Preview 2016: Wrap

Submitted by Brian on September 2nd, 2016 at 3:59 PM


Hello. You have made it to the end. This year's preview checks in at 54,543 words.


No Dress Rehearsal. When will then be now? Now.


Quarterback. Eh, it'll be fine.

Running Back. Wild Thing, now with glasses?

Wide Receiver. African refugee special in 3… 2… 1…

Tight End And Friends. Jake Butt's vacuum hands and some Kaiju.

Offensive Line. Middling is the bet, but Drevno effect?

5Q5A: Offense. There is a schematic advantage and it will be felt this year.


Defensive End. In Soviet Russia—[is sacked]

Defensive Tackle. Hahahahahah oh my God you guys.

Linebacker. Peppers Peppers Peppers. Release the McCrayken.

Cornerback. All-American and friends

Safety. When the weight comes down.

5Q5A: Defense. Just the sacks, ma'am.


Special Teams. Kenny Allen is the Peppers of special teams.

Podcast 8.0. Stop 30 seconds from the end.

Heuristics and Stupid Prediction. Predicting 12-0 is an act of bravado and unserious.


Genuinely Sarcastic posits Harbaugh as the counter-revolution in a post that you should really read:

A wise old political science professor once taught me that there are eight stages to a revolution:

  1. The existence of preconditions
  2. Fall of the old order
  3. The honeymoon phase
  4. Rule of the moderates
  5. A counter-revolution
  6. Rise of the radicals
  7. The reign of terror
  8. The Thermidor

The list very obviously follows the blueprint of the French Revolution - which makes sense, since most revolutions since the French Revolution have tried to follow that same blueprint.

Gazing back at the last 10 years or so of Michigan football, I see vague parallels that I the historian naturally blow out of proportion to try and make my point. I have to shuffle the order and tweak some things, but I think it fits, more or less.

Holdin' The Rope:

Each season begins with its own set of expectations, a reasonable subset of all possibilities. For Michigan, that subset was limited indeed for some time.

Now, though, the whole playbook of expectation is in play. The Jabrill Peppers carry is as much a part of it all as the handoff to De'Veon Smith or the deep throw to Jehu Chesson. Nothing is out of play, too farfetched, too crazy.

If this all sounds hyperbolic, well, maybe it is. But why hold back when it's so plainly obvious?

Robin Wright in the New Yorker:

In 1975, I moved to Mozambique, then a scenic colony on the Indian Ocean, where a ten-year guerilla war was ending a half millennium of Portuguese rule and, in turn, igniting challenges to white-minority regimes across southern Africa. It was a historic time, and I needed a telephone to report on it. Impossible, the post, telephone, and telegraph agency told me—the waiting list was nine years long. I worked through layers of bureaucracy at its headquarters—pleading, cajoling, pressing, and flirting—until I found someone who spoke English with an American accent. He, too, said no. I was about to leave his office when, in one last stab, I noted his accent and asked where he had learned English. “The University of Michigan,” he said. Bingo. I told him I was an Ann Arbor girl, born, raised, and educated.

“If you can sing ‘Hail to the Victors,’ ” he replied, skeptically, “I’ll give you a phone.” I stood on a chair and belted out the Michigan fight song. Then we talked Michigan football. He handed me a phone. I never got a bill, even when I turned the clunky black phone back in.


Just under a year ago I stepped out of my car and began my walk to my family's tailgate. The buzz of low-flying craft trailing banners was in the air. I smiled ear to ear like Jim Harbaugh at the spring game. The unusually cool morning had the tang of fall in the air. Every year this is my favorite time, the ritual before you enter your section and see that great bowl—the greatest anywhere—filling with people.

Last year's walk was the best. Forgive me if you think this unkind, but I thought about the fact that the Michigan fanbase had rose as one to eject Dave Brandon from its midst. I thought about Jim Harbaugh's walk. Just a few weeks before in Chicago he'd told the assembled press that his walk was Bo's walk. Told them the actual streets, all the better to stalk him by. And I thought about how one of these things led to the other, how the shape of the Michigan thing that led to the ejection also led Harbaugh back home where he plans to coach and die, God willing and the creek don't rise.

Several years earlier I'd been furious as the shape of the Michigan thing ate itself under Rich Rodriguez and then reaped its reward, so this is a double-edged sword. Hubris always wins eventually. But we've been down. We've been scuffed up, yelling more at each other than anyone else. If there's any hubris left after dead last in TFLs allowed and unable to either protect a guy with a concussion or prevent that story from turning into a week-long fiasco it's hardier than a cockroach. There's certainly none in this program, which is pushing every possible advantage it could ever have and working its fingers to the bone.

This has been a Queensbury's rules kind of program. No longer. Now we take the lessons learned at the bottom and shiv our way to the top.


