Saturday, September 08, 2018

Recovering the Satellites

No. 21 Michigan bounces back with win over WMU
Sean McKeon wasn't told that bodies were not meant to bend that way.  (AP/Tony Ding)

"So why'd you come home to this faithless town?
Where we make a lifetime commitment to recovering the satellites
And all anybody really wants to know is
When are you're gonna come down, down, down, down, down
When you're gonna come down?"
--"Recovering the Satellites," Counting Crows, Recovering the Satellites, 1996
A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I got a pal in Kalamazoo.  I flashed back to seven years ago when the Hoke era was new and in a rain-shortened game, Michigan rolled over the Broncos thanks to some turnovers and a touch of Denard.  I wondered if we could find that feeling of hope, however shortlived it was, once more.

Today's weather was almost perfect, save perhaps a little too much wind, for a Michigan Stadium experience and after a quick hiccup on both opening drives, Michigan settled in on both sides of the ball and looked much more like the team we had heard about coming out of camp.  Yes, they were at home.  Yes, it was a MAC opponent, but this is the kind of performance you wanted to see from Michigan to have any kind of momentum swing toward optimism.  Michigan was up three scores before the drum line did its thing and this tremendous feeling of relief washed over me.  It wasn't completely out of the BPoNE, but I felt like we were somehow digging out.

(OK, side note, I've always wondered about digging out of a hole.  It seems counterintuitive.  I suppose you could start hacking at the sides to try and get a ramp going, but all I hear in my head is Wiggum saying "No, no, dig UP, stupid." from "Homer the Vigilante".  I digress.)

There were so many things that happened today that you wanted to see.  An elusive Karan Higdon breaking tackles, Chris Evans getting some carries and doing the same.  Nico Collins doing the dang thing again, but this time getting six points out of it.  Shea Patterson eluding, scrambling, and making some questionable decisions (the shovel pass while going down worked, but it could just have easily been picked.  The throwaway when going down that could have been intentional grounding could have easily been much worse.  You can get away with that against Western, I don't know if you want to do that against a Wisconsin or an Ohio State. I like the moxie, I want smart moxie.)  The defense played well, not a bunch of sacks and such (just two, one in garbage time) but held Jon Wassink to a QBR of 11.3 (I know, it's an ESPN stat, but when Shea's was 90.5, you can see the difference.)  When today's biggest Michigan Stadium drama was trying to get my ESPN app to update to see if EMU could pull off the upset at Ross-Ade, well these are the kind of problems you want to have.

What this felt like, more than anything else, was something closer to "normal".  I know a couple of readers on MGoBlog made an argument against my concern last week about worrying that Michigan would never be Michigan again and while I am respectful of their points, I also would say that it is, perhaps, more about a feeling that facts or data.  Yes, the world is never going to go back to an NCAA football without scholarship limits, television appearance limitations, and all of the other things that have changed since the days of my youth, but that feeling that you could look at the schedule before the season and know the record, which died in 2007, that's what I miss.  That sense of invincibility, which was never real, which was never earned, was lost forever, perhaps for the better.  I know it can never go back to "normal", we've learned too much, too much has happened between then and now to ever return to what was, but there is something to be said for coming back to a facsimile of that feeling like it once was.  This win doesn't change that there are still major concerns about what happens when the opposition gets tougher, there is no doubt about this, but at least it wasn't like last year when the struggles against Cincinnati and Air Force were a harbinger of the difficulties to come that we almost willfully refused to acknowledge at that time.  This game doesn't solve everything, it maybe doesn't even solve anything, but at least it was fun to watch, and that is at least better than a deathly slog.  Let's keep recovering the satellites.

"Gonna get back to basics
Guess I'll start it up again
I'm falling from the ceiling
You're falling from the sky now and then"
--"Recovering the Satellites," Counting Crows, Recovering the Satellites, 1996

(Also, two notes: First this is our 800th post.  That's pretty cool because we like round numbers.  Secondly, sidenote to the Michigan Student Section, Classical Art Memes has your back over the last couple of days.)

1 comment:

Land lubber said...

Maybe "digging out of a hole" is like this. You are traveling down a potholed dirt road and your wheel goes into the hole up to the axle. You call your wife and say, "honey, I'm going to be late for dinner, I am in a hole, and I have to dig my way out." Then you get out your shovel and start digging.