What Are We Watching?

Michigan knocked off the undefeated and #14 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday 10-3, and in many ways that was an important thing. The first win that resides in the positive column of 2019’s resume. Something to hang your hat on, as long as you don’t share the box score. A festive homecoming crowd watched their team persevere with their backs against the wall, with the alternative to victory being worse than just defeat, perhaps a downward spiral that would have had the Michigan faithful using their fingers to see if there’s enough winnable games left to make the Wolverines bowl eligible.

The road ahead is tough, and despair is still very much in play. Because in both victory and defeat, Michigan does not pass the eye test. Cheers to the defense for returning to that 2018 mid-season form minus a seemingly endless number of converted 3rd and longs, but the offense wishes it was only as bad as it was last year. The biggest win of the year, and I’m sitting here telling you Michigan is in deep shit.

Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Shea is a mental mess, Jim is either completely delusional or press-conference-pathological. Shea surrenders the pocket collapse long before it actually does. Reads are rushed, passes are bad. He’s got no confidence in the OL, which I get because it’s not that good, but there are some opportunities in there. They hold the pocket long enough, some of the time. And it’s those times where it’s just absolutely criminal that the ball doesn’t end up in the air in the area of one of the many elite receivers just running around back there ready to out maneuver, out jump, out body any member of the defensive backfield. The consensus best QB in the B1G going into the season is floating around the bottom. He is the #11 rated passer in the conference. And only 3 QBs have fewer touchdowns. I don’t know how you fix this.

But of course, I don’t mind winning while we wait to see if things can turn around. Pretty nice to have an opponent come to town and NOT have their best game or some miracle play that ends up punishing Michigan for not putting them away when they should have. And Michigan certainly DID NOT PUT THEM AWAY WHEN THEY SHOULD HAVE, LIKE 100 TIMES. And they almost paid for it, when on the last play, Stanley, falling backwards switched the ball to his left hand and completed a pass that had middle finger to Michigan written all over it. Didn’t happen this time though. Survive and advance?

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Trap game in Illinois on the horizon. The Illini are serviceable and need a season maker. Michigan is everyone’s favorite season maker.

Don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen in Happy Valley. And I accidentally caught the 2nd quarter of MSU - OSU, where I pondered what the record is for all-purpose yards by a quarterback in a game, and by how many yards Fields is going to surpass that record Thanksgiving weekend.

Get Better Blue. Surprise me.

Way Back When-sday Has Seen Michigan Win in Iowa

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October 22, 2005: The crew gathers before Michigan’s 23-20 victory over the Hawkeyes. This was the first back to back wins of the season, moving Michigan to 3-2 in the Big Ten and 5-3 overall. That’s all kinds of meh. I had kind of forgotten about the details of the 2005 Wolverines and their 7-5 season, the worst under Lloyd Carr. Interesting year that included losing the little brown jug at home and that Alamo Bowl loss to Nebraska, but also included nipping MSU in East Lansing in OT, and battling a top 10 OSU team, leading them by 9 with less than 8 minutes to play before choking it away.

Welcome. Everything is Fine.

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There’s probably a great post to be written using The Good Place as a metaphor for Michigan Football, and Ted Danson is Urban Meyer being nice but really is the devil and some other clever shit. Unfortunately for you, my less than 100 readers, I am not that guy. But hey, submit your own Michigan fan fiction to me anytime. Moving on…

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Michigan dismantled Rutgers on Saturday, 52-0, giving us everything we expected to see…ON AUGUST 31st.  If you are looking for hope, perhaps you can conjure a scenario where this whole early season debacle is just a delay. A delay with a bright future and strong finish and Beat Ohio and all that rah rah jazz.  Hell, maybe this whole program direction is just predicated on delays.

Delayed getting hungry Harbaugh when we hired Hoke

Delay in preparation for the Utes in ’15, and ND in ’18.

Delay in ousting Drev and Pep.

Delay in adding a little zone D prior to OSU ’18.

And the big delay elephant in the room: year five, no rings.

Oh, and probably should have kept a little slice of last year’s Offensive game plan around in case of extreme difficulty implementing the new one prior to commencing the Big Ten slate. Welp.

Delay.

And so instead of being primed and prepped for the middle meat of the 2019 season, Michigan enters a gauntlet of a month with their team perhaps just starting to find its way, and that’s only based on looking somewhat organized against a team that dismissed their coach a few hours later.  

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Unfortunately, there’s just no time to get it together anymore for Michigan.  October commences with an Iowa team with just 15 wins against Michigan in over a hundred years…but nearly half of which have happened in the last 20 years.  With the schedule gaps of the Big 14, they have sporadically owned Michigan in the 21st century.  

A couple weeks later Michigan heads to Happy Valley for a white out, to a venue that hasn’t been kind to the Wolverines since Lloyd roamed the sidelines.  Then a Notre Dame team that took Georgia to its limits and is desperately looking to avoid a playoff-eliminating 2nd loss comes to town.  Doesn’t look great.

So ya, no expectations, that’s your ticket to sanity.  And no real vision of what’s going to happen the next time this team gets punched in the mouth.  We just don’t know anymore.

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But we do know this:  Iowa will be throwing blows.  Michigan has shown little ability to be able to fight back in the face of adversity since last year’s Northwestern comeback.  How do they learn to take a punch and give it back?  Well, I figure we pay the world’s most dedicated Michigan Man $7 million to figure that out, and there’s nothing we can do but cheer (occasionally) and watch.  

Yep, still basically hanging my hat on magical bullshit.  





Pictures From the Party Before Wisconsin Took Michigan to Pound Town