Necessary But Not Sufficient Comment Count

Brian October 7th, 2013 at 12:18 PM

10/5/2013 – Michigan 42, Minnesota 13 – 5-0, 1-0 Big Ten


Eric Upchurch

Jon Falk has a compatriot at Minnesota. He's probably had a dozen over his 40 years as Michigan's equipment manager. Some guy who comes in with the latest Gopher coaching staff, wonders what it's like to hold the jug in his meaty palm, and maybe once gets to shepherd it for a year. Since Falk arrived at Michigan a fresh-faced young thing four years into Bo's career, his opposite number has had this experience three times.

In proof lingo, this means that beating Minnesota—beating up on Minnesota, usually—is a necessary but not sufficient property of Michigan teams that want to do anything with their seasons. Sometimes you can retain the Jug despite not being very good; sometimes you can retain the jug despite being headed for 3-9 because Nick Sheridan has an out-of-body experience. When you're headed for 3-9 you get a little misty about the Jug coming out. When you're not the worst team in Ann Arbor since the 1930s it's a checkbox to fill out.

Michigan did so in perfunctory style, grinding out a second half in which they went from vaguely threatened to bored. Since this came on the heels of narrow escapes against teams that lost 43-3 to Ohio on Saturday and 41-12 to Buffalo last week, it's progress. How much is unknown.


This game settled into a grim fugue state almost from the drop, as Michigan manballed its way into the endzone on a Statement Drive to start the game. Unfortunately, that Statement was "by putting Taylor Lewan next to Michael Schofield we can bull our way down the field against Minnesota." That statement is unlikely to apply to many teams on the schedule. But, hey, progress.

Then Minnesota donned turbans and embarked on the Ishtar Drive. An epic production galaxy-spanning in its dullness that arrived at its destination two hours too late and failed to have the desired impact, it ate up the rest of the quarter. Michigan left it without having attempted a pass.

This was a little dull.

It was the kind of dull that had Space Coyote, the Michigan's blogosphere's resident instant analysis savant, pleading with the masses that the intricacies of a well-blocked power play were just as appealing as, say, watching 175-pound Venric Mark activate his truck stick on an Ohio State safety. I can't imagine there's another Michigan fan in the world more receptive to that argument than yours truly and even I wasn't buying that as the secondary effect of all that manball kicked in: punt, commercial, play, end of quarter, commercial, play play, punt, commercial. Touchdown, commercial, kickoff, commercial—the NFL special. As the teams' attempt to blow through this game in record time was thwarted by the networks, being in Michigan Stadium became the worst concert of all time interrupted by bouts of football-related activity.

It was the kind of thing that made you consider what the purpose of your fandom was. Am I only here to see Michigan end a game with a larger number on the scoreboard than Opponent? Is there any valid goal outside of this? Am I a bad fan for wishing something interesting would happen? Do the people on twitter who scorn you for having feelings other than Go Team have a point? What is the point of any of this, and why can't they make the wifi work?

At halftime, the guys in front of me discussed whether they would bolt for Frazer's, and two did. I'm usually a guy who thinks leaving an athletic event before it's decided is a mortal sin, but I kind of envied the guy in the home-made muscle shirt screwing off to a place where he could get a beer and not hear "Build Me Up, Buttercup." At any other time, I would have thought this man's attendance at Michigan Stadium was a necessary property of a fan that he had just shown was not sufficient by leaving a touchdown game at halftime like he was a sorority girl about to blow a .341. On Saturday, I was with him in spirit.

This is a fearful development. I don't want to think like that. I want to be forever ten years old, excited by everything. On Saturday I had a long look down the elevator shaft.


It'll pass like the moment above did. Someone will do something interesting, and there will be something at stake other than a piece of crockery that just means you're not horrible, and sometimes not even that. I had a bad day, I was pissed at Dave Brandon when I discovered I was thirsty but knew I couldn't do anything about it without missing a large chunk of the game I was there to see even if it was narcoleptic, I was emo after the last few weeks of expectation-depressing terror. It'll pass, and the doors will close on the moment where I reached out and felt the slight outlines of a limit to my fandom.



Michigan won by a lot, eventually.


