I have nothing new to say about Michigan's loss to OSU on Saturday. Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometims the bar eats you, as the movie says. And sometimes the bar shoves your face into the mud and pees on you and tell you it's going to steal your wife and then eats you.
But sometimes you come back quickly. And that is the point of this post. Below are
three two instances of Michigan being flat-out whooped by a team and then beating that team a season later. I don't mean to suggest that the circumstances in question are identical to those faced by the current football team with respect to OSU, but hopefully they're close enough that readers feel a little better.
I humbly suggest that those feeling down (everyone, I assume) consider the following:
Turnaround No. 1: On January 1, 1992, Michigan lost 34-14 in the Rose Bowl to Washington, who was then named national champion in the coaches' poll. In those days, Michigan rarely met a team who was inarguably better than them, but Washington left no doubt who was superior. Desmond Howard - and this was his Heisman season - had one catch. Washington outgained Michigan 404-205 (404 yards was a lot in the old days). Washington's receiver, Mario Bailey, even did this after he scored:
Insult was added to injury. And we were left with an entire offseason to be down about the Huskies' domination.
But a year later, Michigan beat Washington in the Rose Bowl 38-31 despite having lost Howard to the NFL. That Washington team was not as good as they were the year before, but they were still the Pac 10 champs and the No. 11 team in the country per the AP even after losing to the Wolverines. Michigan also maybe got a bit better (their final AP ranking would improve from No. 6 in '91 to No. 5 in '92), but there was no major shift in talent for either school. Yet a team that squashed Michigan like a proverbial bug wasn't good enough for a more-seasoned Wolverine squad a season later.
Turnaround No. 2: On March 7, 2010, Michigan basketball (men's team) played at the Breslin. They were down 32-14 by the end of the first half and lost 64-48. Neither Manny Harris nor DeShawn Sims could crack double digits in scoring. The team shot 35% from the field and was out-rebounded by nine - and none of these statistics capture the hopelessness that I felt during that game. It was like watching a boa constrictor choke a golden retriever to death. You'd like the dog to survive, but you know the he's just not built to get out of that sort of thing.
On January 27, 2011, Michigan headed back to MSU to face All-Big Ten guard Kalin Lucas and the Spartans. Having lost Harris and Sims, Michigan went into the game knowing they'd have to rely on Darius Morris, freshman Tim Hardaway, Jr., and these guys:
(I don't know why there is no space between the photo and the gif. I'm no bronxblue with this stuff.)
Likely all but the really young among us remember what happened. Zack Novak started out hot - he'd hit six threes in the game - and politely suggested that the Wolverines could win the f-ing game if they stayed fired up (see above). Stu Douglass later knocked down a three-pointer to seal the win off a feed from Morris, and the Wolverines prevailed 61-57. I'm still not sure how Coach Beilein & Co. pulled that off, because it didn't make sense to my non-expert eyes. And it was all the more fun for being so unexpected.
Conclusion: I was going to do one of these for the '08 and '09 Notre Dame games, where Michigan went from being fairly pathetic in South Bend in '08 to beating the Irish in '09 despite the fact that ND had Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, and Jimmy Clausen (who, say what you will, was a 2nd round pick in the NFL draft). But everyone gets the idea, and I need to eat dinner.
Sometimes you seem to be very far away from being able to beat a rival, and sometimes you beat them the next year anyway. I offer the above to suggest that the Wolverines may not be as far off from beating OSU as it seems right now. Sometimes minor shifts in talent happen, your team gets a little older, your little-recruited leader has a You shall not pass! moment, and you finally kill the damn bar.