October 18, 2008: The chuggler, a necessity during the Rich Rod area, makes an appearance in Happy Valley before the Wolverines fall 46-17 to the Nittany Lions. More pictures and recaps are on the game page here.
If this post seems like an internal point-counterpoint, that's because I have two voices in my head: One that booked hotels at all final four venues, and one that is protecting me from inevitable disappointment.
Our fair Wolverines, who are always "just focused on improving," seemed to take a step back each week of the non-conference portion of the schedule as the competition got tougher and tougher. As the first quarter of the regular season comes to an end and we gear up for Big Ten play, the "eye-test" isn't making us all warm and fuzzy about being led to the promised land by our former quarterback turned head coach messiah. But that's because we're fickle assholes that think anything less than perfection is the end of the world. Man, I'll be damned if I'm going to sit here and bitch about winning the first three games of the season by a combined score of 159-45. You'd be hard pressed to find a team that wouldn't switch places with us.
HOWEVA... It seems we're currently susceptible to the big play. A combination of a lack of Jourdan Lewis and the fellas adjusting to the Don Brown aggressive-style defense has burned us a few times this year, and needs improvement.
HOWEVA #2... The line isn't pushing like we would like it to. Granted, I'm not sure it ever could after the expectation of holes bigger than Scott Frost's mom's mouth were set in the Hawaii game. But when Wilton got his bell rung, we needed to be able to run the ball until he got his shit together, and we couldn't.
AND YET... Colorado scored one touchdown after the first quarter, one of their touchdowns were defensive, and they only had one sustained drive all day (10 plays, 67 yards). Michigan survived a wobbly Speight that went 3 of 12 for a stint, and still managed to Jabril the shit out of them for a 17-point victory, outscoring them 38-7 in the final three quarters.
AND YET #2... Michigan averaged 4.1 yards per rush. Sure, they did it with some jet sweeps, and with Ty Isaac finding his way out to the edge, but it's still 4.1 yards per carry. And we held the Buffs to 1.9 YPC.
AND YET #3... Doc Lessner told me special teams wins ballgames. Ours is so good that it shanked two field goals and still would win the best unit award for the day. By mid-season, teams are not just going to kick punts out of bounds (when they're not blocked), they're going to kick the ball off out-of-bounds.
So we move in to the Big Ten, scoffing at arguably the most successful pre-conference results we've ever had. We host Penn State on Saturday, who last week honored a man in their pre-game that provided safe harbor to a pedophile for the better part of 40-years. It will be a new and (according to Vegas) slightly tougher challenge than the last, continuing the perfect step-by-step schedule put together by the ultimate schedule architect...Dave Brandon. I got $100 that says if Michigan wins any type of championship this year, he orders himself a ring.
The Tailgate, The Tailgate, The Tailgate: Wild Game
The rain kept the bulk of the crowd away until mid-day, but the handful of us that were there filled our bellies with Duck Confit Hash and bacon for breakfast . It ramped up in a hurry towards the end as buffalo burgers, buffalo wings, and wild game jerkies filled the tables.
Next week is a 90's theme tailgate: Music provided by the famous 90's DJ's: 4th Dimension DJ and Video. Wear your 90's Wolverines gear. Food is TBD (is there 90's food?)