Completely one-sided highlights:


brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3[1]Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Has to be Michigan's new favorite worst nightmare at wide receiver: Devin Funchess. Relieved of many blocking duties and deployed on the outside, Funchess displayed fantastic hands on a couple of catches outside of his body, ran routes that got him tons of separation, and went right by a Minnesota cornerback(!) on a straight-up fly route(!) to prove himself Michigan's best deep threat(?). By the end of the game he had newspaper types plumbing the statistical depths for completely invalid comparisons to Jim Mandich, who was a tight end, which Devin Funchess is not.

Honorable mention: No Turnovers, which may be Devin Gardner's temporary name until such point as he turns it over. Schofield and Lewan were mashing as tackle brothers. Blake Countess did have a pick six, albeit one of no importance. James Ross and Desmond Morgan had lots of tackles, usually at the LOS when not facing spread formations.

Epic Double Point Standings.

1.0: Devin Gardner (ND), Jeremy Gallon (ND), Desmond Morgan(UConn), Devin Funchess(Minnesota)
0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)


I guess? [Upchurch]

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. Wow. Are we at a loss here? We might be at a loss here. Countess's interception was after the game was decided, as was the long Funchess fly route thing. Michigan's longest run went for not many yards. I guess we're going with Fitzgerald Toussaint scoring an easy ten-yard touchdown, as it hinted that Michigan may be able to run the ball forward? Yeah, okay.

Honorable mention: Funchess reception, pick one. Countess pick. Black FF.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

8/31/2013: Dymonte Thomas introduces himself by blocking a punt.
9/7/2013: Jeremy Gallon spins through four Notre Dame defenders for a 61-yard touchdown.
9/14/2013: Michigan does not lose to Akron. Thanks, Thomas Gordon.
9/21/2013: Desmond Morgan's leaping one-handed spear INT saves Michigan's bacon against UConn.
10/5/2013: Fitzgerald Toussaint runs for ten yards, gets touchdown rather easily.

[After THE JUMP: actual game analysis instead of pathetic emo self-pity mooning!]


Judging things: hard. For one, Minnesota. Minnesota just got worked by Iowa. Iowa followed that up by getting outrushed by Michigan State's punter. For two, Minnesota embarked on a ten-minute drive in the second quarter that restricted both teams to four drives in the first half and set Michigan up with a couple of short fields. Michigan had only eight drives all game, which were:

  1. 35-yard MANBALL touchdown drive
  2. Three-and-out.
  3. 42 yard drive starting from their own 1.
  4. 38-yard touchdown drive
  5. 75-yard touchdown drive
  6. 75-yard touchdown drive
  7. Three-and-out
  8. 69-yard touchdown drive

That's five touchdowns on eight drives and a third productive drive to flip field position. That's massively different picture than 348 yards against Minnesota. The offense was efficient.



It's just about how they were efficient. Michigan did seriously de-emphasize their tight ends… but not how I thought they might. I thought they might use Drew Dileo and Dennis Norfleet more, run some more shotgun/pistol stuff, table the full-on manball for a little later, when they had a TE who could shove a child into a ball pit in three tries or less.

Instead Michigan ran a lot of the same stuff they had been running before except they ran out a ton of unbalanced lines with Schofield and Lewan to the same side of the field, flanking the backside guard with AJ Williams. I may have missed a few of these, but IIRC this was 90% run and about 80% run to the Lewan/Schofield side. This worked, insofar as running for 3.2 YPC against a stacked front is working. This virtually eliminated the tight end from relevant blocks, with results like Michigan's grinding drives to open both halves. Hooray.

Is that going to work against anyone other than Minnesota? I have my doubts. Even Minnesota decided that they were going to fling bodies at the Lewan/Schofield side willy-nilly late and started stuffing things up in ugly fashion. Now that it's on film, what's your upside there once teams overplay it? More waggles. Or drop-back passes with AJ Williams pretending he's a tackle.

Call me Mr. Downerpants, but rolling out the unbalanced line offense against any vaguely competent defense is going to be an exercise in getting your face punched in. Short yardage, sure. Anything else, bler.


Via MVictors

ALL HAIL OUR NEW RECEIVING GOD. Elsewhere in minimizing TE blocking, Devin Funchess got a lot of snaps split wide. How did that go? Just fine, thank you.


Funchess's 46 yarder was a plain old fly route on which he just ran by a guy in press coverage; he had two other receptions on which he turned the corner around and got excellent separation. Minnesota's CBs are not good, granted, but he looked like Junior Hemingway plus a half-foot. Let's leave him out there, plz. A rotation between Gallon, Chesson, and Funchess is threatening, and as a bonus it doesn't tip run hrrrrrd like, say, putting Jeremy Jackson in the slot does.

