After a great and thrilling overtime win yesterday, a few bad bad things stuck out.
You know the chronology; Demens' superb tackle ends the game; he is then mobbed by teammates, such that the throng sort of drags itself over to the wall at the north end of the Michigan bench; after which the team congregates in front of the student section to sing The Victors. But not just a verse of The Victors; a prolonged celebration to the exclusion of all else.
Meanwhile, the Northwestern team stood at midfield to shake hands with Michigan players and coaches. There may have been two or three players from Michigan who were at midfield; but it was such a plainly awkward show of poor sportsmanship on the part of Michigan that Jordan Kovacs, in a very captain-like act, made a point of running back to midfield to shake hands with Northwestern players. A very nice act by Kovacs; an otherwise complete failure of classlessness and childishness on the team's part. The Northwestern team then walked off the field.
It was a repeat in large part of what happened after the Ohio State game a year ago, and what has become increasingly common after Michigan wins; instead of congratulating opponents like virtually every other team in college football, it's off to a party in the north endzone. And it is different from what two of our rivals do. In Columbus, they shake their opponents' hands before singing Carmen Ohio with the students. In South Bend, they meet opponents before doing their own singing. Both of those traditions are conducted with a lot more class and respect than what Michigan is devolving to.
I expect that I'll get a lot of criticism for this observation. What I know, is that Jordan Kovacs knows exactly what I am talking about.
This was one of two unacceptably failed 'new' traditions in Michigan Stadium on Saturday. The other was the Stadium press box deejay playing Seven Nation Army and similar canned rawk, at maximum volume, as the visiting team set in an offensive formation. The kind of thing that happens at places like East Lansing, and is an affront to sportsmanship.
On a great and thrilling day at Michigan Stadium, these things -- both easily correctable --left a bad aftertaste.