Back in August, 7-0 and heading to East Lansing was the expectation, and that's where we are. The competition was slightly stiffer than we thought it was going to be though. Well, maybe that's not the way to say it. A better analysis is that the teams we played turned out to be better at playing teams other than Michigan than previously prognosticated. But for those that poopooed the perceived weakness of Michigan's non-conference, everybody we played is over .500, and Colorado is for real and ranked. Our first two Big Ten games included pistol whipping the 2nd best team in the East, and smothering the best team in the West. This was followed by two cupcakes that accounted for a combined 211 total yards and 8 total points over two games.
On Saturday specifically, Michigan had the ball (yes, time of possession is a dumb stat, but...) for 41+ minutes. That's crazy. They had 29 first downs to Illinois's 6. Michigan gave the impression that they were literally f***ing with them. It was like a practice, or a scrimmage to work out some kinks for a more important contest down the road. Let's see if we can perfect our slant timing and then feature De'Veon a bit to give him a chance to up his draft status...go. De'Veon ended up getting outshined by Higdon, who had Fournette-esque YPC, but Wilton made us all perk up a bit. And man, there were some straight money play calls. Open dudes everywhere. Opposing linebackers in full surrender cobra out of confusion.
There's two kinds of undefeated out there folks, the kind that Nebraska has, and the kind that Alabama has. The former features three or four coin flips that all land on heads and keep you undefeated. The latter makes people ask if you can beat the Cleveland Browns.
Michigan is the latter.
And while our first seven dispatched opponents have proven to be better than we thought, our final five foes are not meeting preseason expectations. The impossible juggernaut of three road games against the Big Ten's top three teams has been reduced to one road game against the Big Ten's worst team, one road game against the West's most disappointing team, and one road game against a team that lost to a team that Michigan beat 49-10.
Again, no doubt there are scary moments that will arise on the way to Columbus, but straight fear of losing anything before November 26th is all but gone, and fear of the day itself has waned. I don't know how to express this in a way that isn't super presumtive or jinx-making in nature, so I'm just going to let it lie. But I will tell you to get your ass to one of the two remaining home games. This is not normal. This team is special. We may dream that this will be the norm under horn-rimmed Jim, but there are no guarantees. Could be another 20 years. Could be never.
Enjoying the ride.