Weekend Roundup, Down by the River Edition: 9/10/12

Here's what happened around the internets over the weekend while you bought porn instead of ice cream...

The Big UMTailgate in Big D: Eat, Drink and Be Merry Before Kickoff

It seemed like everybody decided with about 3 days before kickoff that they wanted to be a part of the Cowboys Classic, and somehow something I spent six months planning took these people a couple of hours and a couple of layovers to accomplish.  Cheers to you bastards, as we all experienced the same fun (and the same hurt).  So much for being proactive.  We had an amazing...absolutely AMAZING...turnout at the tailgate.  It was bigger than a Gar homegame by noon.  A huge shout out to Bernie, Vik and Manny (the men with the plan) and to our buddy Chris and his locally based crew for squatting at the wee hours of the morning so we had enough room for all the tents.  I think we had more tents than we usually have at our home space.  And with the sun baring down and 100+ on the thermometer, we needed all of them.

The tables were filled with BBQ, the glasses were filled with cocktails, and there was enough cold beer to satiate an army.  And an army is what we had.  The guys in charge made Dallas feel like home.  As we tailgated in the shadows of the house that Jerry built, we were all filled with hope of something magical.  It sucks when the tailgate ends and reality sets in.  Pictures from the long weekend are below, and are also available in the game recap page.

Weekend Roundup, Sticking Around Edition: September 4, 2012

Transient

Penn State played football on Saturday.  They lost to Ohio.  They're in a place, mentally, physically, and as an institution, that is so horrific, that you wouldn't wish it upon your worst enemy.  But they had a packed stadium.  They probably will continue to have a packed stadium for some time.  People in Happy Valley will ride this out.  And someday, someway, Penn State will have some semblance of a comeback as a football team.  And yes, this has nothing to do with Michigan.  And yes, this whole idea of sticktoittiveness having some link to where we are as Michigan fans now that we got our necks stepped on is way too dramatic, if not borderline inappropriate.  Ours is a football problem...but a problem nonetheless.  Alas, we have reached the point in the season (and this won't be the last time) where I bash the team soon after the game, then sleep on it, then look for reasons to make corned beef hash next Saturday morning by citing homer data.

Maybe Alabama is that good.  I give you this from MGoBlog:

Various recent Alabama scores:  2011 Citrus Bowl: Alabama 49, MSU 7...2011 Arkansas: 38-14...2011 Florida: 38-10...2011 Tennessee: 37-6...2011 Auburn: 42-14...National title game: 21-0 over LSU, LSU never crosses midfield.

Maybe Denard wasn't under orders, but instead was reading the impossible-for-Denard-to-run run coverage.  From the Labor Day presser:

Their nickel or their safeties, you could action the other way, they weren’t moving. They were waiting. It could have been the backer, depends if they dropped the safety down or the backer out, drop the safety inside -- they weren’t moving.  -  Brady Hoke

Fitzgerald Toussiant will play against Air Force.  From MLive...

Toussaint's loss was particularly impactful against the Tide, who held Michigan (0-1) to 69 yards rushing. Tailbacks Vincent Smith and Thomas Rawls combined for just 42.  Toussaint surpassed 100 yards rushing in four of his six games last year as the Wolverines' designated featured back. He finished with 1,041 yards on the season, Michigan's first 1,000-yard tailback since Mike Hart in 2007.

We are far from being "back," but the building blocks are here.  From Freep / Maize and Brew:

The only thing to take away from this game is a deeper understanding of what greatness really looks like. Michigan got a glimpse of a truly great team, losing completely and in every aspect of the game. But U-M is also slowly building its program in the image of an Alabama or an LSU. Strong defense matched with an efficient pro-style offense. It may not be there yet -- Saturday showed just how far away things really are -- but if there is hope for Michigan, it is this: The kind of team the Wolverines hope to build exists already.

The goal is still intact.  Angel writes...

What the effect of that loss might be was hard to tell in the moments following the loss. But at least one player, senior safety and team captain Jordan Kovacs while disappointed with the Wolverines' showing, knows that in the end, a loss to Alabama does not have to derail their overall season goals.  Michigan coach Brady Hoke has called last year's 11-2 season with a Sugar Bowl victory a disappointment because the Wolverines did not win the Big Ten title.  Kovacs' point after the Alabama loss was this: The Big Ten championship is still on the table.  "Oregon lost this game (last year) and did the same thing," Kovacs said, referring to the Ducks reaching the Rose Bowl.

