. Click the link. What, are you afraid of your feelings?
Ed Martin – If you aren’t familiar with this scandal, (a) you should probably watch the Fab Five documentary, and (b) tell us about life in the swamps of Dagobah. In any case, booster/friend of the program/general ne’er-do-well Ed Martin gave over $600,000 to Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor, and Louis Bullock. Michigan had to vacate several years worth of wins, including the 1992 and 1993 Final Four appearances. They suffered a brief postseason ban and a probation that threatened to make #5 on our countdown a bigger deal than it was. The banners which were once up are now down.
Oh yes they called it The Streak – Michigan Hockey had been to the NCAA Tournament so many consecutive times that The Streak was old enough to legally drink (assuming alcohol consumption rules are the same for tournament appearance streaks as they are for humans). Twenty one straight years Michigan hockey went to the Big Ice Dance, until the 2012-13 season. The team put up a thoroughly uninspiring three months of hockey, followed by an encouraging but ill-fated late-season run that fell short.
RichRod – The football was bad enough, but part and parcel was the rift created by Rodriguez’ tenure. The Michigan Man debate within Michigan circles. Josh Grobin. The #1 jersey debate. The clash of cultures. Gerg’s fuzzy beaver. Three and Out. Josh Grobin. Some of it was Rodriguez. Some of it was a fanbase unwilling or unable to accept change. Some of it was Josh Grobin. But all told, it did not raise anyone up.
Toledo – I know we considered the ‘08 season as a whole already. And I know we JUST talked about RichRod. But the Toledo game deserves special mention. Coming in, Michigan had beaten 8,000 consecutive MAC teams. The defense held Toledo to six points, and they STILL lost to a bad MAC team.
Desmond Down – Michigan was the #1 team in the country in 1990 when Michigan State came to the Big House. Michigan was trailing by seven late in the game, but they scored to pull within a point. This taking place before the time of overtime, Michigan decided to go for two to win the game outright. Desmond Howard, lined up slot left, made a great move to get open on a slant, and Elvis Grbac put the ball on the money. MSU corner Eddie Brown, knowing he was beaten, tripped Howard and caused him to drop the ball. State won, and Michigan never really recovered that season.
Stretchgate – Right before the 2009 season kicked off, the Detroit Free Press released a scathing report documenting the illegal diamond mining operation being run out of Schembechler Hall. Players were being made to practice for upwards of 12 hours, much of which was ‘off the books.’ The NCAA investigated, and it turned out that Michigan HAD exceeded practice time limits. By 15 minutes. Because they didn’t count stretching. In my mind, they got put on NCAA probation for doing this too many times:
Whew. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Or, since you only have one house, a pox on yours twice.
Surprised to see the block in the NCG omitted. I guess we still would have been far from sealing a victory, and despite it could have won...but man that was a tough sports moment.
Until their QB went down, I am convinced Oregon was the best team in the country in '07. I wonder if Oregon fans feel that way.
As someone who knows several Oregon fans, I can assure you that "Dennis Dixon's ACL" would be in the finals of their Ultimate Ennui Showdown against Michael Dyer's knee.
Totally agree. Oregon was the best team in America until Dennis Dixon tore his ACL all the way and missed the rest of the season.
I will always be an RR apologist, but damn that pic is hilarious.
"Son, sometimes life just hands you aFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUUUUUUUUUUUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!!!!!
Don't tell your mother..."
but for some reason I had to see what was next...
I was at that game, sitting right on the goal line, about 14 rows up. We had National Championship aspirations that year, that were dashed due to referee incompetence/malpractice. I wandered the streets of Ann Arbor for a good three hours after that game, mumbling incoherently. Several times, I yelled at random passersby, "THEY TACKLED HIM IN THE ENDZONE!"
The Illinois game where Roundtree got tackled at the one should have been an entry.
It was in the first round and lost.
Where were the results posted?
I clicked the jump and read the entire thing. I'm sad now. I don't know what else I expected.
You know how they say "Someday we'll all look back on this and laugh?" I'm not sure I'll ever get there with the Rich Rod Experience.
P.S. What did the Toledo loss do to the selection committee to be seeded so low?
Not sure if you mean the Toledo loss should be a better seed or not included at all? But in terms of innui, that game was one of the most frustrating games I've seen. We could do absolutely nothing against a MAC team. It almost felt like we were getting toyed with.