Even corners that can keep up with Funchess—evidently not all of them—are giving up a half-foot, probably eight or nine inches once Funchess's crazy long arms are factored in. If the guy's over the top, just leave it short. If he's behind, throw it a little short. Enormous WR is what he is. Forever and ever amen.

Funchess remains crazy photgenic, BTW:



All hail our new adequate or better guard. Chris Bryant got smoked for a sack. That was bad, but in the UConn game the guy he replaced got beat on three separate pass protections against UConn. That's an upgrade.

In the run game he seemed better, as well, pulling on the first two plays and getting to the appropriate place and not getting dumped in the backfield even once. Hageman had little impact on the game save for a TFL with four minutes left when Michigan was in full run-run-pass mode as they strove to kill the clock.

so… this happened

Meanwhile, Graham Glasgow hardly seemed to miss a beat as the center. Michigan had one procedure penalty, that a false start on Lewan; Michigan fumbled one exchange. No one tore through Glasgow to eat someone despite the extra complication of snapping, and he's just as responsible as the other two interior OL for neutralizing Hageman. So far so good, and unlike large chunks of the results from this game you can maybe take that seriously since Hageman is a guy projected to go in the first couple rounds of the next NFL draft.

Tentative thumbs up to nouveau offensive line. Penn State should be may be a stiffer test.

Chesson comin'. Jehu Chesson was announced on the video boards as the third WR starter (along with Gallon and Dileo) and his targets reflect that. After only a couple looks his way in the first two games, Chesson probably has ten targets in the last three. He had a couple issues against UConn, but he also had a nice catch and run against Akron and adjusted well to an underthrown ball in this game. This is the kind of progression you hope to see: steady progress leading towards a large role by the end of the year.

Gallon overtargeting complaints goin'. Chesson and Funchess emerging should stop teams from sliding coverage over Jeremy Gallon, which Ace spotted in the press box, and allow Gallon to re-emerge as a frequent, productive Gardner target.


Same drive look as provided for the offense. Because it was weird:

  1. Three and out finished by a fumble.
  2. Epic 16 play, 75-yard touchdown march.
  3. 23 yards, punt.
  4. Three and out.
  5. 9 play, 55 yard FG drive.
  6. 11 play, 51 yard FG drive.
  7. 19 yards, punt.
  8. 29 yards, pick six

That's… fine. The norse saga that was the second drive was very, very frustrating and equally perception-distorting; I still get the vibe that this defense is a lot like Mattison's previous two outfits: good and only good, because they have no real stars. The good news is that Michigan gets Jake Ryan back soon, and he should provide a jolt.


this is a sack yo [Bryan Fuller]

Pass rush check in. It wasn't great but again I think Michigan got shorted in the stats. Jibreel Black clearly forced a fumble behind the LOS to end Minnesota's first drive but did not get credit for a sack in the stats. Brennen Beyer was similarly shorted in the opener on a sack/strip. I just looked this up: unless things have changed since 2011 (page 4), a FF on the QB in the backfield is a sack. Is Michigan's official scorer screwing this up? This is twice now.

Anyway: mediocre at best, again. Two sacks on 21 attempts, both of them flush-and-chases after a moderate amount of time in the pocket. It's okay, I guess? Michigan again laid back and blitzed sparingly, contributing to that. It is what it is at this point. At least Jake Ryan is returning soon.

10107693483_f559b14885_z[1]Man, that looked bad. No official word yet but with Ondre Pipkins coming off the field without putting any weight on his left leg and the general reaction, I'd be surprised if he wasn't done for the year with an ACL tear or something similar. It looked bad.

That's the worst possible timing, as if this had happened in the last game Pipkins would be eligible for a medical redshirt; now he's (seemingly) just lost a season of eligibility and has to rehab his knee while attempting to maintain, if not up, his level of fitness. That's tough if you're Blake Countess, tougher still if you're a 320 pound nose tackle.

Nose tackle is a bad spot to take a hit because of the one-and-a-half starter thing. Michigan may be able to get away with Washington for the majority of the time since they'll lift him in the nickel; Richard Ash and maybe Willie Henry will absorb what snaps Washington can't handle.

[UPDATE: Hoke confirms that Pipkins tore his ACL and is done for the year.]

