It's been a long autumn. If you missed the trip to Minnesota (which based on the crowd there, you did) then your last viewed sliver of positivity as a Michigan fan came on September 27th. That's a long time ago. And this just in...you've got the longest wait EVER for a chance to peek at victory again.
This fanbase is starving.
This night for me, for the better part of a decade, has meant airplane reservations, hotel reservations, and citysearching for the best steakhouse. The BCS selection show has come and gone, and Michigan was unmentioned. The other bowl selections have come and gone, and Michigan has gone unmentioned. The reality should have sunk in weeks, even months ago. But for me, it didn't. It took a full fledged pasting at the hands of the Buckeyes to show just how far away we are, and effectively shut down this blog for the better part of two weeks.
Enter the smelling salts....
Far be it from me to attempt to find solace in one sport through another, but it's important to recognize that while every Michigan Football fan is not necessarily a Michigan Basketball fan, every Michigan Basketball fan IS a Michigan Football fan. That's why on Saturday, the Maize Rage gave Yankee bleacher style recognition to Rich and Rita. That's why the arena cam found its way to Lloyd and Laurie, resulting in a raucous standing ovation. That's why, as a group of athletes wearing maize and blue did the unthinkable, and the court was smothered in joyous celebration, it was impossible to make the comparisons/assumptions between our two West Virginia bred coaches.
But we shouldn't make this about football today. Michigan knocked off Duke on Saturday for the first time since 1997. On that day 11 years ago, we were just two weeks removed from rushing the field after beating the Buckeyes and completing an undefeated regular season. We knew exactly what to do when we knocked off #1 Duke...we rushed the court. That night, Charles Woodson won the Heisman trophy. It was a great weekend. This, my friends, was also a great weekend. What it means with regards to the remainder of the season and hopes of a tournament birth remains to be seen, but what it means right now is not in question. National recognition...recruits in attendance...a sold-out Crisler arena...two victories over top-5 opponenets...Michigan Basketball is back on the map.