Preview 2015: Wrap

Submitted by Brian on September 3rd, 2015 at 11:08 AM

Hello. You have made it to the end. This year's preview checks in at 42,835 words.

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THE STORY

This Winter Hasn't Been So Rough. The bad man is gone, and a good one is here.

OFFENSE

Quarterback. Dry white toast. Glorious dry white toast. He should really be named "Elwood," though.

Running Back. IT PUTS THE FOOTBALL IN THE HOLE OR IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN

Wide Receiver. Don't spook the hamstring. In fact, don't even look at it. Or think about it.

Tight End And Friends. You have been moved to tight end as well.

Offensive Line. The nadir has passed. I swear.

5Q5A: Offense. The Harbauffense is, like its progenitor, tough and weird.

DEFENSE

Defensive Tackle. Veterans, and good ones, but not huge ones.

Defensive End. Or buck linebacker. Whatever. Can they get to the quarterback?

Linebacker. Seniors have leadership, which is why they don't join biker gangs.

Cornerback. Half awesome, half frayed thread upon which defense hangs.

Safety. JARROD WILS /is hit by shoe

5Q5A: Defense. It's pretty much the same, except Peppers.

MISCELLANEOUS

Special Teams. Aussie aussie aussie, field goal oy oy oy.

Podcast 7.0. Many people complimented the music selection, probably because I used a Beyonce breakup song.

Heuristics And Stupid Prediction. Could go a lot of ways. I've got 8-4 and "resembles football." Seeya, sludgefart.

ELSEWHERE

Preview at 2.

Holding The Rope comes out of the bunker:

For the first time last year, I found myself getting up during game action to grab something from the kitchen. There was once a time when, once the game started, I did not move from my sitting spot, as if tethered to it for eternity or the end of the game, whichever came first.

Last year, during the Indiana game, I vaguely remember falling asleep during a portion of the third quarter. It was a long week and a dreary day, and even the surprising success of Ann Arbor's own Drake Johnson couldn't fend off a doze.

Maybe I was tired. Maybe I'm getting older. Maybe it was something else: indifference, a dissipation of pointless resolve.

GQ drops a major article on Harbaugh. Hell of a lede:

The Big House, when empty, rises on all sides in limestone gray, like the machine-carved rock walls of a Midwestern quarry; on game days, the sold-out stadium—a hundred rows high, 110,000 fans in maize and blue—becomes the fourth-largest city in the state of Michigan. Here on the field this last official day of spring, 230 high school quarterbacks tune in to a former quarterback and current head coach in a block-M ball cap and a pair of slack khakis, extra-wide. This is Jim Harbaugh, and this is his dominion.

I talked to the author, Daniel Riley, at Frita Batidos one day this summer. Frita being jammed most hours of the day and night, it was loud. Loud to the point I worried that nothing from his tape would be useful. I'm glad it was, because his article reminded me about this part of our conversation about Jim Harbaugh:

“What he says now about football,” Cook says, “is that it’s worth it.”

Football's taken a ton of shit over the past few years because it is dangerous. Harbaugh knows this. I know it. You know it. But I say that life is not lived all at the same rate. Some days and weeks and months shrink away to tiny motes; some hours and minutes and moments expand to fill your consciousness.

Nice high kick, got a little wind under it and he runs Howard back—time inflates, you can pluck a dragonfly hanging in mid-flight in front of you out of the air—LOOK AT THAT oh my goodness ONE MAN GOODBYE HELLO HEISMAN

Football is dangerous. It is dangerous to play, and it is dangerous to love. And it is worth it.

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[Bryan Fuller]

Go Blue.

Comments

DonAZ

September 3rd, 2015 at 11:21 AM ^

There is nothing like the thrill and drama of a close and well-played college football game.

Nothing.  No other sport comes close.

Worth it?  Hell yes.

dragonchild

September 3rd, 2015 at 11:58 AM ^

Thrill & suspense are fine, but sometimes close leads to dirty play and amplification of mistakes.  A late PI giving the opponent a second life.  A go-ahead TD catch that's not ruled a catch.  A lucky break can attenuate the thrill of victory.  The aftertaste is particularly bitter when victory is yanked away for the most petty of reasons.

But there's also awe.  Michigan's '97 defense holding OSU to 3-and-out after 3-and-out.  Woodson's leaping INT against MSU.  Stanford breaking the back of VT's defense.  Seeing 11 intelligent, well-coached, athletic players morphing into a single entity that imposes its will on the opposition, whether it's an offense that scores at will or a defense that makes a 4-point lead feel insurmountable.

I'm tired of seeing other teams do that to us though.  For the past few years it's been Michigan that's been broken, especially by MSU.  No amount of hoping or fandom can do anything to the despair of watching a disciplined, well-coached team do what they do against a helplessly unprepared squad.  Michigan was hard to watch not because they lost, but because of how they lost.  The one-point loss to OSU when Devin Gardner played with a broken foot wasn't that hard for me to take, because at least Michigan showed some damn life.  Even in defeat, Gardner burned like nature's will to live itself.  It was so much worse sitting in a cloud of confused, deflated incompetence.