[Image: Upchurch]



Very conservative. The above is photographic proof that Minnesota did indeed throw it at a wide receiver on a pass that was not the slightly terrifying time Countess got beat over the top and Leidner left it way short. Jibreel Black looks like he's about to help tackle, so that's probably four yards downfield. Minnesota played offense a lot like Michigan: terrified of shooting itself in the face.

Minnesota came in trying to shorten the game, and did so. Michigan conspired to help them by playing soft. It ended up fine, but there were a lot of nervous moments until Michigan pulled away in the second half. It was frustrating to watch, as it didn't seem like Minnesota had any prayer of exploiting hypothetical Michigan blitzes on the regular.

Game theory thing: you're playing into the underdog's hands by playing bend but don't break, as they can shorten the game in a manner similar to Minnesota's. Then if you make a mistake you're in a dogfight instead of slightly annoyed. Unlike UConn, Minnesota was configured to do this sort of thing. If blitzing is EV neutral you should do it, and in this one it seemed unlikely that it could be anything but EV+ going up against a freshman who's not much of a thrower.


Wile seems fixed. Three punts for an average of 52 yards each following five for 42 yards each against UConn. Hopefully the shanks are behind him.

Gibbons irrelevancy parade ho. He's had two attempts the last three weeks: a missed 45-yarder against Akron and the chip shot to take the lead against UConn. 4/5 on the season, and while he'll get some extra opportunities against better defenses it is a tribute to Gardner's red zone skills that he's a bit player at best.

Dileo: what took so long? Drew Dileo may not be the fastest guy in the world but he came in as a guy who was supposedly a punt return specialist, watched Jeremy Gallon make a lot of bad decisions and not return the ball very far very much, and then had a similar experience with Dennis Norfleet. (Norfleet at least looked like a real threat when he got his hands on a returnable punt.)

Dileo has moonlighted as the returner throughout his career but it seems like it took errors from other guys over three years to take and give him the full-time punt return job. He's made two tough catches on line drives that he's returned and has not fumbled or made a bad decision yet. Punt it to Dileo.

Picture Special K trolling. I'm still not sure what it is about "Blurred Lines" that makes it more of a target of feminist ire than every other song in its genre, but if it gets people noticing that a decent chunk of Special K's playlist is about bonin', okay. Daily:

The song was played three times Saturday during Michigan’s 42-13 win over Minnesota. Twice, the song cut out after the lyrics “Everybody get up,” but the third time the song played over the speakers at the Big House, it reached the chorus. This is a chorus that repeats the words, “I know you want it,” over and over again by an artist who clearly knows exactly what all women want by saying, “Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you/ He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that.”

Last year, Special K played "Whistle," which in addition to being stupid is obviously about blowjobs in a way that causes 13-year-olds to titter. I'm personally more offended by "Build Me Up, Buttercup" but I've given up on the idea Michigan Stadium will be anything other than a place I grit my teeth and tolerate so I can watch Michigan play football; that's not going away. Can we at least agree that songs with overt sexual content are not appropriate for a football game?


Best And Worst:

Well, listening to this game on ESPN2 was about as much fun as listening to Michael Cole do anything during a match.  By my rough calculations, the announcers droned on about Devin Gardner’s “poor” accuracy for 8.5 quarters of the game, and complained about a 30-yard completion to Gallon because it was behind him. Of course, later in the day the ESPN ticker pointed out that Gardner has the second-best QBR line of the day (94.2), and that included QBs who played against Temple, Georgia State, and Colorado. I know announcers want to add drama to events that organically lack it, and Gardner clearly had some issue throwing the ball at times.  But you could have left the door and some commentors from RCMB and Bucknuts could have taken a turn on the mic without people noticing a difference in quality. I suspect ESPN doesn’t care one bit, but when UM fans are clamoring for Spielman (who is fantastic) and Mason or Herbstreit (less so), you know you’re having troubles in the booth.


Inside The Box Score:

Four Fried Chickens and a Coke
* The four returning linemen joined with newcomer, Chris Bryant, to provide an effective rushing attack. Michigan only fumbled one snap, something that we were all worried about, and gave up only one sack. It was really nice not watching our center get pushed back five yards on nearly every play.
* Besides the 9 yard sack, our o-line only gave up 4 yards worth of TFL's to Minnesota.

