On Being Steve Buscemi

Submitted by Brian on August 26th, 2011 at 1:49 PM

So, about that game against that school: does anyone else feel a little bit like Marge Gunderson right now?

marge-gunderson-fargo

As the rest of the world laughs at Dave Brandon's decision to dredge up a not very nice thing that happened a while back I keep thinking of the scene at the end of Fargo where Grimsrud is in the back of the squad car, mute, as Marge tries to figure out what's in his head:

				MARGE
		...  So that was Mrs. Lundegaard
		in there?

	She glances up in the rear-view mirror.

	Grimsrud, cheeks sunk, eyes hollow, looks sourly out at the
	road.

	Marge shakes her head.

	At length:

				MARGE
		...  I guess that was your
		accomplice in the wood chipper.

	Grimsrud's head bobs with bumps on the road; otherwise he is
	motionless, reactionless, scowling and gazing out.

				MARGE
		...  And those three people in
		Brainerd.

	No response.

	Marge, gazing forward, seems to be talking to herself.

				MARGE
		...  And for what?  For a little
		bit of money.

	We hear distant sirens.

				MARGE
		...  There's more to life than money,
		you know.

	She glances up in the rear-view mirror.

				MARGE
		...  Don't you know that?...  And
		here ya are, and it's a beautiful
		day...

Marge is trying to comprehend an alien intelligence's decisions. That's where I find myself today. I can't begin to fathom the kind of thinking that would go into scheduling Appalachian State again. I get there are reasons, just like Grimsrud had reasons, but for the reasons to win out over the costs the kind of value judgments that are going on in the decision-maker's head must be frightening.

Meanwhile, instead of being mute Brandon is reminding us not to shoot anyone. Thanks, Dave Brandon. I'll try to remember not to shoot anyone this fall. Then there's this:

Oh, each team wanted to win. Players mentioned how their nerves came into play. There were sweaty palms, and probably a few "yips" on the green. And when the match was over, there was some fun "trash talk," but there were more laughs and hugs -- and respect for each other.

Not being mute is only exacerbating this divide.

We've had hints of this for a while now, but this is the last straw: Dave Brandon is not a Michigan fan. He may want Michigan to win but he has no concept of what the fanbase thinks is important. In the last year he's suggested or executed the following:

  • moving the Ohio State game to midseason
  • putting Michigan in a different division than Ohio State
  • curly fries in Michigan Stadium
  • a sponsored spring game
  • a mascot
  • scheduling The Horror: The Squeakuel

He has failed to:

  • summarily execute Special K on the diag

In the aftermath of people blowing up about these things, he wrote jerky emails and said he "can't see how it would be a negative" to dig up the most infamous upset in NCAA history. These are not good signs. Dave Brandon is going to create the future whether you like being put in a wood chipper or not.

ALIEN VERSUS HORROR NEUTRAL BLOGGER REACT ROUNDUP

Jerry Hinnen:

this is the single dumbest scheduling decision we can remember, and the most craven once since Indiana sold out one of their own Big Ten home games to play at a "neutral site" full of Penn State fans.

Spencer Hall:

No matter what happens, greater glory is paid the lowest point in the history of the Michigan football program in exchange for national television exposure. This is Michigan football becoming a celebrity rehab patient. This is Michigan's amateur sex tape that no one wants to buy. We're beginning to think Dave Brandon is not a very smart person. We're beginning to also think this will all end with this Michigan team losing this game in 2014, and then beating Florida in the 2015 Outback Bowl.

Holly Anderson:

the athletic department has scheduled what it’s going to have to call a revenge match with Appalachian State, a concept too hysterical to even contemplate.

Doctor Saturday:

Aug. 30, 2014, is two days shy of the seventh anniversary of the most stunning upset in college football history, long enough for everyone involved in Appalachian State's 34-32 miracle in the Big House to have graduated, retired or otherwise moved on from the respective programs, but not nearly long enough for Michigan fans to get over the festering humiliation that sent the program into a four-year spiral from which it's only beginning to emerge.

