"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
Ghost of Bo
ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) -
University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon unveiled a brand new look for the Wolverines football team in preparation for their January 3rd Sugar Bowl appearance against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The announcement caused a firestorm of controversy amongst boosters, university officials, and unemployed arm-chair blog-critics alike.
The audacious uniform design features a University of Michigan student known in fan circles as Lloyd Brady. Brady is screen-printed prominently above the familiar block M logo, holding a spoonful of sugar in rapturous delight to celebrate Michigan's BCS berth.
Ryan VanBergen models the new Wolverines designs and pensively contemplates suicide.
"This is all about extending the Michigan brand," said Brandon in front of an assembly of visibly shocked press correspondants and fans. "Lloyd Brady is an emblem of the plugged-in, 24/7 blogosphere. We worked hand-in-hand with Adidas to make sure he is presented in full splendor. These uniforms harken back to the great traditions of the past while looking forward, boldly, to the coming day when the tail of internet fandom will inevitably wag the dog."
When asked how the idea began, Brandon detailed a wild night of inspiration. "Well, the nebula of the idea started one evening at a local bar with Jim Brandstatter. Beers led to shots, shots led to harder stuff, and, well... Let's just say cocaine played a role. Jim was keyed up, to say the least. Rambling on about Michigan Replay, about how the spread offense was really an outgrowth of the homosexual agenda... lots of wild ideas. I saw his white, powdery mustache and made a comment about how apropos it looked in light of our sugar bowl appearance. Once we got on the subject of sugar, the rest is history."
From there, a team of over three-hundred Adidas designers set to work creating a Sugar Bowl uniform worthy of the annals of Michigan history. "I think, clearly, we're entering a new era in sportswear," said Marty Tisdale, senior game apparel supervisor at Adidas. "The front of the uniform makes a bold statement. This isn't your father's Michigan Wolverines, no way. This uniform is the sportswear equivalent of social media - it gets people talking. In fact, the uniforms are outfitted with smart chips and keypads sewn into the fabric. During timeouts, players can tweet messages, via voice recognition, to fans in real-time with the push of a button."
The eye-catching uniform backsides are sure to turn heads on Jan. 3rd.
"The front of the uniform is really the tip of the iceberg," said Tisdale. "The backside is where we really pushed the envelope. The forty-two block M's on the back represent Michigan's forty-two Big Ten championships. As you can also see, we've tastefully adorned the uniform with a ghost-twill, sweat-wicking logo decal of our marketing partners, Domino Sugar. We hope the fans will appreciate the surprising blend of unrestrained whimsy and soul-crushing corporate fellatio."
When asked what he thought of the design, head coach Brady Hoke muttered something indistinct, then caught Brandon's stern gaze. He then offered, rather half-heartedly, "Well, you know, I think they're... tremendous."
The only coach who didn't seem on-board with the design was offensive coordinator Al Borges, who missed the press conference. He walked into the Schembechler Hall after his lunch break, took one look at the uniform concept, and turned away. After minutes of staring blankly out into the distance, hands in pockets, he said, "What have we done? God in heaven, what have we done?"
Brandon pays no mind to criticism, however. "The future is a scary thing to some people. I mean, think of the first facemasks. At the time, the guys wearing them looked pretty faggy. These are the next step in that evolution."
If Wolverine fans are unhappy with the Sugar Bowl uniforms, they can take heart; they are not permanent. Brandon also announced plans to wear different uniforms for each and every game next season, a total of twelve unique Adidas Tech-Fit designs. "Right now we're experimenting with different looks. Brandstatter and I like black-on-black, maize-on-maize, really eye-catching stuff." Then, with a furtive snort from a rolled hundred-dollar bill, Brandon added, "And of course, there's always white-on-white."
[ed-Seth: A short bump ago, in a board post not far away...]
OPENING CRAWL: It has been a dark era for the Michigan Wolverines. The EVIL BUCKEMPIRE has strengthened its grip in the unending galactic rivalry. Since 2003, the rebels from Ann Arbor have failed in their attempts to foil the evil that rages from the Ohio sector.
In the midst of chaos, a young man lives out his mundane life in south Florida, completely unaware that his destiny lies in a cold land far, far away...
Denard Robinson gazes at the twin suns setting on Deerfield Beach. He ponders his football future. Who will recruit him? Will he ever get the chance to play quarterback, or will he be forced to play slot receiver in the SEC? At the height of his confusion, an unlikely sage happens upon his humble Floridian hamlet...
Who was this strange man in the cloak? Was he here to sell snake oil? Perhaps another huckster hoping to sell Denard on the virtues of becoming the next Devin Hester? Denard regarded this strange man with suspicion; yet there was something mysterious about him.
