Sunday, September 04, 2016

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Speight, the final frontier.  (Credit: Getty Images / Gregory Shamus)
50 years ago this month, Star Trek debuted on NBC.  Though a modest hit at best, it developed, over time, a cult-like following, obsessives who pored over every detail of the original 79 episodes and became the sci-fi fandom against which other fandoms are judged.

137 seasons into Michigan football, each new season is eagerly awaited by its fans (and its hate-watchers) to see which twists and turns the writers have in store for this year.  Social media will see hushed moments of awe and vociferous complaint in the online recaps.  Some will say that this season is a return to form, on par with the classics.  Others will worry that the new landscape will never allow this year to measure up.  But the season is here, and well, these are the voyages.

In the grand scheme, this was as strong a season opener as you could hope for in this kind of enterprise.  When your defense loses the shutout because the kicker defiantly nails a 55-yarder, you just kind of laugh, because the offense nearly covered the over by itself.  So many freshmen played today, it felt like an away team with all of the redshirts burning.  This game, by itself, does not answer many questions, it's just one episode.  New horizons wait next week, new discoveries to be made.  But make no bones about it, if we're going to get beyond the last decade, one that took us into darkness, then the reboot under Harbaugh, keeping the things we loved about the original, but adding a new cast of characters, starting with a head coach with a ridiculous Q score, one seemingly regarded as an emissary by the faithful, that's where all of this brings us, to Year 2, an undiscovered country.  The future remains to be written, but when you have good leadership, your crew can defy the impossible again and again.

First games are about learning something.  Michigan learned a lot from last year's away mission to Salt Lake City, it bounced back because it worked on correcting mistakes that cost them a victory.  All of the preseason expectations change as we gather data points.  Is Colorado better than advertised, or is Colorado State really bad?  Could Wisconsin be more of a challenge than anticipated?  Is the defense for real?  These are the storylines, some will be answered, others will be forgotten as the season moves forward.  Here's to hoping that we will never have to say "Dammit Jim."

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