Well, had you guaranteed me my beloved Maize and Blue would be 5-2 after the first 7 games, I would have signed on the dotted line. That would have meant a 2-1 result through UConn, ND and MSU – because believe me, at no point did I expect a win against Iowa. I’d be surprised if many of us had expected better than 5-2 at this point. And after 7 games, though a mixed blessing, we should all recognize that this year’s version of the Wolverines are exactly what many of us thought they’d be: improved on offense, unbearably young on defense.
It’s amazing what happens along the journey though: a lightening quick Sophomore gives you hope beyond reason by doing in 5 games what few others could accomplish in 10 and a suspect defense stops what many expected to be a top tier running game in the opener.
And suddenly, irrational emotions take over as visions of 10 or more wins replaced what we all knew to be true – 8-4 would be both a good step forward and likely a best case outcome.
Without memory of our August expectations, we’ve experienced 2 games we should have seen coming, but none-the-less: our lightening fast savior finally played like a Sophomore with only 5 starts to his name, our defense made spirited stops at times but couldn’t do it with consistency or when it mattered most, and our highly efficient offense gave the ball away 7 times.
Now our emotion has reared its ugly head in how many of us are responding, as we jump off cliffs: the offense is flawed, the defense is worse than anticipated and regressing and now every team in the Big Ten will torch us. To top it off, we’re looking for someone to blame for pushing us; Robinson, Rodriguez, anybody, because someone has to pay for our inflated expectations.
Two years ago, we were in some games for a half, then just blown away. Last year, it became a couple plays here, a couple plays there and we win a few more. For contrast, last week, we were two offensive mistakes from leading 14-0. And we can only speculate how crippling Lewan’s 1st quarter personal foul may have been this week, but despite playing as poorly as the team did, they were still very much alive in the 4th, and moved up and down the field on one of the best defenses in the country. Does that mean we should, would or could have one of the two games? Not sure, and it doesn’t matter.
What matters is this – this is your team, to encourage, to cheer, and to support. These are young men who appear to be representing the university with far greater class than some of us. And this team deserves our passion for them to succeed, without our inflated expectations for what we think they should be.
Here’s to win #6 in 2 weeks. Go Blue!