Sunday, November 25, 2012


A thousand words... (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
In the end, I'm never going to understand this, I'm never going to understand them, I'm never going to understand that feeling.  Jim Tressel is honored during the first quarter break of the Michigan/Ohio State game for his 2002 National Championship season, and he is carried off the field by his players to a standing ovation at the Horseshoe.  Ohio proceeds to get its act together and win 26-21 to complete a perfect 12-0 season.  A season in which they are ineligible for a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions related to Jim Tressel's failure to report what he knew about illegal benefits being given to his players to his superiors.  A season in which they are ineligible for the B1G championship game next weekend because of the post-season sanctions.  But it doesn't matter, a standing ovation for what Tressel did, not how Tressel got caught.

So I'm never going to understand this.  Michigan, by contrast, offered up a 10 year disassociation ban with Chris Webber and the other players in the Ed Martin scandal, a ban which will not end until May 2013.  David Brandon is on record (in the Fab Five documentary last year) that Webber will be welcomed back to Michigan after that ban ends provided he apologizes for what he did to the Michigan basketball program, which seems really unlikely.  Michigan looked at what it had done wrong and fell on its sword (admittedly with its basketball program, not the football program.)  Ohio State, on the other hand, is welcoming back the root cause of its problems and petitioning the White House for a pardon.

So I'm never going to understand them.  Urban Meyer's a hell of a coach, a single-minded perfectionist who will not settle for anything less than perfection.  And he did it, he got perfection out of an imperfect squad. Meanwhile, Michigan had a lead at the half and did exactly nothing to adjust to win the game.  Think about it, the defense, the poor exhausted defense, allowed just two field goals in the second half, and they lost because Michigan forgot all of the awesome stuff they tried on offense last week.  It's like they wanted to PROVE to Ohio  State that they could run up the middle and Ohio State was more than happy to remind them, no you can't.  And so, Ohio State pitched a second half shutout and the last mercurial moments of a storm-tossed career for Denard Robinson ended with both a stunning highlight reel run and a horrific stuff up the middle on fourth down, and then a fumble.

Upside down... (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
So I'm never going to understand this feeling.  Michigan lost four games away from home to what look to be the two teams in the BCS National Championship game, a likely Rose Bowl participant, and team that finished an undefeated season.  They were in three of those four games, but they couldn't close the deal.  So we're 8-4 headed to Bowl season, where pretty much everyone had us before the season started.  Yet, it feels so empty, no upsets, no missed opportunities against lesser foes, plenty of moments where victory was snatched out of the jaws of defeat, but also moments where things were given away in the most incomprehensible fashion.

So Orlando or Tampa for New Year's and back to where we were.  I guess it is true, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Hail Hail.


Daniel De Kok said...

Good article, but I'm wondering about something: why nothing on the Marching Band this year?

Craig Barker said...

Fair question. Easiest answer is that Jeremy and Geoff, our band correspondents, are in semi-retirement and I do not feel comfortable enough with my amateur at best knowledge of the MMB to review or make judgments.

Daniel De Kok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel De Kok said...

I'd do it, but as I'm a friend and fraternity brother of Dr. Boerma, objectivity would be out the window, plus I live in greater Philadelphia, so getting to A2 has been difficult at best the last few years. I DO look forward to an occasional Wolverine visit to Rutgers--it's not a day's drive just to get there. I'd really love it if they'd come out to beat up on Temple (only an hour away by SEPTA train).

Jeremy said...

One reason is that I'm going to fewer home games these days, and seeing fewer shows.

Another is that the OSU band's halftime show was superior to the MMB's in every way.

OSU's was Fantasia-themed, which included big recognizable formations such as forming Mickey's broom and walking it down the field, vs. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" for the MMB, featuring several "stand in place and wiggle around" sets and the tired use of a dance team feature.

I'd compare and contrast more but it makes me sad to think about and I'm tired of the angry emails I get from MMB staff whenever I post something critical.

(OSU's pregame, however, is still a depressing, plodding ripoff of the Script Ohio first performed by the Michigan Marching Band in the 1930s.)

Daniel De Kok said...

What you're describing hearkens back to the "er-a" (CavendER/RichtER/BechER)and frankly, that surprises me.