I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
First, I think we have to tip out hats to Purdue. They fought hard (as did we). That onside kick call was brilliant and took some stones to do it. Purdue made more big plays than we did and that's why they beat us.
Second, despite the loss, we did look better overall than we did the past several weeks. Yes, there were many horrible mental mistakes on defense (anyone surprised?), but there were some positive signs, too. The offense continues to gel, Tate continues to gain confidence and cut back on some (but not all) of his mistakes, and it was good to see our young receivers making crucial plays.
Third, RichRod was wrong not to kick the field goal on 4th and 10. And not in hindsight - it was wrong no matter the result. Hopefully he learns from that mistake and won't do it again.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly in the current "climate," regarding RichRod: It's pointless right now to talk about his future with the program. He's not getting fired anytime soon. He is what we have. Our confidence in him has been rattled, but it will be largely up to him whether we can turn things around. I hope he succeeds and will be cheering hard for him to do so.
[EDIT: I wrote this before I heard about Danny Hope's dick move after the game (discussed in the comments). While I still tip my hat to Purdue's outplaying us, I'm sure the team and RichRod will remember that gesture when preparing for our next game with them. And I believe RichRod will show more class than that we he gives his payback.]
I've lived all over the country: the West Coast, the East Coast, the South, the Northeast, the Midwest a few times (including my stint in Ann Arbor), so I know about that of which I speak. I've been in Boston for the last 4 years, which has a climate similar to Ann Arbor.
I used to complain about the winters, but not any more. The cold is really not that bad. Get a good coat with a hood. Dress in layers. Get some boots. For lack of a better phrase, be a man about it.
The cold is at most a minor inconvenience when you consider all the upsides of living in the North. Though it's a clique, the change of seasons IS spectacular. There is a rhythm to the dying leaves and then barren trees and then splashes of green returning with spring. Maybe even better than that is the snow. The snow this year has had an other-worldly beauty to it. At night, it sparkles from the street lights as you walk by. I can think of no more peaceful setting than walking through snowflakes quietly drifting down.
I'm sure SEC coaches talk about how miserable the cold can be in the Big Ten. I'm sure Pete Carroll talks about the fun and sun in So Cal. And maybe cruising "the strip" in Gainesville in the middle February is what you seek. But I for one chose Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. I chose the Law Quad in the fall and a jog through the Arb on a crisp winter morning. And I'm better for it.
So, I saw something ridiculous tonight and was in a sharing mood (i.e., looking for a way to avoid being productive). Hence this post. First of all, I want to say that I can't stand the over-the-top, cheesy NBA-style game introductions with the smoke machines, overly-dramatic videos, and either techno music or ACDC style rock. We're here to watch a friggin athletic competition. This isn't professional wrestling.
Anyway, because I'm in Boston and don't have BTN, I was unable to witness our routine pounding by the hands of OSU, and instead opted for Duke vs Wake Forest. By the way, I've always hated Duke - not quite sure why - they seem like a lot of good kids playing out there - but recently I've kind of been pulling for them ever since we beat them. But I digress.
The whole point of my post that I'm meandering to is to talk about Wake Forest's pregame ritual. It starts off like the typical cheesy intro - the flashing lights, Guns 'N Roses, etc. But then a really great moment occurs. The Demon Deacon mascot revs up a motorcycle and takes it onto the court. However, he apparently is not allowed to actually "ride" the motorcycle on the court. Instead, he has to waddle about, pushing the motorcycle with his feet on the ground. Perhaps my description doesn't do it justice, but you have to imagine - the roaring crowd, Guns N Roses, the motorcycle engine revving - and then this awkward-looking mascot having to push his way around like an adult on a kid's bike where his legs are too long to reach the pedals. It's really high comedy. This is supposed to scare Duke? This is supposed to get people excited?
So, I don't know whether that's funny or not, but I've already written it, so I might as well post it. I would apologize for wasting your time, but if you're reading Diaries on Mgoblog, you're probably looking to kill some time anyway. See ya on the flip side.
I am a contrarian. Always have been and always will be. Consider that we live in a country that elected Dubya twice, and it's not surprising that the general public can be way off base time after time.
Warren Buffett says to be greedy when others are fearful, and he, like myself, is buying stock these days. Whenever I hear the pundits raving about the Great Depression Part Deux and see downward facing red arrows running rampant, I pull out my wallet again. Right now, my Ameritrade account is looking pretty grim. A year or so from now, that won't be the case.
I'm sure it's not difficult to see where I'm headed with this. After Toledo, we were bombarded with headlines about people calling for Rodriguez's head and "first MAC loss ever" and "what happened to Michigan football?" Even our intrepid leader Brian Cook was formulating his plan to build a bomb shelter. But in the words of the immortal Lee Corso, as "acronymized" by Brian, NSFMF. Let's consider last week's embarrassment one more time. Take away the early pick-six - a small mistake with a drastic consequence - and we probably maintain a one to two possession lead the entire game. Not that we should just dismiss that interception outright - it certainly indicates our QB's penchant for brain farts - but we should rest assured that most of his inevitable future mistakes will not lead to immediate 14 point shifts. Further, if Lopata makes that field goal to tie, there's a good chance we win in OT, which would change "the sky is falling" to "Michigan has a close call."
We are now seeing Michigan as a twenty to thirty point dog in some future games. I submit that, but for a few fluke occurrences, these spreads would be half of that. Now I certainly am not saying that we're going to beat Penn State or even that the game will be close. What I'm saying is that the perception of Michigan as being the equivalent of a mid-level MAC school is inaccurate. Have we forgotten the second half domination of Wisconsin? I believe this team still has it in them to play solid football and to be competitive with just about any team in the country. When this team will start to click, no one knows. But mark my words - it will happen this season. There are more wins remaining for Michigan in 2008. Maybe even some big ones...