[Bryan Fuller]

Go Blue.



September 2nd, 2016 at 4:07 PM ^

Wow, 54,543 words! Here's to the far-off day the preview hits 109,901. The "01"st word will be reserved for Brian, though no one will know exactly which word it is. Probably something like "kerfuffle" or "like-substance".


September 2nd, 2016 at 4:12 PM ^

This has genuinely been some of the best content I've ever read on this site. I am continuously impressed that a site that provides this much thoughtful, insightful, funny and in-depth content remains a free one. I didn't think it would be possible, but you guys have allowed me to love Michigan athletics even more by providing such amazing analysis and content. So thank you.  


September 2nd, 2016 at 9:27 PM ^

Brian from Genuinely Sarcastic should go to the Registrar and get a refund on his history class tuition. As a historian, i found that piece hard to take:
(1) you cannot take a historical model, say that Michigan football is just like that, and then completely change the model to make the analogy fit.
(2) that's not Napoleon with Harbaugh's head on him, but some German or Russian general-type dude. Napoleon never wore anything remotely like that.
(3) Napoleon took over in 1800. The Thermidorian Reaction was in 1794. The Reaction was 5 years after the start of the Revolution and 6 years before Napoleon's rise to power. If this model held, then Harbaugh wouldn't become coach until 2023.
(4) Austerlitz came as the culmination of years of brilliant moves by Napoleon as Consul and then Emperor. The historical equivalent of Harbaugh's NOW would probably be the battle of Marengo in 1800: taken off-guard by a sudden Austrian dawn attack, Napoleon's Army was beaten by early afternoon. Napoleon assembled his generals and asked for advice. One told him "This battle is completely lost. However, there is time to win another." Napoleon counter-attacked and drove the enemy from the field.

The non-historical stuff is terrific.


September 3rd, 2016 at 12:26 AM ^

Actually Napoleon took over on November 9, 1799 (18 Brumaire, according to the Revolutionary calendar).

On #3, I think you are missing his analogy a bit.  He's arguing that the "Revolution" began in 2008, so we would have already traversed the periods of the National Convention and Thermidorian reaction (the Hoke years) by now.  If we map things directly onto the French Revolution, Harbaugh's hiring (December 2014) would coincide with late 1795, which incidentally is when Napoleon was promoted to general.  

So maybe this season isn't Austerlitz but the Italian campaign of 1796-97, which was a huge success all the same.


RHammer - SNRE 98

September 2nd, 2016 at 4:18 PM ^

...upon walking under the sign for Section 40 every time; out of the dark concrete, into the light...

"Every year this is my favorite time, the ritual before you enter your section and see that great bowl—the greatest anywhere—filling with people."


September 2nd, 2016 at 4:21 PM ^

I have been thinking lately about what might be if we had landed Les Miles in 2007. Sort of a Man in the High Castle type of thing. I realized it was our own damn arrogance that caused this. But the same thing that provoked that arrogance also gave us Harbaugh, so in the end it has come full circle. Here we fuckin go.

Darker Blue

September 2nd, 2016 at 4:27 PM ^

Fantastic post man. I'm so fucking ready. I've been shaking with anticipation  since about Wednesday. After the last 10 years I'm ready to ride the Harbaugh Express all the way to the top. 

Laser Wolf

September 2nd, 2016 at 4:36 PM ^

"Now we take the lessons learned at the bottom and shiv our way to the top."

Be back later, must go out to front yard and channel this excitement into some karate kicks.


September 2nd, 2016 at 5:15 PM ^

And House Harbaugh has yet to make even a single move on House Rainbow, let alone House The.  The only developments in the last few weeks are that Lord Commander Speight has been chosen to lead the next battle and Ser Braden is nursing an injury whilst practicing his melee prowess.  And FFS, so many words wasted on banquets of Tacos and Peppers and armadillo eggs.

This is a LOT of filler, Brian.  When is Winds of Bowl Season coming out?


September 2nd, 2016 at 4:50 PM ^

I know I'm not supposed to like, wish away parts of my life, or anything, but WHY ISN'T IT TOMORROW YET FOR THE LOVE OF BO

I haven't been this excited for a college football season since 2007! Oooohhh wait, no, that can't be right, can it?


September 2nd, 2016 at 4:52 PM ^

Perfectly stated. Reading this made it move.

It's time now to take all the pain we've had through the last decade and make our enemies feel it until they are defeated, kneeling before us, and we hear in the backgrounds the Lamentations of their women who are now ours too.


September 2nd, 2016 at 5:15 PM ^

The words are done and they were wordsy and good.  The sentiment is there, and it's postivity for the sake of positivity.  I can get behind that.

Now I'm ready.  Michigan football is hours away, and the season starts soon, and I'm good and ready.