Living in south west ohio I think the worst part were the jokes. The fact they were told to me at church makes it worse. Since we are wallowing, I might as well share:
How many batteries does it take to shock Michigan?
Did you hear Michigan was late for the OSU game?
They could not get through Toledo.
/Feels better for sharing. gets up from couch.
this was horrible, probably the worst thing i've read in a long time.
ok, worst SPORTS post.
I remember being sent this picture after The Horror:
I don't think I've ever seen a more depressing sequence of tags on a piece here.
I know you have "the whole '08 season" on here, but I think the fandom endurance game against NW in '08 deserves special mention.
I was at that game and The Horror. NW was a worse experience. Less momentous sure. But throughout The Horror, you at least thought Michigan would pull it out in the end. It was a shock, a bad joke. Anger. Didn't really sink in till later.
NW, on the other hand, was true ennui. A pit of utter despair. The long trudge to the stadium knowing the game was meaningless. Having a glimmer of hope you knew was misplaced. Seeing two utterly awful football teams flail at each other for three hours but knowing you never had a chance, because threetsheridammit. And oh yeah, the freezing cold and non stop rain. I stayed the whole time because it was my last home game as a student. And I have never been more miserable as a fan.
I think i caught pnuemonia that game. Or maybe it was depression.
Dammit now I'm remembering that game more. Yes, it definitely deserves it's own spot in this bracket. Much more deserving than the Toledo game. Toledo was just The Horror-lite. I was already immune. It was like being in a fender bender after you already survived a plane crash. I could tell myself "well, there were always going to be growing pains, and 2007 turned out tolerable in the end".
But NW. Uggggggghhhhhhh.
It turned out I was just really bored.
I graduated in the spring and moved to Chicago in the summer. I didn't even bother watching the first half of the Horror. I went to Duffy's at halftime (first of many epic blackouts) and numerous doctors and lawyers (read old people to me at the time) were just screaming in rage. After we missed the kick, the bar went completely silent. I have never seen anything like that before or since.
Happy Thursday Everybody!!!
I was at that Oregon blowout back in 2007. Of the four or five total games I have seen in person, that one was the most memorable, in a "well this sucks" kind of way.
Who's really at fault?
Some of it was Rodriguez. Some of it was a fanbase unwilling or unable to accept change.
Yeah, it was pretty much all the fanbase.
I really can't get this type of thinking. Even though I had lost pretty much all confidence in RR's leadership by the end of 2010, I still made the trip to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. Only to watch our team, after having had a month to prepare, show zero improvement, get destroyed, and look completely ridiculous. So yes, it is because of the fanbase that Rich Rod failed at Michigan.
Unless, of course, the "accept change" you're talking about is going from being a team that had 35 consecutive winning seasons to... not being a team that had winning seasons. Then yes, some of us were unwilling or unable to accept that change.
Here we go again . . .
If you were a part of the fanbase that:
Then, yeah, you were part of the problem. Not ALL of it, but a part. Boiling it all down to just results on the field in 2010 is being a bit disingenuous.
The big problem is that while Rodriguez is gone, the psychology that tore apart the U of M fanbase still exists. Until we're able to move past the insular notion that only "Michigan Men" should coach Michigan, we're still going to be vulnerable to the kind of soul-crushing infighting that made the Rodriguez years so unpleasant.
• Ignored the fact that Michigan only started paying for assistant coaching talent after the RichRod years illustrated how important it was to do so and just heaped praise on Hoke for "good hires"The segment of our fan base that runs this argument out is no better than the one you're attacking. Bo, Moeller, and Carr all won a ton of games despite being hampered by the same lack of funds. Hoke gets to pay Mattison. But where were Rich's Herrmanns and Englishes? Instead, his staff was dreadful. They deserved their own Profiles in Cronyism posts.
Well, adding Bo and Moeller into this equation is a bit of a strawman argument because in the 70's and 80's nobody paid big money for assistant coaches. In Lloyd's case, I think we would've benefited from paying better wages to attract a higher caliber of coach. The fact that Lloyd's coaching tree has so few branches I think illustrates the fact that he didn't have the highest level of coaching talent on his staff. You can talk about all the games that he won in his time at Michigan, and it looks very good in hindsight of the Rodriguez years, but when Lloyd retired, very few thought we had been meeting our potential as a program the past 6 or 7 years.
