I was thinking about Urban Meyer yesterday, and today has only compounded those thoughts with every random article or thread post.
Urban Meyer. Ohio Head Coach.
No pressure there, right?
Here's a guy whose body couldn't handle the stress of the expectations he created at Florida, the expectations of greatness and regularly performing at champion-caliber football.
Today he'll arrive in Columbus as the most heralded man ever to set foot in that cesspool of a town, praised and worshipped for what every slack-jawed Buckeye native is absolutely certain he'll bring: National titles, and several of them, in as little time as possible.
"Jus' y'all wait 'n' see-- 'Rbin's gon' take US all da way!"
They are all telling us, ever since Saturday-- just wait. Just wait til Urban gets here. He's going to win so many dang football games they'll be saying 'Woody Who?'
Urban will do it. Urban can do anything.
And, interestingly enough, we haven't even learned of their fate from the NCAA. If the governing body of collegiate sports actually grows a set and gives these hooligans what they deserve, the noose will grow tighter as every diehard Buckeye swears that 'it won't matter, Urban will win it all for us anyway."
The demands that will be heaped on Urban Meyer will be as ludicrous as the boasts being proclaimed about him this very minute by every scarlet and gray "football fan." Every ridiculous thing we read about what he'll accomplish or what he'll do to us will add to the weight of what is expected of him.
And if he fails to meet those expectations... well, just ask Jim Bollman what those dedicated wagon jumpers are capable of saying.
Can he meet what is expected of him in Columbus?
Today he is the Scarlet and Gray messiah, and Heaven help him should he not be able to produce what the Senator did under a blanket of corruption and deceit. Heaven help him if he isn't able to walk on water they way an entire fan base is today testifying him as being capable of.
Stressful? Are you kidding me?
I guess, in short, my point is that for a man who feared for his own health enough to walk away from the stress in Gainesville... this is a very curious choice. The pressure on him is already mountains more than anything he'd ever sufffered in Florida.
I think he'll win, plenty. Yes, he may bring them a national championship. But I just can't see the guy there more than four or five years top.
It's amazing how fast life can change. What's happened in State College is an amazing reminder of how unstable even the most bedrock things in life really are.
That might sound ridiculous when we're talking about a mere football coach. But keep in mind that Bo coached for twenty years. Paterno's been a part of that program for almost fifty.
Watching all of this play out has been nothing short of a nightmare, even from someone like myself who is not a fan but has always respected and admired the football program if not directly supported it. These stories have not showed up as random links in college football tabs on my desktop, but rather on the front page of the paper that lies in my driveway every morning. What has seemed like an untouchable truth has crumbled around us in the blink of an eye.
Reading the SI articles today, it was amazing to see how they provided such a stark contrast of how Sandusky, Paterno, and ultimately Penn State football, was perceived for what seemed like eternity. For me, I grew up in the reality that grass was green, the sky is blue, and Joe Paterno is the respected football coach. I remember a wrestling coach who openly emulated him in every way. I remember entire towns cleaning up because Paterno may or may not be coming to visit a potential recruit. I was raised in a Penn State family. I have an uncle who is probably right now clearing signed footballs from his mantle. I have an aunt who used to babysit for the Paternos in the very house I watched on SportsCenter last night-- I've driven past it myself, and been amazed at how humble the little home is for a man of such legendary stature. And while I was never forced to be a PSU fan, I was always aware of how much the program was about values, and what those values meant to my dad and uncle and grandfather. Honesty. Integrity. Hard work. These things meant everything to my role models, and maybe that's why Penn State meant so much to them as well.
This morning I was in the car when Greenberg literally had the news about JoePa dropped in his lap and he read it aloud. We in Pennsylvania all knew this day would one day come, but like this?
Learning that the ethical standards that went hand in hand with Joe Paterno were not only inaccurate, but has also cost him his immortal job status? Well, it's like waking up one day and finding that the United States is secretly run by a Communist dictator. It just doesn't make sense, and certainly doesn't seem real.
Penn State football will not suspend its games for the season. That's unfair to Nebraska and certainly unfair to the current players. Penn State football will certainly not fold like the Post suggested in its editorial. It will move on, and it will one day be free of this grip of shame and unspeakable horror. Not even this will shut down the program.
