Sunday, January 01, 2023

Low Desert

The butterfly effect, but for college football. (Patrick Barron)

It happened fast, it's over quick
A little dust and the engine kicks
Did your hands drift down off the wheel?
Roll out, hit your windshield
An eyelash or a little bit of sleep? Time stands still
Just call it now and you're on your way

--"Low Desert" by R.E.M. from their 1996 album New Adventures in Hi-Fi

There's this moment after any loss, especially a one-score loss, where you try to figure out what the difference was, what was the "if you change one thing" moment that would have made things different.  This game had so many of those moments, that performing the exercise would become a catalog, which in turn, become almost a ranting litany of grievances.   That is not what this will be, because the biggest point that needs to be made is that TCU played an excellent game and did everything it needed to do to win.  Michigan did not.  For all of the what-ifs and maybes, it still comes back to that simple fact.  That Michigan was still in this game speaks volumes to the team's effort, its fight, and its character, but the reality is that it wasn't enough on this day.  The dreams of a national title died on middling turf grass in the desert.

I waited to write something up because I wanted to see if I would feel different with a little time, but it has stayed the same.  I'm sad about the result, but I understand how it arrived.  How mad can one be when the team you are rooting for never led in a game where they looked anything but themselves?  

Maybe it's the benefit of age and time that I would rather focus on the joy that the first thirteen games of this year brought me and so many others than the ending no one wanted.  It's easy to understand that when the mountain presents itself to you, to not reach the summit for whatever reason must be considered a disappointment.  But so much time was spent wondering if Michigan could ever get back to this point, that to ignore the mountain below is also perilous.  

At some point, I will understand why Michigan has such a poor record in bowl games, but I tell this to myself every year, and I have never come any closer to an answer.  It will remain a mystery until it ceases to be a mystery, but until then, it will just be a fact of life in late December/early January.

That's it for another season, thank you as always for being along for the ride.  We'll see where the days take us when we head back to our (Big) house up north in September.