And some dry white toast please
* Wile was back to normal, providing all the excitement of dry white toast. He averaged 51.7 yards on three punts, that netted an average of 45.7 yards.


I hate Illinois Nazis
* If you're going to make a Blues Brothers-inspired T-Shirt about one of our longstanding rivals, how is this NOT the shirt?

This is a fair point.


Blog folks. Dooley is of course jug-nuts (jug-nuts!). All of the jug nuts. Jurrg nurts. He is also trying to make "Butt Funch" happen.


More photos from Maize and Blue Nation.

Touch the Banner:

Devin Funchess is the next Braylon Edwards. Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess exploded for 7 catches, 151 yards, and 1 touchdown on Saturday. The coaching staff made the decision to split Funchess out wide for most of the game, rather than using him as a true tight end - which makes some sense because Funchess is a poor blocker.

That's the most enthusiastic Magnus has ever been about anything.

Maize and Blue Nation:

POINT AFTER: The interference non-call
Late in the second quarter, Michigan had a 3rd and 8 where Gardner threw one over the middle for Funchess and he was clearly interfered with and no call was made. That was complete horse radish.

I'm not sure if this is why, but I'm pretty sure that ball took a slight deflection as it passed a linebacker further upfield.

Sap's Decals:

MATT WILE (PUNTER) – I’m giving this to Wile (as a punter and not as a kickoff artist) based on the fact he not only boomed one punt 55 yards, but it ended up being downed at the 1-foot line:

3 punt downing

By flipping the field on the Gophers, UM benefitted from the field position and ended up scoring on the ensuing possession. He also had another punt that was fair caught just inside the Gopher 20-yard line.

The Gopher perspective:

this week I am embarrassed

but last week I was humiliated, so I guess it is an improvement.

Maize and Brew. Hoover Street Rag. Holding The Rope.

Northwestern won Gameday.


Penn State reacts to getting Hoosier-pantsed.

News folks. Player interviews from Maize and Blue News. Lewan:

Lewan on the run game:

“I feel like we found a groove today,” Lewan said. “Every first down we were gaining yards except for one or two. That’s the goal — keep moving the line of scrimmage, keep getting those yards and eventually one of those will pop. Fitz is a great running back. He’s got to get an opportunity to show it. Fitz needs to have at least 100 yards every game in my opinion, he deserves this. He works so hard.”

He does have a point that the consistency has something to say for itself, in the same way that it's worth running instead of passing even though YPA is generally a lot higher than YPC.

No turnovers. No turnovers. Funchess talkin'. More Funchess talkin'. Stock report. I'm not quite sure if it's a resurgent offensive line just yet, but this is an excellent story:

As Gardner tells it, during the week, the line “told me they weren’t going to let me get hit. So I like that.”

Fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan disputed that, saying he would never pledge something he couldn’t deliver. (“If they bring too many guys, if they bring 11 guys and we have six protecting, I’m not going to be like, ‘OK Devin, good luck!’ ” Lewan said.)

"Can't block" is kind of a big criticism for a TE. Not so much a WR.


Fundamentally, Minnesota isn’t a dramatic step up in terms of competition. But that hardly mattered Saturday, because this was about building confidence as much as it was building an identity,

“We want to run the ball,” coach Brady Hoke said. “And we wanted to send that message.”

And inasmuch as the two go hand-in-hand, Saturday’s message should be well-received.

Baumgardner. Gotta stop the run.



October 7th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

I don't get the negativity either. I was back in the stadium for the first time since 2010 and had a great time. Honestly I've had far more dull experiences there (I was at every game as a student from 2004-2008, with a hiatus in 2007 due to a semester abroad). The upside of the slow start was that I actually cared about the action in the second half. 6 touchdowns for the good guys and numerous 3rd downs gave plenty of cheering opportunities. I was in the corner of the south endzone, and was pleasantly surprised by the participation level of the crowd around me, even though there were a lot of old timers. Rarely was the section not on its feet for a big play, and the noise was at pretty good levels for a Minny game.

The media timeouts suck, but what would we rather fill them with? About half got filled up with various MMB and homecoming activities anyway, that is, "old traditions". There was no "In the Big House".

