Sunday, November 26, 2017

Every Breaking Wave

It was going well until it was not. (AP Photo)

"There is an old Romulan saying that tells that if all around you lies in ruins, either fault yourself, or seek the serpent. Are you the serpent?" -Aventeer Vokar

You want to blame somebody for this.  I get it.  You actually want to blame everyone for this but yourself, because you clearly wanted this win more than anyone else.  Which is bullshit and you damn well know it, but you're already ignoring me and "reasonableness".  You demand explanations and you demand vengeance and you demand everything but lex parsimoniae, because you know the moment that you reach for the simplest explanation, you will not like the conclusion.  Michigan was on its third choice quarterback and when it needed a big play in the fourth quarter, its offense coaching staff inexplicably called three straight passes when the running game had been flashing brilliant all afternoon.  It had third and four from plus territory (after one of those "really?" moments where O'Korn was tripped up on the center/quarterback exchange, costing Michigan three yards when Evans and Higdon had been ripping off nine yard runs on said same drive.)  Those passes went wide, high, and lastly, directly to a waiting center fielder.  You want an explanation for THAT, (even though there's Zach Gentry streaking wide open up the middle of the field if read correctly.)

You want to scream your fool head off at O'Korn, because how could he do this to you?  You see the press conference, you see how much it hurt him, how he knows its on him, how it's going to sting, how people are going to criticize him, berate him, mock him, and what hurts him worse is how he let his teammates down.  But you want more from him because it clearly means more to you than it does to the players, because they're just here for four years and you've never left.  You are assured it's always about you.

Nobody bakes an untasty pie.  This bit of accidental wisdom has stuck with me for nearly two decades.  When discussing whether "tasty" was a necessary adjective for pie, it was argued that "Nobody bakes an untasty pie."  This morphed, in my mind, over the years, to become philosophically, that no one sets out to do a bad job. A bad job may be the end result, but no one actually stands there and says "I am going to bake an untasty pie."  No one on Michigan set out today and said: "Yep, I'm going to screw this up."  A person can argue whether some of the players had the necessary talent to be successful in this situation, whether they were in the optimal position to be successful, but it is, at best, unkind, to question the heart and desire of players on the field. Their finished product may have left one wanting, but the intent was there and should not be questioned.

You are kind of being a jerk about this, because what you want (which is not to say that I don't want it too) is for the bleeding to stop. You want the hurting to stop. You want the tides to turn.  You want to know when Urban Meyer's insane horseshoe will finally run out of luck.  You want to know how Ohio State can lose their starting quarterback and somehow end up playing better.  You want to know what Ohio State's secret recipe for holding Maurice Hurst without getting called is so you can send Michigan a formula to attempt to replicate it.  You want to know the unknowable. You want answers to the unanswerable. You deeply desire to understand what is ultimately inevitably irrelevant.  Things will get better when they get better.  You will know when it happens because everyone will.  You don't have to be happy that it isn't now, but you also made the choice to love Michigan, so you have to decide whether its worth it.  Is the pain, the anguish, the frustration, the emptiness worth it?  Only you can decide for yourself.

One additional note
Having sat near a large contingent of OSU fans in their usual spot in the visitors' seating area, they were their usual selves.  I understand this, to want them to be anything but themselves is asking a leopard to change its spots.  However, I did not particularly enjoy how so many Michigan fans around me became a dark mirror of Ohio fans. It's as if being around them draws the worst and darkest aspects of Michigan fandom out of people.  I do not ever want to tell people how to conduct themselves in person as a fan, that's not my place.  All I would ask is that people take a look at how they act in these situations and whether they were acting as their best possible selves.  That said, I know this request will fall on deaf ears.  The people who will read it are likely the ones who do not need to course correct and those who do would never see themselves needing to change their ways.  So perhaps I am just saying it to say it, knowing it won't do any good.


SF said...

"Michigan was on its third choice quarterback and when it needed a big play in the fourth quarter, its offense coaching staff inexplicably called three straight passes when the running game had been flashing brilliant all afternoon."

I'm finding minimal coverage of details and timing with a google search, but my chat record with my mom indicates Juwann Bushell-Beatty went out hurt at about quarter to 3 yesterday, replaced by Runyon. That suggests he was out most or all of the fourth quarter. And if you remember, when they switched from Ulizio to JBB back in October is exactly when our running game starting clicking. It's not crazy to think our running game might have been noticeably weaker in the fourth quarter for that reason. Hope to figure out more when the UFR comes out.

It's weird how the expectations game goes. Given the expectations going into the game, I've got to think that almost every Michigan fan would have been overjoyed to hear that with two minutes and change left in the game Michigan had the ball with a chance to drive and take the lead back with a touchdown. Then we somehow conjured up one of the best quarters against the Buckeyes that any team has had in the 2010s, and somehow losing the game is suddenly traumatic rather than expected.

And on the flip side are the people who just seem to think a loss is a loss, and don't notice that we have played really well against OSU the last two years. I don't see any obvious reason to expect OSU to get worse, but there is every reason in the world to think UM is going to keep getting better than next couple of years. I cannot WAIT to find out what happens next.

Alessandro Machi said...

Perhaps a game changing moment, the amazing open field tackle by the OSU defender on the first down of that series of plays you talk about. Your runner was headed for a first down and I just was shocked at what a great play was made to stop him a yard short of first down. If he gets a first down on that play, who knows, it could have changed the outcome of the game.