November 18, 2000: Drew Henson scores as Michigan defeats the Buckeyes 38-26 in Columbus.
This is more disconnected thoughts than a post, but I've got no time for editing this week, so take it as it is.....
Limping into The Game with a lackluster performance against the Hoosiers and an untested and eye-test (buzzword!) failing quarterback is not ideal. Unfortunately, that's the way it is. Michigan underperformed on Saturday. The offense was anemic. The defense had weaknesses. They just didn't look very good, and the drop off to O'Korn was larger than expected, if you are comparing him to pre-Iowa Speight. The reality is that they have underperformed for the better part of the second half of the regular season. This is not new to those of us that have been around for a while. Michigan performs below our expectations most of the time, and most of the time it's because our expectations are too high. We all need to accept that wins are wins. And that teaching points in victory are better than having to learn from defeat. Many a team has snuck by lesser opponents to steal a shot at the title and won.
We've been pointing to November 26th for a while. I said before there'd be some scary moments along the way, and there were. We lost to Iowa. OSU had plenty of their own problems, including a complete bed-shitting in State College and a near miss last weekend to America's best 8-loss team. These things happen. Perfection is pretty damn unattainable in college football these days, even for Alabama. There's too many games to expect a team like ours (or OSU, Bama, etc) to overcome the opponent's absolute best shot each week. The world is looking for a '72 Miami Dolphins performance with each passing year. Undefeated is rarified air when you've got 15(!) games. And the playing field is pretty level at the top.
But I submit to you, fair Michigan fan, that this is the best team Michigan has had in a long time. At least 10 years, and probably more like 19. And it's the best coached team in 26 years. They completed a perfect home slate by holding the Indiana offense to their season low output. They did it with a vanilla package and taking little or no chances. They have a defense that is nationally ranked in the top 10 in every category. And defense wins championships dammit!
They can win on Saturday. They should win on Saturday. Big Ten Championships are the goal, and we haven't had one since 2004. A loss makes the season a failure. No time for stepping stones. No time for looking at the big picture. Win now. Win the rest. Beat Ohio. Get a ring. Go Blue!