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:
- The existence of preconditions
- Fall of the old order
- The honeymoon phase
- Rule of the moderates
- A counter-revolution
- Rise of the radicals
- The reign of terror
- 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.
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.