The most sought after manila envelope in the free world arrived in my mailbox today, and earlier than I ever remember. And the switch flipped. It's no longer too far away to talk about. Perhaps the prices tell a story. Utah and Miami of Ohio are worth but $50 of your hard earned money, while Wisconsin earns itself a $9 premium. And oooooh pretty, that Wisconsin ticket is fully adorned in maize, indicating that the illustrious "Maize Out" is in effect for September 27th. $9 premium for the Illini's visit as well, which is also stamped with the word HOMECOMING. Back to $50 when the Rockets roll up on 23 for that mid-season MAC-tastic matchup. $65 for Michigan State, the crown jewel of the home season, followed by a $55 pricetag on the home finale with Northwestern.
A fleeting four weeks from now, the anticipation will consume us as we pine for answers to so many questions. The scary thing is that the answers to the questions will change over the course of this 30 days. But we've been here before. We are better left in the dark. Surprises work for us. And we are about to get our fair share of surprises, and of a higher magnitude than ever before. The type of magnitude that makes Matt Gutierrez not starting an insignificant blip on the radar of Michigan history. The type of magnitude that makes the surprise entrance of a midget of a man named Mike Hart midway into a loss at Notre Dame a fleeting memory. There are names you don't know, or perhaps that you know but only as printed on paper. Some of these names will become faces. Some of these faces will become heroes.
You can find me here waiting. Waiting as a Youtube legend and a man that may contend to lead this pack of Wolverines on offense take their first steps on campus. With them, 22 more fresh faced signees are scheduled to arrive...yes, that's a total of 24 brand new players...ready to be given direction by our new leader of men. A man that wasn't hired to be the lovable old man with the dusty playbook filled with tradition, but to continue the only tradition that matters to anyone...winning. He, like us, has only 30 days. While we wait, he will mold young minds to believe in and learn a system. While we wait, The Barwis will mold bodies into machines that are faster and stronger than they ever have been.
In 30 days, they will come together. They will pour out of that tunnel and touch that banner. They will pile up in that imperfect perfect circle near the sideline. Then, and only then, will you find the answers to your questions.
Practice starts Monday.