On Playing With House Chips

Submitted by MGoPietrowski on September 13th, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Let's just take a short, much deserved moment to step back out of the normal game week things we do, and look at the big picture. Now, I understand that the big picture has been looked at multiple times on this blog, In fact, my eyes are burning. But please permit me this.

Last Saturday was a surreal experience, even when witnessed from my couch in Evansville, Indiana, 500 miles south from where most of you got to sit. I'll just say that I firmly believe most of the Irish fans that are calling us lucky. No matter which way you look at it, when there were 30 seconds on the clock, I knew that even Christ Jesus couldn't pull it off by himself, but I knew we were going to, somehow.

This whole season is one big transition, which is kind of awesome, and kind of blows. On one hand, while there is still a glimmer of hope that we'll be smelling roses in a few months, most of us realists have come to terms with the fact that that just won't be the case, no matter how wrong we'd like to be. On the other hand, we don't have to spend every minute of every game tight-sphinctered wondering if we're finally going to have ten wins, if this is the game that got our coach ousted (whether we wanted it or not) or who was going to be the next man to take the field as Head Coach this coming September. 

Folks, we are indeed playing with house chips.

We've already played a game that officially never happened. We also played another game that was so exciting that inmates in third world countries are talking about it. But as far as the rest of the season, what say we just enjoy this short amount of time when irrational expectations, over amped theories on what WE SHOULD DO THIS YEAR, and the general hub-bub of those amazing ESPN sooth seers who can not only predict the future, but don't lose their head at the request of the king after they are wrong year after year, when all of this nonsense that is sure to come, has decided to leave us alone for at least a little while. 

Let's just sit back, and crack open our cans, and sing "The Victors" for the first time in a while, without a doom cloud hanging over us. 

Here's to Hoke, in all of his stoic glory.

Here's to Denard, who I'd let date my daughter and I don't even have one yet.

Here's to that defense that wants so badly to be better at what they do.

And here's to waking up at 8am on that chilly late-November morning, my stomach wrenched in nervous tension, waiting for Ohio, and the only expectation i have of this season, or any season ever....winning on that day, that can be both macabre or marvelous, in every sense of the word.



September 13th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

I am just sitting back and taking this year in without much expectations.  As flawed as it was...it was a great win!  As flawed as Denard is....he seems like a great person and he is an exceptional athlete.  Most exciting player I have seen in quite some time.


September 13th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

...but it's pretty obvious that Brady Hoke doesn't care whose chips are on the table, and that he has some pretty high expectations.  I am still enjoying this game, too, and might enjoy it all the way up to the game against Sparty.  

The bottom line, though, is that I expect this team to win at least nine games.  The cupboard is full on offense, the team now has a majority of upperclassmen, Michigan is finally paying the correct salary for a world-class DC, and Borges is starting to look like the OC that many hoped he could be when he was announced.  

After seeing the improved defense and the way the offense is going, I am now asking myself one question: 

Is there a game on the schedule that Michigan can't win?  I'm not predicting an undefeated season, but every game now looks winnable.  Adding the "coin toss" games and the "shit happens" games together, that works out to about 9 wins.  But I wouldn't be surprised with 10 or 11 if a few things go right.


September 13th, 2011 at 1:27 PM ^

i see where you're coming from. in reality, no team is ever the same during the final few weeks of the season that it was during the first. i have major hope in Mattison, who makes adjustments after a touchdown or at half time, versus a guy like Gerg, who seemed to wait until the following Spring to make adjustments, if any.

Maize and Blue…

September 13th, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

Totally disagree with you on him.  The O didn't look good against WMU and for three quarters against ND our longest drive was FOUR plays.  Four friggin plays!  I know they want to play a West Coast style offense but doing that to Denard is like using Secretariat as a plow horse. Luckily for us, ND's DBs didn't know where the ball was or three of our TDs could have been negated.

Has the D really improved?  We gave up more points to WMU than two years ago when we had hardly anything coming back and more points to ND this year than last.  We are getting TOs which is very positive, but it's not like we are stopping people with any regularity.  I do expect the D to continue to get throughout the season.


September 13th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

I'm sticking with 9-3. Is our defense good enough to win a B1G championship? No. Is our offense good enough, maybe. We'll beat mediocre teams (EMU, MINN...) we'll stumble against someone (i.e. NW or Ill) and we'll surprise a team or two (NEB and OSU).

I'm thinking Outback bowl at this point. If the defense improves we could do some real damage in the B1G. 


September 13th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

"We've already played a game that officially never happened."

I heard the NCAA may not include the stats from the Western game but never heard anything that the game was not going to count.  Has anyone else heard an official word on this?  Are we 2-0 or 1-0?


September 13th, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

This is something that perplexes me.  Our team has defeated ND three years in a row and during the waning moments of all three games.  Within that stretch each team has played under two different coaching regimes.  The Irish have had their new staff in place for two of the three years; our staff has just entered its first season.  And yet we prevailed again and with talent that many observers believe is inferior to ND.  The ND fans need to cease with the mewling.  The ND football program has been overrated since practically forever.  It wasn't "luck" but gritty determination and never-say-die attitude characteristic of Michigan that allowed our team to win.  Again.


September 13th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

I agree with that statement for the first two years. This year, however, it Rees hadn't fumbled near the endzone late in the fourth quarter, we'd have been dead meat. He wasn't hit, and was hardly pressured if you look at the picture. He flat out mis-handled the ball. We had no control over that. It was either luck or god. But hell, i'll take it.


September 13th, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

We turned the ball over plenty, too, unfortunately.  During the final seconds, the Irish left Gallon uncovered and he reeled the ball in with no defender.  Roundtree clutched after the Irish defended against the corner fade even though Roundtree telegraphed he wasn't running that.  It was my impression the Irish convinced themselves that we would settle for a field goal.  That's mental or coaching error in my book given how the prior two years games had ended.  Both sides experienced "luck" if we view it your way I think.  0.02


September 13th, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

Lloyd always used to say that "luck is when preparation meets opportunity."  I realize it's a cliche but I always liked that phrase because it's a good way of crediting your players while still acknowledging that you benefited from a few things that may have arisen in spite of the odds.