Trying To Look Forward

So, I've watched Michigan vs. Western Michigan like five times.  Which is to say I've watched the first half like ten times, Denard's run about 20 times, and that perfect pass from Tate to Junior about 25 times.  The importance of that game, at the time it took place, was so paramount.  I can only hope that it becomes the opening act on something amazing... something that shocks the world of college football.  Because that's why we tailgate, that's why I'll be up until 3am tonight starting 12 racks of baby backs, that's why we follow this team with such passion.  We want our expectations exceeded. It's something so rare for a program of our stature, that I can only think of one time that it happened.  But if it ever were to happen again, it's in this season, where our expectations are so low that we are hoping to break even, or to just make a bowl.

But after one game, that's not enough anymore.  We have one game to challenge us in the month of September.  One game that will change everything.  One game in which we find ourselves as the underdog.  One game in which we can truly exceed expectations.  And that game is this Saturday.  If Michigan beats Notre Dame, a team that is as overhyped as it has ever been (and that's saying something), the Wolverines will effectively have three weeks of bliss before going into East Lansing.  They will be ranked.  They will be on the tips of the tongues of every talking head in the business.  They will be 4-0.

It is then that they will then have to live up to new expectations.

Let's enjoy this time, while we are still unsure, while we still have no expectations, while we still have questions.  Was Western just that bad?  Was the way things clicked so well just a fluke?  How will this very young team respond to adversity?

If Michigan loses, will you still be ALL-IN?

Notre Dame brings a portly coach and a fruity quarterback into Ann Arbor, with a supporting cast that is a year older and wiser than the team we faced last year.  We, for all intents and purposes, are a year or two younger and dumber.  If the past wasn't the past, if Notre Dame wasn't returning to glory, and Michigan wasn't coming off of a 3-9 season, Notre Dame on paper, from man to man, is more talented and more experienced.  But on Saturday, Notre Dame is bringing with it the weight of the complete demise of a program, and the weight of Charlie Weis, who will probably never hear his home crowd chant his name.  We'd like to think we've exercised our demons, that the one year was a fluke, that we will get better every week, that Rich Rodriguez's system will work.  And it's because we believe...because we will be behind our team at home, and because our guys are just young enough not to understand the gravity of the matchup and just want to play football...that we are in a better position to win.

To hell with Notre Dame.