But what it will cost Penn State is its tradition.
When I think of Penn State football, it's always had a timeless feel. Regardless of whatever composite materials or Revolution designs the helmet evolved into, it would still remain plain. Boring. Penn State.
What I never could have imagined is that in the decade to come, the school might knowingly sink that tradition, just to move away from all this. In 2020 you might very well see Penn State in some ridiculous ProCombat jersey with leaping mountain lions across the shoulders. You might see gray trim on the numbers. You might see the athletic logo, known affectionately in these parts as the 'Beaver head,' finally on both sides of the helmet. And that helmet might be gray, or blue, or both. And not because Paterno is no longer there to refuse the idea... but rather to distance the program from what is now and will forever be remembered as a marred past.
There was once talk in the early 2000's that not simply the stadium would be renamed in Paterno's honor, but rather the entire campus or town itself. Paterno Park. Paternoville. He was as timeless and as frozen in goodwill as Santa Claus. Until now.
Penn State tradition was forever altered this week. The men that will soon be put to task to pick up the pieces of this Hiroshima-esque landscape might very well choose to bury that tradition once and for all. And for many, dreams, memories and entire ways of life will die with it.
There's a friend of mine down the street, an alum, who along with his dad, my neighbor, cherish their season tickets like family heirlooms. That will not change. They will continue to go, continue to tailgate and even continue to fly the flag outside their homes. But this week, I have thought about him much, and specifically about what he will do on Saturday morning when he packs up the car and prepares to take the family up to State College. He's got a son, about the same age as mine, who is always wearing blue and white on a Saturday morning. And how on earth does he put his son in a Penn State jersey this week? And if he doesn't, how does he tell his son that he can't wear his Moye jersey? How do you tell him to stop loving JoePa, or explain why he won't be there next year?
Yes, I know, small fries compared to the lives of those poor kids whose trust was betrayed by that monster. But life as we all know it has changed this week in Pennsylvania, and the ripple effects of this mess will continue to affect normal everyday people in my life and beyond for years to come. It's just a really sad, improbable day... and we can only hope that lessons are learned and that lives can be changed for the better with the serving of justice.
I know I'm not the only PA native here on the blog, and I'm curious to hear Steve in PA's take, and others. But it's a strange, surreal blur of a bad dream in our community and thought it might be worth sharing and describing for the rest of you, if you're so inclined. This is my last mention of the subject.
Prayers for the victims, and Go Blue.
Oh, What a Night.
You've seen the stories on MSN and Yahoo about those small tribes somewhere in the secluded jungles of South America that continue to exist in blissful unawareness of the outside world. They have never seen a telephone. They might fear a flashlight. They do not know what jeans are.
These might very well be the only people on earth who do not know who Denard Robinson is, and even then they probably heard someone's stories at the watering hole about Michigan's amazing fourth quarter comeback against the Irish on Saturday night.
You stayed up to watch the entire game. If you were among the 114,804 luckiest people on the planet, you were actually there. And you will never, ever forget what you experienced on September 10, 2011. And, of course, now you need a shirt.
The pride you are still feeling today can now be worn with this exclusive UGP MGoShirt design. For a limited time the "OH WHAT A NIGHT" shirt can be yours, available in S-3XL for this week only. This is indeed a short run and will not be featured in the regular MGoStore or at Moe's. Just like Brian Kelly's patience and Notre Dame's BCS hopes, this opportunity will be gone before you know it!!
September 10, 2011. Notre Dame at Michigan. 8:00 pm EST.
We've all had this game circled for months, ever since Brandon's announcement or perhaps the soft unveil of the mash jerseys thanks to 'You're Turning Violet Violet' Brian Kelly's not-so-subtle slip during their own press conference.
Either way, this game is a spectacle, and we're essentially the top story of the college football weekend. Gameday, primetime crew, etc. Been a long time since we've heard Musberger, right?