Slowly, Denard learned that his powers may be of use to some greater cause. In fact, should he learn 'the ways of the spread', he could become a powerful agent for good in the Big Ten Sector, where the great Civil War had been raging. Regional governors like Grand Moff Tressel have taken control, seizing Rose Bowl bids while the Rebellion lay in ruins. Denard slowly warmed up to the notion, but what finally sold him were the immortal words of Jedi Master Rodriguez... "Denard," he said, his eyes pleading, "Our helmet's got wings." From that moment, Denard's fate was sealed.
Under Master Rod's tutelage, Denard learned the vagaries of the spread and the great power it wielded. He flourished - his technique and natural instincts were unsurpassed by any who came before him. However, in a chilling example of Jedi Council infighting, Master Brandon struck down Master Rod before Denard could finish his training. He felt lost, completely rudderless and out to sea. He was not ready to face his nemesis, yet he lacked any means of discovering his true powers. Disquieting weeks followed until a new master, a New Hoke, brought a staff to Ann Arbor capable of releasing Denard's true potential.
Denard immediately began training in earnest. "You must let go of the spread, Denard..." said Master Borges, riding atop his back in the sweltering heat of Al Glick Fieldhouse. Denard faced many temptations (possible transfers, interceptions, and the like), but it was the steadfast support of his biggest fan that kept him committed to excellence. At last, he felt prepared to fire the shot heard 'round the country...
Meanwhile in their Death Star hovering over metropolitan Columbus, Darth Fickell and Emporer Meyer plotted the young man's destruction. "Force him to pass, Lord Fickell..." said Urban. "His inaccuracy will be his undoing. I'm afraid he'll find our secondary quite.. OPERATIONAL when we arrive in Ann Arbor." Darth Fickell cackled knowingly and said "yes, yes...", for 'yes' was the only word he knew.
The night before the showdown, Lord Hoke briefed the Wolverine pilots on the attack plan. It would be complex, a mix of spread and pro-style elements combined. Shaking his head in disbelief, young Devin Gardner said, "There's no way we can fit it into throwing lanes that small. It's impossible, even for a computer." Denard just smiled his bright, knowing smile... "It's not impossible! I used to bullseye patterns like that back in Deerfield Beach, and they're not much bigger than two meters." Brady looked upon his quarterback with complete pride and confidence; he had become a master in his own right.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2011: It's go time. Denard leads the Wolverine convoy into battle over the skies of Ann Arbor. In the distance, he saw the hovering monolith that was the Buckeye-shaped Death Star. He kicked his engine into overdrive, employing the quasi-pro-style Borges techniques to a tee. The battle raged on, with many casualties on both sides.
"Lord Fickell," said Emporer Meyer, watching the proceedings from the comfort of a luxury box. "You must handle this young one yourself. TO YOUR SHIP, FICKELL!"
"Yes, yes!" came the reply, as Fickell trudged down the hall to his ship, occasionally bumping into walls/inanimate objects.
Fickell was hot on young Robinson's tail, breathing the fumes of his modified Buckeye Fighter's sublight engines. Ohio was ahead, with only two minutes until the Death Star would be in-range of Ann Arbor and her noble citizens. Things began to look bleak as Fickell peppered young Denard with laser blasts across his hull. "Yes, yes..." Fickell howled.
At the height of the madness, with only seconds remaining, Borges called a pass play in the red zone... Denard hesitated for a moment, knowing the play would not work. He simply wasn't a pocket passer... He needed to reach deeply into the force and discover its will. Suddenly, a voice from the past rang out to him. "Close your eyes, Denard," the familiar voice whispered in its southern twang. "Let go. Use the spread, Denard." Without thinking, Denard called up his last reserves of energy, using evasive maneuvers to deftly dodge Fickell's blasts. At last, he could see the Death Star's exhaust port.
VICTORY! VICTORY! VICTORY! The combined sounds of liberty and glory drowned out the sobs of the cursed state of Ohio. Denard had done it. From the desolate sands of Deerfield Beach, he had followed his destiny and finally realized his true purpose... To unseat the Buckeyes from their throne of power.
After the battle, Denard and Hoke were honored for their valor. And while Denard loved Coach Hoke and was certain of the Rebellion's bright future, he couldn't help but think back to the strange Master who brought him to Ann Arbor to begin with, who had opened his eyes to a new world.
Before Denard appeared a holy sight, the beautiful marriage of past, present, and future. The glory of the Force spread out before him like a brightly-spangled mosaic... He had become, once and for all, a Michigan Legend.