I watched a mashup of Michigan highlights against Ohio State on YouTube yesterday. The video quality was really poor. I thought about how somebody should remix the videos in HD to make it more pleasing to the eye. Then I realized that the videos were so bad because there hasn't been a highlight of a Michigan-Ohio State game that Michigan has won that was shot in HD. That's how long it's been. Incoming freshman at the University of Michigan were in 7th grade the last time Michigan beat Ohio State. I might as well have been watching UCLA basketball videos from the 70's. That's the sad truth about this rivalry. There isn't one. God I want that back.
This ain't easy. A hole has been dug, and no matter how much we lack in talent, and despite this being only the second year of our Coach's tenure, everybody...and I mean everybody, is pointing fingers and looking for answers from this staff. Things are beginning to compound. The buyout, practice-gate, the worst defense ever to take the field, and the losses...my god the losses. Momentum is building against Rich Rodriguez. Even if you believe, as I do, that this was the right choice, that Coach Rodriguez is the man for this job and will take us to new heights, you can't be certain how long we can hold off the barbarians at the gate.
Of all the Michigan traditions that we hold so dear, winning is the only one that really means anything. You can cover the scoreboard with advertisements, pipe in rap music, and have the team wear gold jerseys as they run out of smoke filled tunnel to the sound of cannon fire...if at the end of the game, Michigan has more points than their opponent, you won't give a shit. You won't spend a week talking about whether Rich Rodriguez understands the rivalry with Ohio State. I mean, seriously, do you expect him to? He's from West Virginia. Why would he understand our unique situation, our 100+ years of epic battles, and the hatred that goes along with it? How can I expect him to have the understanding that even I have? I saw Charles Woodson fight David Boston, he saw it on Sportscenter because he WAS COACHING ANOTHER TEAM. I understand the rivalry because I've had things thrown at me in Columbus. I've endured the wrath of angry Buckeyes whose lack of brains can only be matched by their lack of teeth, managing to slur out a "fuck you" as I made my way to the stadium. How did understanding this rivalry become a requirement for being a Michigan coach? I'll tell you what, Stan Parrish understands this rivalry. And I sure as hell don't want him pacing my sideline. A better example...Nick Saban knew absolutlely nothing about Auburn vs. Alabama when he took over for the Crimson Tide. He probably still doesn't, because he's already worrying about winning national championships, not about the Tigers.
But, whatever, it's really all moot. We are seemingly on the brink of disaster, even though we shouldn't be. Patience doesn't seem to exist here. Ohio State is not a must win, but it is a MUST COMPETE. If we get blown out, they will be waiting with pitchforks at Schembechler Hall. And the thing is, we've been blownout by lesser teams already, which makes an impossible situation even more, well, impossible. I'm having a lot of trouble coming to grips with the fact that I think they are going to do it. I didn't think we were that dumb as a fanbase. Hell, Jaime Morris even made up with Jim Harbaugh this week. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. We are on the doorstep of the Michigan apocalypse.
And imagine being Rich Rodriguez. How much more of this do you really want? The roller coaster of love-hate-love-hate-reallyreallyhate has got to be taking its toll. And now you are faced with a group of players, some of which that because of outside influences and previous regime loving parents don't even believe in you or your system, and you have to look at them and motivate them, and you have to ask them for all intents and purposes, to save your face, to save your job. It's too early for this people....just too early.
One game. One game against the most talented team you've faced all season. One game for all the marbles.
Those that say Michigan has nothing to play for on Saturday couldn't be more wrong. Those that say this year's edition of The Game doesn't have the panache of previous seasons don't understand what is happening here in Ann Arbor. When it's all said and done, this game may be the single most important Michigan-Ohio State game ever played.
With one miracle, one upset, everything can change.
And yes, I do believe in miracles.
GO BLUE! BEAT THE BUCKEYES!