My priorities and responsibilities are different than yours. Perhaps what you do is considered "real life" by definition, and what I do is frivolous and irresponsible. You're the ant. I'm the grasshopper. You probably think about the future in terms of retirement planning and putting your kids through college, while I can't see past the 2012 recruiting boards and the Luau tailgate menu.
And perhaps Rich Rodriguez to you is just some slick weasel car salesman that understands nothing about the tradition and pageantry of Michigan Football...a cheater...DickRod...etc. To me, he's a misunderstood offensive genius, a master recruiter, and an all around great guy. Seriously, how is he still pulling in high-starred recruits when 75% of America thinks he won't be here in December?
They're saying this is the most important year in the history of Michigan Football. I couldn't disagree more. First of all, 1997 was the most important year in the history of Michigan Football. And I think to pass judgement on a year of college football before it occurs is a little ignorant. I mean, if Michigan goes 8-5, 9-4, or even 7-6, Rodriguez will be retained, and this year will just be another year. We're moving forward. If we go somewhere in the vicinity of 3-9, and Rodriguez is canned, then the most important season is the coming offseason, when we decide whether to bring in Harbaugh to lead the team 25 years after he, well, lead this team. In reality, the only way this becomes the most important season in Michigan history is if we go 13-0, 12-1, or 11-2. In this scenario, Rodriguez is retained, becomes instantly beloved as the haters begin to swoon pretending they were supportive of the regime all along, and recruiting becomes so easy, John L. Smith could do it. National Championships follow, and we all live happily ever after. But let me be Frank with you, 13-0, 12-1 and 11-2...they're not happening.
I believe this will be a normal Michigan Football season. For the uninformed, a normal Michigan Football season is 8-4. We love 8-4. However, with these 13-game seasons (14 next year!) 8-4 doesn't really apply, so I'll say 8-5. And while 8-5 is classified as normal with regards to the 90's, understand that this will be an AMAZING improvement over the last two years, in fact, it would flirt with miraculous. You might say that going out on a limb predicting 8 wins is just like predicting National Championships every year from 1998 through 2007.
I did that too.
I've dedicated the better part of my life to having the best possible time...at all times...and view the pinnacle of each and every year as those 12 faithful Saturdays in the fall. In my time as a devotee, I have felt so many different types of pain that my psyche should probably be studied by a professional. Clearly too many instances to mention here. Besides, most of you have felt the same pain, at the same time. Michigan Football hurts.
But everything is different now.
The past has been filled with over-promising and under-delivering...high rankings proven undeserved. We used to be so disappointed in them when they would lose that first game, undoubtedly a game they weren't supposed to lose. We'd curse their effort, mock the gameplan, blame the officiating. It's funny, I always imagined, though never thought possible, the arrival of this day of reckoning. In my dreams it hurt worse. Maybe it's because I'm older, but this pain doesn't have the intensity of the past pain. Toledo was a breeze to overcome when compared to App State. Losing to Northwestern in 2008 was childsplay (weather aside) by comparison to when they nipped us with a last second field goal in 1996, or when Train fumbled in 2000.
We used to spend all of our time looking for answers: Why does John Navarre throw balls off of lineman's heads?!? Why does Jeremy LeSeur bite on that fake every time?!? Why do we run 5 yard outs on 3rd and 8?!?
We never did figure anything out.
Today the answers are simple: We start walk-ons on defense, our defense sucks, and we turn the goddamn ball over too much.
With all of our great history it's difficult to admit that we are starting over. A bonafied underdog. Off the radar. Not a single preseason magazine even teases us as a sleeper. Not one even has us above fifth place in the Big Ten. We are humbled in a way that we never thought could happen. Let me ask you this...do you think they'd be discussing moving The Game if we had been a little more competitive the last two seasons? And don't pretend we were in it last year just because they decided to play Tresselball at halftime.
Perhaps now we won't take anything for granted. Perhaps we will pay attention. Cheer first downs. Stand up and fight for a team that needs us. Don't you think it might be time to support a coach that should be creating masterful gameplans instead of trying to appease a bunch of spoiled assholes worrying about who is wearing the stupid #1 jersey.
It's time to play. Welcome to my life.