After sweltering through Saturday’s game, I realized a few things:
1) I’m feeling … OK … about the team.
2) Despite my initial belief that I wouldn’t miss the Big Ten Network until basketball season began, I’m now thinking that not having it now is going to be a problem.
3) Uh, Michigan did what?
Clearly the best part about the game itself was Todd Boeckman (spelled that right on the first try!). Didn’t get rattled, made good decisions (mostly) and demonstrated a nice range of passes. We still don’t know how he’ll react when faced with a stiffer pass rush or a pro-caliber cornerback — but we can also anticipate an improvement to the passing offense once we get the team’s real burner, Ray Smalls, back on the field. That part’s looking good.
Clearly, the other best part about the game itself? Um, did you see Brandon Freaking Saine?
Clearly the not-so-good-part was the rest of the running game, as in Beanie Wells not showing up and the O-line having trouble blocking I-AA guys. I’m willing to chalk up some of this issue to an apparent lack of excitement about the opponent, but if we can’t run the ball once the conference season starts, we’re dead. Dead.
And this, the Uncle Crappy Understatement Of The Week: The injury to Lawrence Wilson is bad.
I mentioned the BTN because of what happened after our game ended. Everyone had been doing their best to follow the UM-App State proceedings, despite the irritating lack of updates on the scoreboard or PA (everyone booed after a 4th quarter highlight package shown on the scoreboard failed to even show a score). So after our guys were in the locker room, the stadium concourses filled with people watching the end of Michigan’s game on the little TVs that hang next to every concession stand. And we’re talking about thousands of people, boys and girls, who had no other option to see the end of that game, BECAUSE THE FREAKING BIG TEN NETWORK ISN’T ON TELEVISION ANYWHERE. BTN stumbled into exclusive rights to what turned out to be the biggest upset in college football history; conference Commissioner Jim Delany had to be close to soiling himself because he was laughing so hard.
And then there was the Michigan game itself. Let’s be upfront about something. Part of the reason I enjoyed last year so much was because the regular season came down to that one single game against the Team Up North. I’m enough of purist that that’s kind of how I think the world should be, last year and every year.
So part of me doesn’t like this losing to a I-AA team, even on the part of those folks in Ann Arbor. It makes the whole conference look bad — Jesus knows the folks in SEC-land don’t need any more ammunition for that battle — and it de-values a team that we rely on to ensure our strength of schedule when polls and BCS bids become important.
The other part of me? It’s cackling with glee. Can’t help it.
Part of the fun has been watching Brian at mgoblog sort through his own angst over Michigan’s loss. On Saturday night, the only thing up at his blog was one of those old-fashioned test patterns that used to air when a TV station had fucked something up. On Sunday, that had been replaced with a pink background and pictures of kittens. Hysterical.
Today, the maize-and-blue template returned, but with a few, um, modifications. You’ll need to go see them for yourself and, when you do, be sure to have the speakers on your computer turned up. Trust me on this.
One thing though — be nice to Brian. He runs the best college football blog I’ve ever come across, he doesn’t take (many) gratuitous shots at us and his suffering is as real as anything someone who was an Ohio State fan through the 1990s had to endure.