Sunday, November 13, 2011

F. Scott Louverture

Photo by Melanie Maxwell/Ann
"There are no second acts in American lives."

Over the last few years, we've been told, by anyone who holds an opinion on the matter, what Michigan football is and how it should look and feel.  I've always viewed that notion as a mirror which reflects one's view of what one wants football to look and feel like.  As I've said before, I have weaknesses for running backs that blend power, speed, and the ability to make the key cuts and fundamentally sound safety play.  Jordan Kovacs has done a great job this season with the latter, but since Mike Hart left Michigan, the former has been solely missing.  (No offense Brandon Minor, I liked you a great deal as a back, but durability issues man, durability issues.)  So when Fitzgerald Toussaint emerged as the lead running back for Michigan after what seemed to be an interminable search, I wondered if he would be "enough" or could he become something more, something greater.

"Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle." 

I think we can all agree that yesterday's game was a classic example of "left wanting".  Though Michigan had a two score lead, on the road, against a team that considers Michigan its arch-rival*, it still felt like all of the missed red zone opportunities were going to come back to haunt Michigan, because we're taught that when you don't put the boot on the throat, it will cost you.  Except, it didn't.  Michigan's defense looked like "Michigan defense" again, they made stops, they pressured the quarterback, and while they made some mistakes (4th and 26?!?), they did enough that Michigan's counter punches on offenses were enough to bring home the eighth win of the season, one better than last year, ensuring a .500 record in the Big Ten (which shouldn't be a big deal, but come on...), and ensuring a .500 road record for the year (yeah, four games is not the best sample size on that.)  Michigan may not be Michigan again, but an eight win season, with a solid chance to win either of the last two games, if not both, well, isn't that what we were clamoring for?  Isn't that what we so direly wanted?  I've said it before, but it's true, the last four years changed us as fans.  For the first time in a very long time, certainly in the modern modern era, we know what the depths of despair look like in college football, so we appreciate not mediocrity, but the realization that true ecstasy in the college football sense requires perfection, and perfection is so rare that it cannot and must not become commonplace.

(*-Seriously, the Illinois people have an unhealthy obsession with Michigan.  It's kind of a compliment when you think about it.  It's also hilarious.)

"Nothing is as obnoxious as other people's luck."

Am I wrong here, or did like every replay review go against Michigan yesterday?  I realize that replay reviews are supposed to get things right, but man, every single break went against Michigan yesterday and Michigan still won.  Sometimes you don't need luck.

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say."

If I've been quiet on the last week's major story, it's because I simply do not know what to say that either hasn't already been said, or that would make much sense.  Besides, Spencer Hall and Joe Posnanski handled this (along with hundreds of other writers far superior than I am) and when you feel like every thing has been said, at some point you just realize you have nothing to add.  But I realized I did have one comment eventually that I wanted to make.  It has been so easy to show this last week as the final straw of a rotten system, that college football is irredeemably broken and that we should be ashamed to love it, feeding the rotten system.  Perhaps those people are right.  But the longview says something different.  The longview says that college football has always been screwed up.  College football has always meant too much to too many people, it has always been a target for critics for any number of reasons.  The violence, the money, the institutional racism, the money, the overemphasis of athletics over academics, the money, the lowering of admissions standards in the name of winning percentage, the money.  The criticisms are out there, and they are fair.  If you wanted to walk away, no one would blame you.  Our greatest danger is in making college football more than something than it is, fulfilling narratives established by ourselves, or by the media, to short hand our way through life in a metaphor.  If we understand what it means and do our best to not assign it value beyond that, its power to shock us when it fails to live up to any higher standard is diminished.

So, in the final end, bring on Nebraska, learn from the past, and make a better tomorrow.

1 comment:

Reed said...

Illinois did get jobbed on one of the replay reviews. Their (I believe) tight end made a 1st down catch, with what appeared to be his entire arm under the ball, but they let the call on the field stand. For what it's worth...

Also, hey really good post here!