Comments

BrickTop

August 26th, 2011 at 3:36 PM ^

I remember it like it was yesterday...flashbacks.....I remember students clearing out very early, I remember the smell of the people in front of me...they were actually older App State fans. Funny, they were in disbelief as well.

 

My grammer is terrible and my hands shake as I recall those events. But know this, I want revenge. I don't care what that connotes. I want the Wolverines to re-match them and blast them all the way to hell. It may feel petty to many of you but to me it feels more like closure.

Purkinje

August 26th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

Good lord you're gloomy, Brian. About All Things.

 

We won't go into that game with the same stupid mindset and lack of preparation we went into The Horror with. We'll thrash them up and down the field, things will be good, and we'll carry on with our season to do great things. Megaclass will be playing by then. It'll all be okay.

MI Expat NY

August 26th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

Of course that's missing the point.  That's what is supposed to happen.  And if we were playing any other FBS team, that's what would happen.  But by choosing this particular school, when we run them off the field, the lead on the highlights package will include a flashback to the blocked FG and a reminder for all the world how we were utterly embarrassed seven years prior.  There is zero upside.

Purkinje

August 26th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

Who cares? Every school has an ultra embarrassing loss. Winning big over the program that gave us ours will feel good and finally bury the humiliation when our rivals bring it up; it will provide solid evidence that The Horror was a fluke, something that every team has. It's time to stop hiding from this ghost.

Oaktown Wolverine

August 26th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Honestly I'm quite shocked by the adverse reaction evidenced by some of us Michigan fans. The idea that we should never play them because they beat us is looser talk pure and simple. We cannot avoid playing a team just because they beat us. If that was our m.o. then we shouldn't play Ohio, we shouldn't play MSU, hell we should only play teams we've beaten recently. This idea that we shouldn't play appalachian state again because there is no "upside" is more of an embarassment to Michigan than that loss in '07.

coldnjl

August 26th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

This is ridiculous. You guys are acting like cowards who can't face an ex without drinking themselves stupid.

Man up...its a game. Maybe, we can not play Toledo again either....Or northwestern...cause they beat us before. Where do you draw the line. 

And what is more embarasing is that Brian feels the need to bash DB bc he doesn't see things the way he does, yet Dave Brandon is the one with all the information. He is the one that needs to pay the bills for all the amenities that we are taking so much pride in....the basketball practice center, the new scoreboards, the Crisler renovation, etc. If he feels optimizing the brand will do that best, then he needs to do it. 

wolverine1987

August 26th, 2011 at 4:11 PM ^

It's not about "avoiding" a team we lost to. We never should have played them in the first place. We shouldn't be playing FCS teams because it robs the fans of better non-conference games that are available. It's emnbarrassing to schedule any FCS team. So we did it once, and now it's the most embarrassing loss in history. Now instead of scheduling a better team, we schedule the same team that it was a mistake to ever schedule in the first place. A team that all week ESPN will be showing video of our loss to. IT WILL BE THE OPPOSITE OF "OPTIMIZING" THE BRAND. It will weaken the brand. You can't see that?

wolverine1987

August 26th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

You don't get "revenge" on your little brother when he beats you in backyard basketball. We don't need "revenge." There is no such thing as revenge unless you are roughly equal on the playing field (meaning same confernce, same level of football). We should be better than that. When you say you got revenge against App St you are putting yourself on the same level as they are. That weakens Michigan.

dcmaizeandblue

August 26th, 2011 at 4:01 PM ^

I draw the line at FCS teams.  Happy?

And I'll go for what you think if Brandon says that if we suddenly have mascots and change our colors to pink and green because that's "in" and heck maybe change the fight song to a more contemporary R&B track would optimize the brand?  See how ridiculous that argument sounds?

imafreak1

August 26th, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

I suggest rather that we give a new DI-AA team a chance to beat Michigan. I mean what if someone at Furman thinks we're scared of them? We've clearly been avoiding them since the beginning of time!!

