Steve Sharik got bumped to page 2.
It is Wednesday and I am finally starting to come down from the "high" that was Saturday. As I stop and think, my fandom had become stagnant much as the Michigan program had from 1998-2007. I am 30, grew up with Bo, MO, and Lloyd. I loved them all.
But Saturday I felt something I cannot remember feeling before. In my lifetime I had not known a horrible season. After 1997, the program clung to a protective-type "play not to lose" mentality that typically yielded 8-9 wins per year despite NFL players all over the field. After 2007, I felt the program needed change. It was bittersweet to see Lloyd go and I cried when Lloyd was carried off the field at the Citrus Bowl. I loved Lloyd but was glad to see he left at the right time.
I was also glimmering with hope and confidence at the prospect of Coach Rod coming aboard. I had watched Texas, Oregon, Appalachian State, Ohio State, etc run their spread offenses all over us in recent years and it was clear that we were losing ground (it was like working for the Big 3 and watching more fuel efficient, economical foreign cars take over the automotive industry).
Last year was a very tough year but I looked at the personnel and knew Rodriguez was not to blame (not completely innocent either). Bottom-line is that this program may not be BCS material when it is all said and done this year, but there is nobody with any objective intelligence that can look at the first two games and not say that we have the ability ot be a top 5 team in the coming years.
In Lloyds last few years, it was all about getting 8-10 wins and remaining respectable. Now, I am thinking beyond Big Ten Championships and thinking about us as a true national powerhouse again. I know, I know. It's only two games, but this progress is significant and can't be ignored. In 2005, if we had started 2-0 with wins vs. Western and ND, it would have been no big deal and expected. However, after 3-9 last year, it is great.
But it goes beyond that. There is a vibe; an energy, an excitement around this program that hasn't been there in my lifetime (even 1997). Change is polarizing at first, but as the program continues to improve and produce wins, heismans, and championships; everything will come back to the middle and the universe will calm.
Right now, it is Eastern week and I am so excited to watch on Saturday that I can hardly concentrate at work. Yes, that's right....Eastern week! I just can't wait to see this team play again; win or lose, even against a team that doesn;t make for an exciting match-up on paper.
Change has come to Ann Arbor and I feel very confident that it was the right move; saving us from slipping into a 2nd tier powerhouse capable of producing big revenue, the occasional league championship, but an inconsistent national relevance.
As much as tradition thrives in college football, modern and recent dominance has come from the programs with cutting-edge scheme and top notch talent. Michigan has had the latter since I can remember but the scheme was falling behind the major programs.
Coach Rod brings the scheme and Michigan will always get the talent. This team has a great start to being a major contender in 2010..., 2011 for sure. 2009 has started great but I am still not expecting anyhing beyond 9-4.
Without 3-9, I may never have appreciated this 2-0 start like I do right now. I used to expect wins against the MAC. I was nervous as hell before Western after last year. The win felt as good as the 2007 Florida game to me. ND...even better.
I guess what I am longwindedly saying is that this is freaking great and without 3-9, would just be expected. When your expectations get lowered by a tough bout of adversity and you see a response that looks better than it ever did, it brings about a new emotion. Combine hope, happiness, anticipation, nervousness and you get this. There is energy in the Michigan Universe that I do not ever remember. It's the energy that comes with the possibility of this program turning into what we all want.
Can''t wait for Eastern. Go Blue!
Steve Sharik got bumped to page 2.
I too, felt something a little extra special about the win on Saturday. I believe it had a lot to do with the pain of watching UM's offense last year, as well as the common feeling that this was a game UM would probably not win. I have been to many of the UM last second wins (79 IU, Iowa in the 80's twice, 95 VA, Washington 02?, @ WI 01', PSU 05 etc.) and this one definately ranks at or near the top.
Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. As painful as last seasons offense was to watch, we all know that defense wins championships. In 97', game one vs CO, you could see already that UM's D was amazing. I am very excited to have Tate, Denard and the offense of 09, but we have a year or two to wait before our D can carry the rest of the weight.
I am with you on the strange feeling that comes with being excited about Eastern week.
The old maxim, "defense wins championships," is close to becoming obsolete in this stage of college football's evolution. Defense is important, but the days of holding teams under ten points all year and trying to score at least 10 yourself isn't a viable approach anymore. In this era, more than any, you must have a very good offense to win.
Personally, I would much rather see a shootout like Saturday's than a well-played 10-7 win. Games like the ND win can make a person alternately cheer and then want to throw things at the TV multiple times in a quarter. It's like riding a roller coaster without the nausea afterwards. When your team wins, anyway.
of the 1997 Wolverines then, I take it? I could watch that defense play any year, any time, any minute.
And I'm not sure how Florida would have beaten Oklahoma last year if they couldn't have completely derailed Sam Bradford's 60 point express in the MNC game last year. That. Was. Defense.
And for "Florida," "Oklahoma" and "last year," please substitute "LSU" "Ohio State" and "2007-08 MNC game," and then "Florida" "Ohio State" and "2006-07 MNC game."
I've already said this. -100 to me.
that we can be excited about Eastern week. Not just a bump on the road, but a chance to see some excitement.
and a chance to let Denard loose.
Bravo! I hear ya. First half v. CMU was a revelation. Particularly given the uncertainty going in and the tight game, the win over ND just felt so good... Saturday was truly cathartic.
The team is a joy to watch. There will likely be some rough patches but the play is advanced from last year. It's fun to not be sure what is going to happen next. I'm very glad we have RR too.
I think I've watched the game ending sequence Brian posted 4 or 5 times now. It just keeps getting better! The key is just giving RR the chance to do his work. I think the way the season has started has helped immensely.
Can't wait for EMU either! Thanks for posting!
I think it's simply fabulous that you were glimmering.
I agree wholeheartedly that winning feels a lot better when you have experienced losing on a regular basis for context.
This year, we are the infusion of energy that I thought would happen last year, but was derailed by the lack of a QB to make it happen. Also, RR's brand of football is a lot more exciting than the conservative version practiced by Bo and his coaching tree offspring.
To me, the biggest thing is seeing the Wolverines be the team with the QB who breaks off a long TD run. We have seen this happen not only with Forcier but with Robinson. Also, the new accent on speed over bulk has reduced the chances of other teams doing the same to UM. No more do we see LB's lumbering after QB's and missing by a couple of steps; now they are fast enough to effect or catch most opposing QB's.
One of the most used axioms is "speed kills." Despite its overuse, I believe in it a hundred percent, but I also look at it this way: "speed thrills." And that is one major reason why it is a lot more fun for me to watch UM football now.