Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 20 isn't just a date... it's a state of mind

It's great that Mark Dantonio finally has to stop his childish gambino act.

Circumstances did not allow me to watch Saturday's game on television. The problem with listening to football on the radio is that Tim Brando make every run seem equally exciting. LeVeon Bell pushes his way forward for two yards sounds exactly the same as Fitzgerald Toussaint hits a hole for four yards, which sounds exactly the same at Denard Robinson bounces to the outside for seven yards. I found the best way for me to keep track of Michigan's status was by tracking the coherence of Ace Anbender's tweets.

Is this a Mathlete win probability chart or an Ace Anbender literacy chart?
In all the craziness and pain and suffering, I almost forgot that this was a classic Sparty, No! ending, complete with a key Tommy Gholston penalty on Michigan's final drive and the hilarious last-second attempt at a kickoff return. Even so, I think B1G fans are being too hard on the conference these days. If Iowa 12, Michigan 10 can be a classic game in 1985, Michigan 12, MSU 10 can be a classic game in 2012. If SEC fans can extol LSU 9, Alabama 6 as an all-time classic defensive struggle, we can do the same with 12-10. Jake M.F. Ryan. Jordan Kovacs. Never letting LeVeon Bell getting more than eight yards on a carry. Two top-ranked defenses doing their thing, and the game ultimately being decided by two awesome kickers doing their thing. #positweet, posiblog, whatever. Let's have a little conference chestpumping*.

Those defenses forced MSU into what may be the overlooked play of the game, their decision to kick a field goal from 4th and goal from the one. Michigan's was so effective the Dantonio didn't trust Bell to get one yard. MSU's was so effective that a one-point lead looked like it might be insurmountable. But in the end, it all came down to has the ball last, as it so often does.

It may have been painful to watch. After four years, it may be more of a cause for relief than celebration. Either way, let's look back on this day and be happy.
  • When your Sparty relative has to shut up for a year, that's October 20th.
  • When Mark Dantonio has to give Denard his credit, that's October 20th.
  • Whenever half the SEC is under .500, that's October 20th.
  • When ohio pulls out a big comeback that will in no way help them go to a bowl game, that's October 20th.
  • When your team win 900 games, that's October 20th.
  • When Michigan celebrates New Year's Day in Pasadena, that's October 20th.
When you stop celebrating, hyperventilating, or overanalyzing and start preparing for Nebraska, that's October 21st.

*The current eligible B1G division leaders, Michigan and Wisconsin, have four total losses, three to undefeated teams in the Top 10, and one a three-point loss on the road. That's not great, but it's not Big East levels of failure.

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