In fact, I think we should just go ahead and schedule only DI-AA teams (this will incidentally solve the issue you very astutely bring about having lost recently to many of our conference foes) until we've beaten all of them. Lord forbid anyone say that Michigan is avoiding anyone.

freernnur5

August 26th, 2011 at 2:26 PM ^

I dunno...

 

Stanford shocked #2 USC a couple years ago at the Coliseum (mind you this the Stanford team with 1 win the year before and 1 win that year with 3 losses to ranked teams). However when USC rises back to the top of the Pac 12 and Stanford goes back down and USC wins big against them again I will still rub it in the faces of my USC friends.

FreddieMercuryHayes

August 26th, 2011 at 4:01 PM ^

Wasn't that the year of the Horror?  Because as people say "all-time upset" with the Horror, but that USC-Stanford game was actually a bigger upset, and it was in the same year.  USC was a better team than we were, and ASU was a better team than Stanford was.  And thus, that's what the actual betting lines reflected.

redhousewolverine

August 26th, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

Ya, but USC has a few more recent national championships than we do and usually beat us pretty easily these days.

Biggest difference is that no one argues that USC, whether it was legal or not, dominated most of the recent decade of college football. The Horror was the culmination of what many people had been saying and still say about Michigan: we are overrated and inept. It was a loss against an FCS team. I believe the stat was that no ranked team had ever lost to an FCS team before. We had 5 draft picks starting on offense, including the number 1 overall pick. We had 3 (ish not sure exactly) draft picks starting on defense. It was a defining moment in college football that people still reference.

On the concept of revenge: can the winningest team in college football have a revenge match against a Division II team? I wonder how many of the kids playing for them are even scouted by the scout networks. It literally was David v. Goliath: a presumptuous top-ranked school thought its appearance and laurels would allow it to wipe the field of a team crudely armed with a mere sling. Instead they shocked the world, and now we want to show everyone how great we are by scheduling a rematch to prove that we are a better team and program than them. Michigan needs to prove it is better than a division II program. That day they were and it was a hollow and disheartening reminder that being Michigan no longer gurantees you are an elite program. We had been sliding into mediocrity and we tried to revamp the program, but that only led to further disaster. It highlights the SEC continual claim to the national championship. The PAC-Ten's recent dominance over the Rose Bowl. And Michigan is sitting there wanting a revenge match against App St. We want to paint their tails to show them we are better than them. Even if we win we will be 500 against them. They will always have been better than us on that day; eveyone knows it and beating them again won't change it.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 26th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

this is like a guy getting beat up by a girl and going back to fight her several years later to get his revenge. This is an absolute no win situation for UM.

The Holly chick above says it pretty good too. The fact that this is going to be coined a revenge match for UM against a 1AA school IS too histerical to contemplate.

If we win what will we have accomplished? Who on earth remembers when a team like UM beats a team like App. St? All those wins just get mashed together and no one will remember which cupcake it was we beat. By the same token, no one will ever forget that we lost against them either. It doesn't matter if we line them up for the next ten years and clobber them everytime, everyone will remember that one time they beat us and forget that we trounced them everytime since.

This makes me sad. Also,  I am not ashamed to admit (negs be dammed) that I agree 1000% percent with Brian that DB has made some very peculiar decisions since being named AD here at UM.

ijohnb

August 26th, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

 were a cupcake then and they are a cupcake now.  That game was a fluke, it was a Virginia earthquake, it was a faulty O-ring.  It was a freak incident.

This is not a revenge match.  It will not be billed that way. Reason, M will have already kicked Alabama's ass in 2012, had one heisman finalist, and won one big ten championship game by the time that game rolls around.

It's a cupcake.  We are Thunderlips and they are Paulie.  Forget it. 

