Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

It's definitely 5 o'clock somewhere. Unfortunately for me, that somewhere isn't here, which means it isn't 8 p.m. in Ann Arbor and therefore isn't time for kickoff at Michigan Stadium. In other words, I'm totally ready for this game to start and am instead sitting here at my computer watching college-football-related filler material (it's entertaining, but it's still filler).

In a few hours, Michigan and Notre Dame will take the field in crazy (but kinda cool) uniforms for the first night game in the bazillion-year history of Michigan Stadium. Everyone will be there -- Dave Brandon is estimating the crowd at 115,000, which would comfortably set the all-time football attendance record -- and those who aren't will be watching on TV, because it's the game this week. There will be some sort of mysterious Desmond Howard ceremony and a bad-ass military flyover with freakin' parachuters dropping into the endzones in some sort of 9/11 commemoration. And there will be lights -- real lights! I'm pulling out one of the all-time most overused words in the English language here: It'll be surreal. If I had money, I'd be there. I'd pay a lot to be there.

As I sit here depressed with the knowledge that (a) I'm not rich and (b) I won't be there, I'm envisioning all the different scenarios. There are a lot ... and not just in the "who scores the first touchdown" or "how many yards does Denard Robinson run for" sense. I've been saying this all week: Seeing either team win or lose by 20 points wouldn't shock me.

Michigan has played three quarters against a middle-of-the-pack MAC team and looked good on offense on a whopping five full series (scoring three touchdowns) and either bad (AARGHGH OPENING DRIVE) or rib-crushingly dominant on defense. The first two or three series on both sides of the ball looked just like last year; the rest looked very little like last year, because the defense was scoring touchdowns and the offense was handing it off up the middle due to either the rain, the MAC defensive incompetence or both. An abbreviated game with little resemblance to a real football event-type thing tells us just about nothing about Michigan-Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has played one thunderstorm-ravaged game against a pretty good Big East team and was either marching up and down the field at will or shooting itself in the face with disastrous turnovers. Nobody could hang onto the ball inside the USF 10-yard line, and that resulted in roughly 24 points worth of anger for Brian Kelly, whose head came dangerously close to exploding on national TV. If Tommy Rees isn't Dayne Crist and if T.J. Jones starts looking for the ball and and if Theo Riddick can actually catch a punt and if Brian Kelly doesn't suffer an aneurysm, Notre Dame will probably be really good. It's also possible that none of those things happen and Denard Robinson puts up 6,000 yards of total offense again.

In summary: I have no idea what will happen. I know what I want to happen, but that only happens in 2006 (and never against Ohio State). Hence my countdown to 5 o'clock.

Sweet uncertainty can also be maddening uncertainty -- the only difference is overwhelming anticipation.

I wish I were there.


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