It doesn't matter what anyone says. Winning IS everything.
I can't really express my pre-game feeling in words. I guess "looking ahead" would be the best way to describe it. Looking ahead to the next regime. Looking ahead to the end of the vanilla offense. Pining for the spread, and dreaming that we'll find a way to stop it...next year. I was already dejected before the game was even played. Sad at the way Carr and this group of highly touted seniors exited the regular season, and dreading the way we were going to look on this New Year's Day against a team that we were grossly overmatched by. This was going to be Oregon. This was going to be App State. This was going to be a day to forget. And when a confused Brandon Minor fielded the hooking opening kickoff and stepped out of bounds at the seven, I wouldn't have argued if someone told me it was time to leave.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
For one day...one cloudy south Florida day, Michigan was everything you've wanted them to be for the last ten years. Fast. Unpredictable. Spread out. Florida looked confused on defense, couldn't keep up with our receivers, and had no answer for a balanced attack that came out in more formations in a single game than I have seen in the last 100. It was the football equivalent of a greatest hits album with a couple of obligatory "previously unreleased bonus tracks." We did it all, and we did it with a swagger that created more confidence with each passing tick of the clock. It was the most amazing offensive performance by a Michigan team that I have ever witnessed.
The defense was equally impressive. And again, gave you everything you have been clamoring for. They got to Tim Tebow on seemingly every play, forcing bad throws, getting some sacks, and not letting him out of the pocket. No one was left wide open. Tackles were made...and finished. On option plays, it was as if all 11 members of the defense shifted in unison to the point of the pitch, laying out both the pitch man and the option back. But the play of the day on defense, in my opinion came in the second quarter. After Michigan tied the game at 14 on a Henne keeper, Florida's first play from scrimmage saw Percy Harvin break free down the sideline, certainly headed for a touchdown. But he was caught from behind after 66-yards by Morgan Trent at the Michigan 14-yard line. Yes, Morgan Trent. And Percy...he stayed down for a bit, and wasn't the same the rest of the day. And while it was just one of many statements made throughout the day by the Wolverines, it was perhaps the most potent. Florida failed to get into the endzone on that drive, and saw their field goal attempt blocked. Then Michigan got a penalty for excessive celebration. We're here. We're as fast as you are. And we're gonna shove that fact up your ass until we get a 15-yard penalty.
Such a complete game. So many heroes of the conquering variety. This is what it feels like to see potential realized. This is winning. Winning despite turnovers. A winning gamplan.
Winning is everything, because on a day full of final performances, it is so much better to be able to say "goodbye" than to say "good riddance."