This is not a big deal. 

One week until the opener.

03 Blue 07

August 27th, 2011 at 1:58 AM ^

No, you're flat-wrong. Were you at that game? Appalachian State was, believe it or not, a pretty darn good team. I watched the entire game (and then even watched it again because I'm a glutton) and came away thinking they would contend to win the MAC. And were absolutely better than 3 or 4 B10 teams. I think you underestimate the amount of talent at top 1-AA schools. For example, after attending Michigan, I had the opportunity to live and work in Lake Charles, LA and host the football coaches show for McNeese State University, a pretty good 1-AA program. It was a bit of an eye-opener. A lot of guys end up going to those programs due to grades/disciplinary issues; McNeese had at least 10 guys that were currently on NFL rosters at the time. I realize U of M has 40 or 50. But I think people that just say "they are 1-AA, so therefore they couldn't be good, any B10 team was automatically better" didn't watch that App State team and give them enough credit. They were a team that won back-to-back 1-AA  titles and, frankly outplayed us. That's not a fluke. They kicked our asses in the first half. That team would have absolutely won 3 or 4 games in the B10 that year.

csev33

August 26th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

......that can come out of this.

First: App State is now looking into moving up to DI and this would help their exposure if they are not already DI by the time this game is played.

Second: App State is a good football team that executes very well and it is better to play them than some other creampuff team.

Third: People are going to talk no matter what we (Michigan) do.  If we never schedule App State again their will still be those people saying that we are afraid to get beat again.

I am actually glad that Dave Brandon is making this happen.  App State gets money and exposure and we get a (higher) quality opponent then we probably normally would get.

Bottom line we did lose and if we can't handle the heckling then there is a problem.

jmblue

August 26th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

And when we play MSU this year, we'll be reminded of the last three years.  When we play OSU, we'll be reminded of the last seven (ugh) years.  So what?  That should get you more fired up for the game, if anything.

Brandon has pulled off the near-impossible: schedule a meaningful opponent in a guarantee game.  There will be serious buzz for this game.  If some of that includes footage of the '07 game, so what?  Are we supposed to run away from that game forever?

MI Expat NY

August 26th, 2011 at 2:45 PM ^

You get no revenge if the whole world expects you to win by 50.  The only part of the story is that we once lost to them.  That doesn't make the game meaningful, that is simply an excuse for every member of the college football media to bring up the fact that we were embarrassed once upon a time.  

We don't have to run away from the horror, but we also don't have to assure that it continues to be brought up.

turd ferguson

August 26th, 2011 at 2:26 PM ^

And on top of that, we'll look petty for bringing them back to prove that they really aren't better than us.  We lost that game, and as much as it still stings, it's one of the countless interesting footnotes in Michigan football history.  Let it be.

The only reason to do this is ticket sales, and that's clearly what's guiding our CEO AD's decision-making.

MI Expat NY

August 26th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

We don't have to "refuse" to play them again.  There are over 100 FBS teams, if we must play one to fill out a schedule, just pick a different team.  They can't "challenge" us and say we're too scared to play them.  That's not how the economics of the situation works.

MI Expat NY

August 26th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

That question would never be asked.  The media honestly couldn't care less about these FBS-FCS matchups, unless of course they are handed the perfect way to lead their stories on a silver platter.  

But fine, even if your theory is correct, there's no natural tie to App State, they aren't a geographically close team, we could easily go another 20+ games before we recycle a single FCS team, why do it 7 years later?  If there was 25 years beetwen the horror and a "rematch," it wouldn't be the end of the world.  But right now, it's still rather fresh in everyone's minds.  

turd ferguson

August 26th, 2011 at 2:53 PM ^

Do you really believe that?  It's not like we've played them every year and decided "never again."  They happened to fill an opening in our schedule in 2007, so they were scheduled for a one-time meeting.  Scheduling them again hasn't even crossed my mind, and I've never heard anyone else mention it.