And what popular music would make Brian et al happy? Motown is "too lame" and popular modern stuff is "too edgy". Sticking to AC-DC and 7NA is "too repetitive and unoriginal". Not playing anything at all produces a "wine and cheese party" crowd.  Look, I'm normally at the head of the line at Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork (behind Brian, Bando, and Section 1, of course) whenever DB unveils his latest "wow experience (TM)" but honestly I had a good time, and have yet to see constructive suggestions of how it could have been better. I mean, sure, we could go back to an unamped band, no RAWK (I guess the rest of the downtime is filled with contemplative silence?), and not televise the game, but is that really an improvement?


October 7th, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

I'm sorry I pointed out that the fact that for some reason you just can't seem to just enjoy this team or this season.  I don't really care why that is or what your emotional state is but I have enjoyed this site for a few years and this year has been less interesting because you are moodier and it is impacting your writing.  It was just a matter of opinion, and I understand I don't have to read this site if I don't want to, but I found this piece annoying and normally enjoy your writing.

edit:  And just to add, if going to Michigan stadium is really that much a struggle for you and you really dislike brandon that much you could always stop going to games and get better views of the action, replays and the ability to contribute to the blog during the game if you really want too.  So if I can't bitch about being annoyed by you, you should certainly stop bitching about going to a game nobody requires you to go to.


October 7th, 2013 at 1:34 PM ^

And just to add, if going to MgoBlog is really that much a struggle for you and you really dislike Brian that much you could always stop going to MGoBlog and get other views of the action, replays and the ability to contribute to other blogs during the game if you really want to. So if I can't bitch about being annoyed by you, you should certainly stop bitching about going to a website nobody requires you to go to.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

What if I used to like the steak too but recently the chef decided to start burning it to a crisp and beating it until nobody would one to eat it? Well in that case I would make a point to say that I used to enjoy it and I don't like the changes, if the chef continues to cook the steak that way then whatever I'll go elsewhere to eat it but I'd rather try to bring up the point rather than just quitting.

To sum up this admittedly crappy metaphor, I like mgoblog, I liked brains writing though I didn't always agree with him but recently Brians writing has gone analysis to wallowing about how sad and hard it is to be a fan.  If it continues I probably will stop visitng the site as frequently but I'd prefer for it to return to what made it popular and the best place to come for news on michigan sports.


October 7th, 2013 at 4:10 PM ^

First, lots of people on here still like Brian's writing/the steak.  

And you're pining for the way things used to be, complaining that Brian's writing used to be better, and you won't frequent the site as much. the issue being that Brian is pining for the way gameday experiences used to be and that he might not frequent games as much.

This is ridiculously circular. Your complaints: Brian's complaints :: Brian's complaints : the gameday experience.  


October 7th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

I already acknowledged that and said in general I enjoy the blog and have for a few years, inlcuding the way Brian writes.  I just thought this particular post, which was half about how sad brian was after a nice easy win was a perfect example of the tone he has taken this season since the akron game, for some reason he can't just enjoy this year.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

We do not typically find ourselves on the same side but I have to at least sort of agree with you here. This was an unusually depressing post, and I usually enjoy or at least sympathize with Sad Brian.

Compare this reaction to the reaction after CMU. Now THAT was a meaningless, dull game, and had none of the Homecoming / B1G opener bells and whistles. Yet the mood here was much more upbeat. What gives? I'd think we'd be breathing a sigh of relief over an easy win with minimal indications of forthcoming doom.

Billy Ray Valentine

October 7th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

Because I find being a football fan these days very confusing.


I'm a die-hard Michigan.  This is obvious.  I'm here (way too much).


I'm also a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan.  Being an Eagles' fan is about as different from being a Michigan fan these days as it gets.  The Michigan fan expects to win almost every game, mostly by a large margin.  The Michigan fan expects repetitive power football, long clock-killing drives, and bend-but-don't break defense.  The Eagles fan expects to lose every game, maybe even by a large margin -- but expects wide-open, exhilarating, innovative basketball-on-turf.  Watching losing football has never been more fun, IMHO.  I can't wait to see what happens next.  Andy Reid can take his 5-0 start and keep it .. I don't miss the days of his frustrating coaching style one bit.


Not trying to start a RichRod flame war with this post.  I'm proud to write that I love Hoke as a person, coach, mentor and program-leader.  I'm just saying that being a fan these days is confusing.  If you had to choose, is it better to be entertained or see your team win?  Is it better to watch at the stadium or on HDTV (announcers aside)?  I want Michigan Stadium to be as intimidating as the Horseshow (intentional Freudian slip), but Seven Army Nation again ... really!?!