Utah is probably too early, and I'll take the suspense (NO team is safe against Harbaugh), but I'm looking forward to experiencing awe again.

reshp1

September 3rd, 2015 at 11:23 AM ^

I've always been impressed with your season preview work Brian. Great balance of in - depth analysis, humor, and feels. It blows away everything else out there by a mile, blogs or "real" media. 

NoVaWolverine

September 3rd, 2015 at 11:27 AM ^

Thank you Brian & Co. for this annual ritual of ruining my work productivity for a week with  another fantastic preview of Michigan football.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was this jacked up for a Michigan football season to begin. You always begin it with hope, but for the first time in a long time, thanks to one James Joseph Harbaugh -- that hope is based on something real, something we can count on: a track record of success. Win or lose tonight, I expect to see a Michigan team that is well prepared, that plays smart and hard, and that improves as the season progresses. It's gonna be fun. 

VicVal

September 3rd, 2015 at 11:29 AM ^

Some days and weeks and months shrink away to tiny motes; some hours and minutes and moments expand to fill your consciousness.

This. Yes, football is dangerous to play, sometimes painful to love. But those moments that expand are so very glorious.

I think only the players can decide if the risks are worth taking.  If they are willing to take the risks, I will honor their choice and revel in watching them play.

South Bend Wolverine

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

The point about "it's worth it" reminds me of one of my favorite poems from Grantland Rice, called "Football's Answer"

They reform me each new season

As they point to each new fault

And their hands are turned against me

As they crowd me to the vault,

But amid the growing clamor,

They still know around the clan,

I’m the soul of college spirit

And the maker of a man.

O, I know I’m far from perfect,

When the autumn leaves turn red

When the tackle’s neck is furrowed

By the half-back’s heavy tread.

But you hear them still admitting

As they put me on the pan,

‘He’s the soul of college spirit,

And the maker of a man.’

Perhaps I’m overfeatured

In the headline’s stirring plea,

Perhaps I’m more important

Than a mere game ought to be;

But with all the sins they speak of,

And the list is quite a span,

I’m the soul of college spirit,

And the maker of a man.

BellGoBlue

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

As a diabetic who played DIII ball, and now have had both labrums repaired, a lacerated liver, one confirmed concussion, my ankles both crack all the time (and don't grow hair where they were taped for those years), my knees constantly ache, my wrists feel arthitic... I could go on. But it is worth it. to play the greatest team sport known to man and feel the exhilaration of being able to hit someone like a train blowing up a car, to share in the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat with your teammates. There is little in this world that compares to it. 

I am only 36, and I may one day regret putting my body through so much pain, but for now and far into the foreseeable future. Football is worth it.

Thank you Brian and everyone here. the past few years have been excruciatingly painful to watch this beloved sport, but tonight we start a new chapter.

In Harbaugh we trust,

Go Blue

MGoBlue-querque

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:19 PM ^

Blasted my MMB CD on the way to work this morning. The kids loved hearing it again. So amped for tonight I can hardly sit.

Go Blue

Go Harbaugh

Beat Utah

Got all of the goosebumps reading this post and watching that Woodson/Howard video.

CAIN'T WAIT!!!!

 

UofM Die Hard …

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:25 PM ^

say Go Blue in a while, or at least I havent seen it.  Yay!

 

The time has come friends.... here is to a quick work day fellas.  May your beer be cold, food be great, TV be crisp and victory be sweet.

Hai to the victors!

zopegiheti

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:37 PM ^

Start   working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail
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RefriedVitamins

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:55 PM ^

During the roundtable, Brian said he had another 50k words to write for the preview. Today's drop better check out at 7 165 words, or I'm going to have to speak with the manager.

Who's got it better than us?

Lebowski

September 3rd, 2015 at 1:17 PM ^

I'm off work until next week.

This is going to be today's project, just like Tuesday's was BLL.

Brian, sometimes people just have to do things for God and country. Thanks to JUB, you, Jim Hackett, and Jim Harbaugh, for following your callings. This is a hell of a week.

Go Blue!

Wolverine fan …

September 3rd, 2015 at 1:39 PM ^

slowly building the anticipation for today's game. The passage of time has slowed to a crawl the past week and a half. Finally, it's time for football again.

I became aware of this blog late last year when I started closely following the Harbaugh-to-Michigan saga, and have become a big fan of this board. My level of fandom has gone from being a watch every game & read every article guy a few years ago to a dejected, depressed fan the past couple of years after watching a game or two. What I can I say, there hasn't much to be excited about recently. That all changed in December.

Sure, my productivity at work is in the crapper, but it's been worth it. Knowing more about the team combined with my excitement for Harbaugh(!) has reignited my love for Michigan football. Looking forward witnessing a UTE ass-kicking tonight.

Hell yes, Go Blue.