I spent parts of yesterday watching BTN's replay of the '97 and '99 ND games, and I admit I kind of forgot how enjoyable the late 90's Wolverines were. And not because I knew the outcomes. It was about pride. Swarming defenses. Chuck's intimidating ownership of, well, the entire field. An arrogant confidence in the offense's will to win. A-Train.
It was about pride.
It's been some journey since those days, and not necessarily the best journey. But here we are, back in the spotlight of college football and in an opportunity to announce the close of the misery that has hung over Ann Arbor since, well, the horror.
Let it be about pride tonight. GO BLUE.
The artwork above was created by yours truly this summer in hopes of being granted that most magical of things, an official license by the university and ultimately a t-shirt available for sale. Unfortunately, Adidas (technically, it's adidas) basically swallowed the entire night game and stamped it with the 'Under the Lights' moniker. I really wanted this one to see the light of day, but ah well-- hope you enjoy the glimpse of it. Wear the MGoShirts tonight!!!
This year's dose of what has become a yearly philosophical rambling
Well, my friends, it has arrived.
I look back on seasons past and think of all those mornings I woke up too early, too excited, and too impatient for the first game. So much has changed since then. I am no longer rousing myself hung over and dehydrated; I do not have heart-cringing football food laid out for the entire day; I am not making plans with friends to sit on couches from ESPN College GameDay to TBS Pac-10 late games; and I will not end the night celebrating or drowning my sorrows in a frozen stein somewhere.
Disney's Jake and the NeverLand Pirates are holding the TV hostage as I type this. I was up before 6 and took orders for cinnamon toast and Honey Nut Cheerios. The dog has been walked, toweled off, fed, and wrestled with, perhaps not necessarily in that order. I've already punished the same kid twice for something the child already knows all too better. And I have ultimately dedicated myself to being SuperDad for the entire chunk of the day just to reserve a healthy 3:30 - 7:00pm EST block all to myself.
(Don't get me wrong, the kids will be there-- they woke up saying "What time is Michigan??"-- but their attention span will be exhausted about three seconds after Denard breaks the first of his several gazelle impersonations that are sure to take place today. There's something that tells me it's not quite fair to make young children watch every play, even if it's a Mattison defense.)
But despite all these changes in my life... and even all the changes that have befallen Fort Schembechler for the past decade and beyond... nothing has changed.
This morning, I lay in my bed like a bright-eyed, ten-year old maize-and-blue-clad dreamer, full of optimism, hope and enough anticipation to power an oil refinery. I lay there in the dark beside my beautiful wife-- who either doesn't really understand how deep all of this runs in my veins, or does and yet still manages to take me seriously anyway-- with visions of broken plays turning into 65 yard scampers, competent decision-making by the secondary, and enough blitzes to make General Patton happy all dancing inside my head. As I laid there waiting for Gameday to begin, it didn't matter who I was or everything my life has become.
There's something timeless about Michigan football, and that translates to us as well. No matter where life will take us, and no matter who we ever become, there's moments like today that serve as a constant reminder of who we really are inside, and for better or worse, what's really important to us, at least in the fall. The restless impatience we are all boiling over with this morning-- well, may it never change, despite how much any or all of us do.
We will always be men of Michigan. GO BLUE, and we'll see you on the other side tonight.
You asked for it. Now, you've finally got it.
The good people at Underground Printing have launched
a limited time only Special Order Mini-Store, featuring
MGoShirt designs on previously unavailable merchandise.
We have created a short term mini-store to take special orders for often
requested items (women's, kids, etc). We are sorry we weren't able to accommodate
all requests (for the time being we can't include the charity shirts). We will try to do
another mini-store before the holidays, so feel free to send your requests to [email protected]. Our goal is to end the orders by
8/30 to ship out all orders by 9/6.
So for all of you ladies who wanted some MGoStore gear that's just your size, your prayers have been answered. For all of you parents who want to raise their children right by putting them in maize and blue, worry no longer. And for the guys who want to show their MGoSupport in the gym and beyond, there's even hoodies and Dri-Fit wicking tees featuring the best-selling MGoShirt of all time (click below to find out which one if you do in fact live under a rock and/or East Lansing).
And for a certain father out there who wanted nothing more than to live in
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