Other links:

  • Mark Snyder: U-M Can Recover From Drubbing [Freep] - Not as nice as the article title
  • It's Been A Tad While Since [MVictors] - Amazing historical stat
  • Michigan Basketball 2012-13 Schedule [UMHoops] - Feels so Sparty to put this up
  • What We Learned in Week 1  [ESPN Big Ten Blog] - Very Few Positive Things Regarding Michigan...especially compared to the rest of the Big Ten

Not Ready for Prime Time

As the first quarter came to an end, and the usher came over and gave me a warning that I was going to have to leave if I continued to bellow out f-bombs, the game had already long since been over.  This was not a day where you could pretend to be in the hunt for three and a half quarters and then turn Denard loose for the 1:30 to try to sneak away with a win.  This was not Notre Dame.  This was not the Big Ten.  This was not Virginia Tech.  This was the defending national champions.

Those who continue to chastise RichRod for not creating an offense for the players that remained from Lloyd's tenure and praise Al Borges for letting Denard's talent dictate some of the gameplan need to check themselves.  We chose to move forward with the shoehorning of Denard into the mold of a passing quarterback.  From the not-so-cheap seats, I watched as he tried to throw the football, and let me leave no doubt on what my opinion is....Denard Robinson is easily the worst passing quarterback that has ever played at Michigan.  He had a decent amount of time to make passes.  He had open receivers.  But unfortunately, he refuses to throw the ball without his little backwards hop-step.  Back-footed.  Inaccurate.  The one and only throw from Denard's hand that truly hit the numbers hit the #32 of Alabama linebacker CJ Mosley.

Michigan had a very slim chance of winning on September 1st, but every bit of that chance resided in the abilities of Denard to be Denard, to find some holes, get into the open, and be the direct-snap running back that he truly is.  We chose to not waiver from our goal of winning the Big Ten, save Denard from himself and from injury, and in turn literally chose not to compete in this game.  Unfortunately, the powers that be must not understand the damage that was done on Saturday, and the unique opportunity we had to plant a flag for Michigan in the college football landscape.  And the bitch of it is....we didn't even have to win.  We needed only to NOT get blown out.

Of course, we now will have the typical Michigan recovery period.  Denard will have some kind of huge game on Saturday against Air Force, and we will pretend all is right with THE world.... unfortunately, it will only be alright in OUR world.  On a good note, I think this loss and the way we lost maybe increases our chances to beat Notre Dame.  We might even carry this fake chip on our shoulder through the MSU game.  And fear not, it won't be long before we're overrated again.  Because we play in the Big Ten.  We're built for the Big Ten.  And our goal is the Big Ten.  We might even get ourselves so overrated that we can meet an SEC team in a Bowl Game!  That way, we can get knocked back down to Earth on New Year's and have something to work on for the Spring!  And the cycle continues....

As long as we stay in this little cocoon of ours, we can continue to pretend we're relevant to the world.  But we're not.  We were the punchline again Saturday, and just in case ESPN didn't remind you enough....we were the punchline on the five-year anniversary of the day the world laughed at us hardest.

Goodnight and Good Luck

From RBUAS last year...

He is flawed and yet defiantly indifferent to those flaws. He is not indignant, he just does not care. Restraint is for monks and carpenters and slow-playing a nut hand. He is not a carpenter. He is a blindfolded juggler of flaming chainsaws. Sometimes he completes two passes in an entire half and we run for our lives. But most of the time we watch him and we are cross-eyed buffoons, a stained glass scene in a church window of mortals witnessing the Resurrection.
He runs a bootleg 30 yards just to get to the opposite side of the field. He was running but now he has stopped. He prepares to throw. They know he has not been good at passing tonight and that he should probably be running. He is about to pass anyway. They are chasing you; don’t you see them, Denard? But he is just standing there, completely upright, looking around. Now he is running again. Within the width of five feet he cuts past three people. Left and then right and then left again, hard stomps into the ground. The goal line is right there and he crashes into everyone who is standing in front of it.

He can change this game.  And if we plan to do the impossible, he's going to have to.

All-in.