As much as I want this to be 1995 or 1996 or 1997 - wow, that was a good run - John Cooper is not walking through that door. And maybe that's not fair, to focus on the ineptitude of the opposition, instead of Michigan's success but it's hard to focus on anything else when we entered "the game" with at least 3 losses and vastly underachieving:
1993 - 6-4 before beating a 9-0-1 Ohio State 28-0
1995 - 8-3 before beating a 11-0 Ohio State 31-23
1996 - 7-3 before beating a 10-0 Ohio state 13-9
These are the most recent upsets our fan base remembers and sadly, that's what we remember, the upsets, because rarely have we been favored in the last 20 years. In fact, we've finished with a better record than the Buckeyes SIX times in that stretch. SIX. And since 1998 we've won FOUR games against Ohio State. Let that sink in...
The "Michigan" people remember fondly is obsolete. Our history rests on the shoulders of a deceased, legendary coach and an aging, surefire NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback.
I am naive however when it comes to what it takes to be successful in college football. But I watched every snap of the Arizona v Oregon game this weekend to see what could have been and there's some genius still out there in college football, even from those we've already deemed inept. So could that genius show up in Ann Arbor Saturday?
Michigan 17 Ohio State 29
I'm tired. I'm like Doc Holliday at the end of Tombstone...that kind of tired. Choking on an unknown disease, reminiscing with Wyatt Earp, remembering better times. But I'm going to show up to the battlefield for my friend, and fight for him...even if I die in the end.
Please boys, not without a fight. Please.
Michigan 28 - Ohio State 38
Feels weird to be talking about the end before we've even begun.
The pundits are predicting that this year's Michigan - Ohio game is just a prelude to a repeat in Indianapolis. This is the last chance for a season rematch before the rich tradition of Legends and Leaders gives way to East and West, putting us in the same division as the Buckeyes. But hey, there's no way to guarantee it won't happen some day in the future...the Big Ten, which made about 2 changes to its makeup in its 100+ year history, is now making about 10 adjustments per season. Between adding teams, naming divisions, creating trophies, and removing Joe Paterno's name from those trophies, the only thing you can count on in the future is that there will be more changes.
Oh well, that doesn't make the last Saturday in November any less important. Our final theme of the season will be Beef, Blazers, and Lasers. Don your favorite unique and/or crested suit jacket. A shirt and tie are not required (though it's not discouraged). Feel free to go with the t-shirt under the blazer look a-la Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Not sure what to tell the ladies to do...lady-blazer? formal wear? You decide. It will be nice to be all dressed up for the 2013 Godfather Tailgating Awards.
There will also be beef. Brisket hash in the early morning and filet mignon in the late morning. Also, lasers. All day lasers. We will bask in the technology of focused light while we chew on cow in our sport coats. This is Michigan.
Selection Sunday is upon us. And OF COURSE there will be a 13th (!?!?) annual UMTailgate.com Tournament Challenge.
There will be no nail-biting anticipation. There's no question, we're in. But we need to get this whole Big Ten Tournament thing out of the way first, right? I was inclined to vote for tanking it and having the boys enjoy a full week off, but yesterday's second half against The Fighting Sanduskys (classless? yup) made me feel better about the tank-job on Sunday (which I paid about $100 to watch over 3G in Columbia). Maybe the BTT can be used to wipe the poor taste from our mouths left from Sunday, or that other PSU game, or the definitively poor last quarter of the season.
- Basketball (26-6, 12-6) vs. Wisconsin (21-10, 12-6): And you thought we wouldn't get to avenge that half-court shot that sent the game to that shitty overtime at the Kohl center. Big Ten Tournament Round Two Action tips off at the United Center at 2:30PM -ESPN.
- Baseball (8-7) at Coastal Carolina (7-10): We're heading to the home of the Chanticleers! First pitch in Myrtle Beach at 4pm. Live audio lives here.
- Hockey (15-18-3, 9-15-3) at Western Michigan (19-9-8, 15-7-6): CCHA quarterfinals action in Kalamazoo. I wonder if the Godfather is going? I wonder who he will be cheering for? 6:35pm on FSD.
- Big Ten Tournament Other Games: Game 5: No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 8 Illinois, 11 a.m., ESPN || Game 7: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Nebraska, 5:30 p.m., BTN || Game 8: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Iowa, 8 p.m.*, BTN
- Basketball vs. Indiana or Illinois: The Big Ten Tournament continues? 12:40PM CBS
- Other BTT Semi-Final: Ohio State or Nebraska vs. Iowa (see what I did there?) 3:00PM CBS
- Baseball at Coastal Carolina: 3pm Live Audio
- Hockey at Western Michigan: Game 2 of the CCHA quarterfinals 7pm...no coverage?
St. Patrick's Day:
- Drinking and Breakfast at Conor Oneill's with your's truly. 7AM
- Basketball vs. Ohio State, Nebraska or Iowa: The BTT finals...2:30PM CBS
- Baseball vs. Akron (in Myrtle Beach) 11:00AM
- NCAA Tournament Selection Announcement 6PM CBS.
- Hockey at Western Michigan (if necessary) 7pm