The bulk of the Michigan faithful stayed around longer than I expected them to, no doubt clinging to the hope that Tate might have another rabbit left in that winged hat. The one redeeming quality of losses of this nature? When games are over just a couple of minutes into the second half, you have a couple of hours to wallow around in it, to make your peace with it before it's actually done. It's cathartic to have to sit in a cold light rain and see two small, white-clad sections of the stadium exchange their "WE ARE"s and "PENN STATE"s. I sat there, wondering how this could have happened...not the 35-10 drubbing, but how I let my expectations change so rapidly after that 4-0 start. More amazing is how I never let them fade after barely nipping Indiana, then falling to MSU and Iowa.
There's something that everyone needs to understand. This is not a very good or even good football team. This is an average football team. They're too young, too inexperienced, and too thin at nearly every defensive position. But being average means that this is certainly not a bad football team, and it is a country mile ahead of where they were last year. Being average means we can beat teams like Notre Dame, we can blow out teams from the MAC, and we can be competitive with the best this league has to offer. Being average also means that we can have our ass handed to us on occasion. Saturday was such an occasion.
Immediately following the loss, those that cheered the new coach after the 4-0 start, and admitted they were wrong for their snap judgment after last season, quickly went back to wanting the return of Lloyd-ball. The haters who had been patiently waiting for...and even wanting a loss like this dusted off their soapboxes. Suddenly the piped in music was hurting their ears, the spread offense became a passing fad, and *gasp* Rich Rod yelled at one of his coaches on the sideline indicating obviously that this whole house is about to come crumbling down.
Someone really needs to shut this whole internet thing down, or at least gag Drew Sharp.
These knee jerk reactions from game to game and this over-analysis of a season, a program and a coaching staff based on a single contest is getting really ridiculous. It was ridiculous when it we were 4-0 and had just beaten an Indiana team that we convinced ourselves was good, and it's ridiculous when we're 5-3 and we just lost to a Penn State team that we had convinced ourselves was not so good. You see, the thing is, Indiana is not so good, and Penn State is good...I think. So that makes things confusing, beyond your understanding, and if nothing else it should widen that thin line between praising Rich Rod for a turnaround and anointing Tate Forcier as the next coming of Christ, and wanting Rich Rod to step down and say that you can't wait for Devin Gardner to get here. Come to grips with the fact that you just don't know, that you can't predict the future. There's a pretty big damn difference between 5-7 and 9-3, and there's a pretty big damn difference between "Rich Rod is the man for this job" and "Rich Rod should be fired."
We all need to spend some more time finding that gray area, exercising patience, and waiting to make broad analysis of the direction of the program until the season has ended. Bonus points if you wait until after 2010.