What is the point of this post?  Heck, I'm not even 100% sure.  I completely understand Brian's frustration with the game experience.  I completely understand how some are sick of Brian's complaining.  Maybe we should give each other a break.     



October 7th, 2013 at 1:18 PM ^

that have been played approximately 10 million times on radio and in every single stadium in America?

Maybe I'm not cued into America, but I would prefer a college experience that is like college, even better, like Michigan and nowhere else, and not including the same generic songs that you can hear literally in every stadium everywhere.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

This is America and the First Amendment protects your ability to spend time crafting whatever wrong-headed written expression catches your fancy. But I'd have thought that after hanging around here for two and a half years (at least), you'd realize that posting a critical comment about a post in which Brian expresses misgivings about things that bother him would be at least a small-ish waste of your time.  Nobody makes you read Brian's stuff. Nobody makes you pay for it. If you want blind boosterism of the football program and the gameday experience with no self-reflection or critical analysis, I'd respectfully suggest that you're in the wrong place.    

snarling wolverine

October 7th, 2013 at 5:16 PM ^

Honestly, I think he speaks for a few people here.  Maybe his tone was a little harsh but I agree with the general sentiment - Brian is letting his irrational hatred of David Brandon (and Borges?) ruin his experience.  I liked the fun Brian who came up with things like posting Muppet videos after big victories.  The emo-Brian is not that much fun to read.  And if he remains in this funk indefinitely, it may turn off some of his readership, which would not be good for business.





October 7th, 2013 at 7:22 PM ^

Why is blind boosterism bad and self-reflection and critical analysis good when it comes to the football program, but that reverses when one talks about the blog?

It's not like it isn't any less of a waste of time to post what's wrong with Brandon/the coaching/the team/athletics; they don't really care either. But we do it. It just comes off as silly as saying "if the experience is so bad don't buy tickets and go to the games anymore."


October 7th, 2013 at 4:43 PM ^

I personally don't have a problem with Brian's feelings at the game.  I understand that sometimes during a game, a time, or times, may come where you think about bailing (blowout, insanely hot, rain, reallllyyyyy cold, interolerable/unbearable fans, combo of everything), but I am surprised he admits to it so often.


October 7th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

I think Saturday was just an off day. In all the years I've been going to games, which includes NU '08 and The Juice Williams Attack, I've never had a stronger desire to leave early than last Saturday around halftime/third quarter start


October 7th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

First, Blurred Lines seems to be pretty much about rape, which, agreed, should not be played at a football game (click the daily article, or look up the lyrics). Special K tried 3 times to make that happen. My fiance asked what was up with the music especially, it's not like many of those are pump up songs anyway. "Hells Bells" makes sense to fire up the crowd and defense. What are we supposed to do when random slow club songs come on?



October 7th, 2013 at 3:41 PM ^

(For shame) The video objectifies women. But rape? Yo've got to be pretty femi-nazi to come to that conclusion. (For Shame) a lot of music is about sex. The song depicts a protagonist who is way way too confident...But I think you're pretty naive to think that hairpulling = rape. You'd be pretty surprised what some women are into.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

Your use of the term "femi-nazi" ought to be a warning that responding will be futile, but there is just no good reason to defend any sort of cultural artifact that glorifies the objectification of women or that indulges the quasi-rape fantasies of the consumer. 

Read this, please:


October 7th, 2013 at 4:26 PM ^

Honestly this was the first time I've heard the song, but yeah, I think jumping to the "Dirty nasty rape song" is what I'd call a radical interpretation of the text.  To me, the song is funny because of the guys audaciousness(is that a word?  Probably not the way I spelled it).  (Plus there are bewbs).  As to the former point, if the stadium was limited to not include words a rapist has uttered, we'd be in for a lot of Bach and Beethoven.


October 7th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

Boy I must be good at blocking things out because other than the ubiquitous Seven Nation Army I can't remember a single song that played. That may also be because IT DOESN'T MATTER. I heard the band well enough and that's what is important.

I can't say I was bored at any point during the game either but it was nice to never feel really threatened after the last few weeks. 

Bando Calrissian

October 7th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

"I've given up on the idea Michigan Stadium will be anything other than a place I grit my teeth and tolerate so I can watch Michigan play football; that's not going away."

Couldn't have said it better.


