Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Socratic Preview

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." --Socrates

I like to think I have gained some wisdom over my 29 years and 11 months on this planet. I've learned a few things. Some I have learned the hard way, some from watching the mistakes of others, and many from looking to history for guidance and made a best guess.

I feel the same way about Michigan football and my "prediction" going in to the season. Look at the evidence, look at the history, and see what I could glean. Some years (like 2006), I have been horribly wrong because I was overly pessimistic about Michigan's chances. Other years (like 2007), I have been horribly wrong because I was overly optimistic about Michigan's chances. So, what do I think going in to the 2008 season...

I have no idea.

Usually by this point in August, there's been a "heart/head" dialoge where I try to sort out what the fan in me wants as opposed to what my reading of the tea leaves suggests will happen. But last year changed everything, and then some.

The Horror proved that there's no way to know what will happen in any game on any given Saturday. (True story: I played something in the neighborhood of ten different seasons on NCAA Football 08 last year, at least enough to see what the first week would look like. Michigan's average margin of victory in those simulated games was 63 points.)

Oregon, the "Fell on Black Days' game, proved that you can't just make things better just because you want them to be better.

The Notre Dame game proved that no matter how bad things are, there's always someone out there very much like you who has it worse.

Penn State proved that the more things change, the more things stay the same...Sadly, so did Ohio State.

The bowl game proved that the future is a tricky thing, but letting the history end on its own terms is a trickier one.

So here we are, ten days before Michigan plays Utah. New coach, new offense, new stadium construction, new apparel manufacturer, new jerseys, new era...and yet, same helmets, same fight song, same banner, same Scandinavian fans more concerned about not losing than the joy of winning. What wins out, the past or the future? The future, it always does. The great thing about the future though, as John Kennedy, is that history is like a tide that relentlessly moves forward in which we can either hold fast or be carried away. Standing up for that which made Michigan football great before is the best way to work to insure that it will be in the future. But, it must not also be hidebound to tradition.

And so here we are...and I have no idea. My heart says 9-4 just to prove the haters wrong, my head says 7-6 or, gulp, 6-7, because there are too many variables. But in the end, I think it's 8-5 with a loss in the Alamo Bowl. And I won't even say that I hope I'm wrong. Because honestly, if I am, I think it's going to be much worse than that. But the thing is, I don't know anything, but I know I don't know anything. For once, I am comfortable with that.

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