Rich had his DC in mind when he came here and we wouldn't shell out the additional $25K or whatever the amount was to secure Casteel, but Hoke gets support to the tune of $750K to hire one of the best defensive minds in football and he's praised as a genius for "recruiting" him back Ann Arbor.
As for Rich's alternate choices, I can't defend him on that point. He did a bad job hiring Shafer and GERG and keeping Tony Gibson on staff is indefensible. There's no guarantee that Casteel would've been the answer to all our problems defensively, but the bottom line is that Rodriguez wasn't allowed to pay for his guy.
Let's be fair, Lloyd had his crony's too. Mike DeBord was a mediocre OC at best but he was Lloyd's guy much in the same way Gibson was Rich's.
And was almost never among the highest paid coaches. When the staff got here they complained and thought the facilities were better at Miami (NTM). The idea that "it was an honor to work at Michigan and it is its own reward," i.e. being cheap, didn't start with Rich.
Lloyd had a guy named Mattison on his staff who left because, guess what, Notre Dame offered him better money and a better package. Your comment on whether we were meeting are potential or not is the strawman, because his point was that under the same fiscial guidelines we were still able to achieve to that level, high enough or no, which was a lot higher than after. Lloyd may have had his cronies, but he didn't have a whole defensive staff of them (who undermined any coordinator that came in).
The Casteel money thing is overblown too. He didn't want to move his family, saw himself as next in line at West Virginia (with a coach getting up there in years), and when he was passed over for another young coach he left to go to Arizona....for less money. If you're willing to go to Arizona for less money but not Michigan, it's probably not about the money.
The Casteel thing could certainly be overblown, but it doesn't change the fact that Hoke got major budget to fill out his coaching ranks and Rodriguez didn't and ignoring that as a factor in how the two staffs performed is leaving out a big variable. If we ponied up $750K in 2009 to get Mattison to coach Rodriguez's defense and IF the two could co-exist, we'd probably be having a bunch of threads about whether Denard Robinson is the greatest Wolverine Heisman winner.
A Rodriguez / McGee offense and a Mattison defense. Now that's a Michigan team that I'd love to see on the field.
It wouldn't be better for Michigan to pay assistant coaches more under Rich. Just that we didn't do it before, and still managed to win 8, 9, 10 games a year. It would have been better to pay coaches back then too. How would have the last 6-7 years of Lloyd you complain about have been if we had ponied up and paid Mattison to stay rather than let him leave for Notre Dame? (He never left a place for a head coaching job). Maybe those 8, 9, 10 wins become 9, 10, 11, 12. But even without him they weren't 3, 5, and 7, and that was his point.
I don't want to turn this into another RR flamewar, but even removing Bo and Moeller from the discussion (not that I think your argument holds any water but because I don't need them to make mine), Lloyd -- Debord and all -- had a record that was orders of magnitude better than Rich's. And he did this without spending much on assistants. I don't think thus can be doubted. In fact, I don't think your post even tried to.
And I don't think you're giving Lloyd's assistant's enough credit. Most of them have gone on to have successful NFL careers. Malone, Moeller, Herrmann, Sheridan, Austin, etc. None of them became head coaches, but football men think enough of them to hire them.
As for Debord, I agree. Debord was a crony. I never thought much of him as OC. Still, I think there is a strong case to be made that even Debord was a better coordinator than Greg Robinson, or even Tony Shaffer.
As for Lloyd underperforming, eh. He had a great 2006. I wanted him to beat Ohio more, certainly, but I am damn glad he never stooped to Tressels tactics just to make us fans happy. Its tough to beat cheaters.
I loved Lloyd, but even I wanted him out after the Horror. Still, I don't think he underperformed for 6-7 years. His record in his last 7 years was 64-24 (73%) with 2 B1G titles and that wonderful 2006 that fell just short. For the record, out of those 7 years 3 BCS champs were cheating (OSU, USC, Auburn) and Bama oversigns like crazy, so if that is the level you expect Michigan to win at, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
It wasn't my intention to have this devolve into a Rodriguez flamewar either. The real point I was trying to illustrate is that a divided, squabbling fanbase negatively effects a football program. The folks who look at the 2008-2010 years and dismiss it as all being Rich's fault are kidding themselves, and the bad news is that the psychology that lead to that ugliness during those years is still there.
