Friday, November 25, 2011

Beat Ohio

It was almost exactly eight years ago that I bought a single ticket to the '03 Michigan-Ohio State game and flew back for the weekend. I chose wisely:

Yes. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

I never thought at the time that I'd be sitting here eight years later waiting for another Michigan win. That's almost 30 percent of my life (guh). I don't feel like calculating the number of days since it would only make me angry.

It's been a long time.
. . . . .

My brain has been going "OMG SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY" for the last six days and yet I can't come up with any words for any sort of preview. I have both everything and nothing to say.

I wrote in my season-preview-type thing that Michigan would end up 8-4 and Ohio State would end up "closer to typical Ohio State than apocalyptic Ohio State." Nay. One team is a win away from a BCS game and the other is a loss away from 6-6, which makes perfect sense except lol wut? Why is Adam Sandler coaching Ohio?

This is the year it has to end. Eight years of horrifyingly painful losses and death and frustration and pity I didn't even want were eight years too many. No mas.

Ohio has an offense roughly the equivalent of Minnesota's (!) and a defense slightly worse than Michigan's (!!!). There is literally no meaningful offensive or defensive stat/comparison I can find that says Michigan shouldn't win this game. It's going to happen unless Denard turns the ball over a thousand times (plausible, unfortunately) and Braxton Miller turns into Troy Smith circa 2004. Michigan is 7-0 at home and hasn't been challenged since Notre Dame. The defense is getting better to the point of being legitimately elite, which is such a ridiculous statement that I can't really believe it unless I look at the stats and say "oh yeah, elite." A fairly standard (for lack of a better word) game will end with Ohio having about 10 points; Michigan hasn't scored fewer than 28 at home this season.

It's pretty hard to reconcile all that with the past 2,500-ish days. It's even harder given the past 1,000-ish; Michigan has been outscored 100-24 in the last three versions of The Game, two of which weren't even competitive after halftime and one of which was competitive only because Jim Tressel allowed it to be by being Jim Tressel. Going from there to here makes no sense logistically but makes soooo much sense to that thing inside me that protects the stupidly childish belief that Michigan represents everything good and the other guys represent everything bad. I can't explain that thing any better, but I don't think I need to; you get it.

I keep telling myself to lower the expectations. Not happening. This is it. I'd be worried about the possibility of being heartbroken if it hadn't become the norm over the last eight years, interrupted only by blips of utter devastation (2006) and embarrassment (2008, 2010).

There's nothing left to do but win. I wish I could be there.

Beat Ohio. Please.


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