11/17/2007 - Michigan 3, Ohio State 14 - 8-4, 6-2 Big Ten
Saturday was wet and cold and miserable and had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Though other games have been more painful or less competitive, November 17th, 2007, stands alone in terms of sheer miserable boredom.
Michigan's best and most frequently deployed offensive player was the punter. There was one event of significance in the entire game, that being Chris Wells' game-sealing 62 yard touchdown run; once Tressel got his 11 point lead he decided he was done for the day. Ohio State threw two second-half passes, neither of which landed within ten yards of an eligible receiver. Even the flyover was canceled due to the weather, a particularly nasty near-freezing drizzle that crept into your bones by halftime.
These were the impairments to enjoyment inflicted on the viewing public at large. A couple insults were added to injury in my section. Invading Buckeye fans took to standing on the wet, rickety bleachers, providing the interested observer with the choice of getting up on the bench yourself, thus drawing the ire of everyone behind you, or peering through a thicket of heads to see the "action." (Scare quotes smarmy but 100% required.) Behind us two solid rows of central Ohio's finest truck drivers and forklift operators hooted constantly, literally saying "ain't nuttin' wrong with that" after every four yard Wells run. A good time was not had by all.
And so. And so what do you do with that?
One. In the aftermath I was -- am -- angry at Carr for hanging on too long, for bringing in a minimally qualified friend to coordinate the offense, for allowing his charges to put out an undisciplined, lackadaisical show time and again this year. This year is going to end in some rinky-dink December bowl. Michigan put up 91 yards of offense against Ohio State and lost for the fourth straight year. All of that's on Carr. Jake Long and Chad Henne and Mike Hart deserved better than what they got.
Carr was stubborn, arrogant, and loyal to a fault. There is no Carr coaching tree because the program is inbred.
Two. Carr was a curmudgeon in the best possible way. When it comes to calling out the hypocritical power structure of college football, he stands entirely alone. No other coach has called out the NCAA for adding a twelfth game while simultaneously protesting that a playoff is infeasible. No other coach has directly called for the players to get paid. He was a tireless advocate for his players and his program. Last November I sat in Michigan Stadium and listened to him eulogize Bo and wanted no one else to coach Michigan.
People unfamiliar with the program bash him for a lack of class because of post-game handshakes and halftime interviews gone awry as if "class" means putting a good face for stupid questions and meaningless gestures. No, he didn't like the media. But do you like the media? Carr was the best argument college football is about something other than violence and money the sport had.
And he won. Not lately, but he won.
There is an obvious split here. The first section is about Carr the coach; the second about Carr the man. I'll miss him sometimes, but mostly on Monday, not Saturday.