|All aboard the Chris Evans hype train. Human Torch indeed. (Credit: AP / Lynne Sladky)|
|Having a McCray Day! (Credit: AP / Alan Diaz)|
The disappointment comes in knowing that in all three of Michigan's losses, all away from Michigan Stadium, Michigan led in the final minute but could not find a way to close it out. At Iowa, it was the inability to make a first down. At Ohio State, it was a gassed defense not having enough to prevent OSU from driving for a game-tying field goal. In Miami, it was the confusion of Florida State's Keith Gavin hesitating to take out Kenny Allen's kickoff, only to return it 66 yards, setting up FSU's touchdown. Even then, Josh Metellus returning the blocked PAT for a defensive two-point conversion gave Michigan a chance. Not much of a chance, but still a chance. But it still couldn't close when it needed to do so. So, it comes to be how you look at the game: A loss being a loss or a loss where at least Michigan showed life when the chips were down.
This season is a disappointment, in the final analysis, but one which I am OK with, solely because you cannot be disappointed without expectations. Michigan's senior class was 12-13 in its first two years and 20-6 in its final two years. Harbaugh has been as good as advertised, even if Michigan does not have the hardware yet to show for it. But I have resolved to enjoy this, good and bad, because tying your emotional state to college students is rarely a good idea.
I love a sport where two of its best coaches are grown men who go by Dabo and Jimbo. I love a sport where the national media of the professional version cannot understand why one of the most successful coaches in the sport would want to go back to his alma mater, but everyone from that school understands it. I love a sport which has a hilarious Twitter subculture, if you know where to look for it. There are dark sides, there are complications, there are difficult questions that the sport faces, in the immediate future and in the longer term, ones I do not know we're prepared to answer. But I think we can resolve to be better, kinder, less jerkass towards other fans, and especially towards the players and staff themselves, we can go a long way to getting rid of one of the most insidious parts of the game over which we actually have control.
The long desert without college football is here. The offseason will provide its usual storylines and chaos, and efforts to answer questions that cannot fully be answered until the fall. We salute the senior class that made us proud. We look forward to that Saturday in Arlington, and hope it goes better than the last time. For now, always leading, forever valiant.