October 7th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

Wow, I am shocked that they would be playing songs with lyrics like that...called me out of touch or what not but I won't be heading back to the stadium if that continues. I had a great time last year at the Air Force game, took my kids. I would have been furious had they played crap like that in the stadium.


October 7th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

As frustrating as that long Minnesota drive was, I think you just chalk that up as one of those drives where the opponent strings together a long set of "meh" plays that gets just enough yards in each set of downs to get another set of downs. There were a couple busts including the TE pass and then the long QB scramble, but for the most part Minnesota just scraped by each third down to keep the drive alive. Not too much you can do and eventually the other team will get behind schedule, which they did on subsequent drives.

I liked the way the new interior line looked. Bryant looked pretty good early as a puller and 2nd lead tackler on MANBAWL plays. The transition cost seemed pretty low too, a sack and one biffed QB center exchange. Not a bad trade for holding the point of attack and having a road grader swing over to assist Lewan and Schofield in obliterating the right side of the line.


Get well soon Ondre. :(


October 7th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

The inability to keep the Minn QB from gaining seemingly at least 4-5 yards every time he ran it was frustrating. And we still have a super soft spot in the middle in zone coverage.

But I thought we did a good job stopping the Minn RBs and overall the defense was decent.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:27 PM ^

I think we got that corrected as the game went on, for the most part. A lot of that was guys pass rushing aggressively and vacating their lanes. Some of it was also just bad luck with guys getting tangled up with the OL's legs and falling down too. We'll have to continuing improving if we want to stop Braxton Miller, Taylor Martinez, etc.


October 7th, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

Two years ago, during the OSU game, it was a key 3rd down late in the game and Special K played "Build Me Up, Buttercup".  It made me so angry then and I haven't gotten over it since.  Hearing it again Saturday sent my blood boiling. 

However, that wasn't the biggest fail of the day.  That award goes to the band wanting to get into the record books for having the biggest sing-a-long.  So, is this the new and exciting changes to half time?  A Sing-a-long?  What was even more embarrassing was the lack of participation during song #1 - "New York New York".  Are you kidding me?  Singing about NY in Ann Arbor?  This isn't Yankee Stadium. It's Michigan Stadium. But then they thought the crowd would really get amped to "Red Solo Cup". Again, very low participation.  At this point I had taken all I could and decided to take my son to the concourse for overpriced food! 



October 7th, 2013 at 1:53 PM ^

I still cannot get over that as well. My memory is that it was the final OSU drive (Avery interception). Great atmosphere that was completely ruined by the unecessary music. I was so taken out of the game as I thought about what was going on that I still am not over it.

Related, I was fortunate enough to go to a Red Wings Stanley Cup game 7 in 2009. Wings were down a goal with 1 minute left and the crowd was electric. During breaks before each face off the music would come on - "da da da da, da da" and I remember thinking how much it just killed the moment and how that would never happen at Michigan Stadium. 2 years later we do the exact same thing.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

We're in Ann Arbor, less than an hour from Detroit. A large portion of the crowd is over 50. A little Motown is to be expected and enjoyed. Buttercup is like the wave: great sing-a-long when you're up big or in a long break, terrible when there's a big play on the field. Also, please stop playing 7-Nation Army before EVERY big play. The oh-oh-ohoh-ohhhhh is cool and good for building up sound when no one is cheering, but a few times Special K cut off some organic (and more effective) yelling by playing it.

I was bugged by the halftime show. Granted, they tend not to do much marching at Homecoming due to the Alumni band, but still, standing in place most of the time and playing a disjointed mix of songs was pretty dull.

And the execution of the sing-a-long was terrible. The video screens never lined up with the music (seriously, you can't set it up like a powerpoint and advance the screens manually?), and often they'd cut away to fan reaction shots in the middle of the choruses. You could immediately hear a drop in volume from the fans the instant they cut away.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:18 PM ^

I agree about the halftime show.  I understand that the band can't move around as much during homecoming--the alumni band can't really be expected to do anything other than stand there or march across the field in a block.  I understand that a sing-a-long might be something fun to do to take attention away from the fact that they can't move around on the field.  What I don't understand is the song selection.  Friends in Low Places?  Red Solo Cup?  Would it have even been possible to find music less likely to get people to want to sing along, or less well suited to the demographic in the stadium?

At least the band has way more hits than misses, but this was certainly a miss.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I know, but it seems like the band was looking to do something "big" and did not get the crowd into it at all.