Everything is great with Hoke because he's winnng, pushing the right buttons, and he's a "Michigan Man", but if you think we can't sink back into that morass of infighting, you're dead wrong. Brady's already in his mid-50's and he's got probably a good 10-12 years before it will be time for him to step down. Right now his coaching tree is pretty thin and not likely to get larger since his top guys are veteran coaches who are closing in on their retirement. There's time for Hoke to eventually groom an heir apparents to his position, but we could also easily be in the same spot by the early 2020's that we were in 2008...searching for the next leader and having the same petty arguments about what makes a coach a "Michigan Man".
I think it's kind of ridiculous to suggest that the fanbase is any part of the problem. Fans don't hire and fire coaches. Athletic directors do. Fans can cry, bitch, and moan all they want, but it doesn't make a lick of difference in the grand scheme of things.
The fact that some Michigan fans were unhappy with Rodriguez's decisions had no bearing on what he did on the field. (Or at least it shouldn't have.) "I want to win, but the fans won't let me!" Sorry, dude, but that's absolutely absurd.
I will say this: I never hated Rodriguez, but I wasn't sad to see him go. Like many Michigan fans, I desperately wanted him to succeed because that's always better than going back to the drawing board. But when a head coach makes bad decisions and doesn't live up to expectations, then he has to go. That's just how it is at big programs.
Regarding "Michigan Men," I don't know why so many people hate this idea. It's like they think "Michigan Man" directly means Mike DeBord instead of Hoke, Harbaugh, or Miles. Personally, I don't think you necessarily have to have been a coach at Michigan to qualify as a Michigan Man, but you do have to know what the fuck you're doing and be inclusive rather than divisive. When Bo came in he let it be known how important the Ohio game was. He didn't say "I don't need to talk about that. If I need to get my players ready for Ohio State" blah blah blah. You're the head coach. You've got to do more for big games than just the weekly generic inspiration speech of STRAP IT OOONNNN.
I actually cried after that Desmond Howard tripping episode. So much frustration (and I was still only in middle school) and no outlet since I was watching at home. That game marked the solidification of my hatred for Sparty. For me, that event is going to challenge the highest ranking others (e.g., the Horror, the Hail Mary).
Oh, and I'm not a fan of yours, BiSB. Instant karma is gonna get you.
I was a sophmore at Michigan when I saw that game and I remember thinking after it was over that nothing would ever disappoint me or outrage me more than the end of that game.
Oh, how fucking naive I was....
Being a freshman in 2007, I attended like half this list. The Horror, Oregon, OSU '07, Toledo, all of 2008. And for good measure I was at the hockey tourney streak snapping game vs. ND this spring. Woo.
I remember when I first showed up on campus, people were like, "Dude, Michigan got Rodriguez! Your four years are going to be epic!"
My "Welcome to the Big House" Game turned out to be in August 2007, or September. I've blocked it out and won't look at a calendar to be more exact. That one hurt.
I need to relieve a complilation of "It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine" moments.
I was like, "well, I'm clicking on 'read more' because, you know, this is all part of Michigan history and we have to face it."
Well, EFF THAT. What a depressing entry. I stopped reading and won't be resuming. NEXT POST PLEASE
The soul dong, it is punched so many times...
I was in Ireland the week after the horror wearing my michigan shirts and people from both sides of the Altantic kept asking me about it - not fun.
I didn't wear Michigan stuff in public until after we beat ND. Then again I live in NC.
From bandcroft high err I mean univ of Toledo. I have little use for Toledo, but my accountant is from univ of Toledo and still reminds me of this game on a yearly basis during our annual tax prep mtg. I f'ing hate that year of football, and it set my mind against that coaching staff for its duration. Losing to Toledo was NOT an option that year or any year.
whatever happens in your impressionable years is what sticks to you.
Having survived the OSU beat-down of 1968, or, worse yet, the agonizing stretch of close losses (and one tie which might as well have been a loss) to OSU from 1972-75, everything else (above) seems endurable to me. And the yang is, of course, 3 wins in a row over OSU from 1976-8 and the ruination of OSU seasons in 1995-6. But the emptiness and sorrow never goes away.
but I know enough about it that I'll never feel bad for drubbing MSU ever again. Just rub it in every time we beat them, don't care