It has hit me as I watched the Shortsgoblue hype video for the 400th time today that tomorrow may be the most important opener in my lifetime. I have been going to games since the mid-80s and we have certainly had some big games to open the year in that timespan but nothing with the implications of Saturday. I have vague memories of games against ND where both teams were ranked high, and we always seemed to find a way to lose. Plus much clearer memories of games like that super hot day against UVA where Ron Bellamy had the greatest drop in UM history followed shortly by Mercury Hayes with his silly catch in the corner of the end zone. Still while those games were important, and could often set the tone for the season, a loss was only a passing thing, it wasnt the end of the world there was always next week. Though when Lloyd went on that run where the team was eliminated from the national title hunt like five years in a row by the end of September that certainly wasnt cool. In the end though, we could absorb it and move on and still think we were going to the Rose Bowl.
This year is so completely different in so many ways. This is just my personal opinion but I really see this game as the turning point of the whole year. Not because it is first, but because I can't seem to get a handle on how good UConn actually is. I know they will be decent and should put up a good fight, I just wonder about what it will say about us in the long run. My general feeling is that most of the games this year are sort of predetermined...BGSU, UMass, Indiana on one side, OSU, Wisconsin and Iowa on the other. With a number of the others as toss ups. Doing the math I dont see a great record but I do see progress. Still one game will make a difference, and while I dont think a win says a ton about us, I have a sinking feeling that a loss is pretty much the death knell of the Rodriguez era at UM barring some crazy upsets against heavy favorites later in the year.
I didnt set out to be a downer, and I have all the hope in the world that we are going to win, but a loss would be a real blow. Still no matter what happens I will be in the stadium every week and I will scream my head off, and I will stand until my legs hurt and maybe just maybe the team will give me something to remember. That's all I can ask. And should things go poorly, I will still cheer because no matter who the coach is, those players gave everything they had on the field and deserve our support...