Sunday, September 27, 2015

Musings on a Maize and Blue Autumn Weekend

Ye of Little Faith, Believe!

Before driving to Ann Arbor yesterday morning, I did a quick check of Twitter and ran through a few MGoBlog posts, trying to gauge feelings for the upcoming BYU game, our first against a ranked opponent under Coach Harbaugh. 

I found a mixed bag of predictions. Some thought Michigan would beat the spread with no problem. Others thought they might eke out a 1 point victory. And sadly, but understandably, many still gave the edge to BYU. Based on BYU's results season-to-date, with wins over Nebraska and Boise State, followed by a painfully close loss to UCLA, people seemed confident that BYU was well-tested and deserving of their Top 25 ranking. That Michigan had lost a close one to a decent* Utah team and had good, but somewhat ugly wins over Oregon State and UNLV wasn't enough for many fans to follow their hearts over their heads.
* We now know that excellent is a better description.

I was almost one of the latter. It's hard to forget how things would have gone down the last few seasons in the same situation. We would have every reason to expect the worst. In this first year of Harbaugh, we've probably all practiced the phrase "This year might be a little rough, but just wait..."  

This year, though, even when my mind says "winning is not likely," I'm physically and mentally unable to say "We stand no chance." Those four words that were my mantra last year feel foreign on my tongue today. 

It's because I now have belief and I have it in spades. I can see and feel and hear Harbaugh's Michigan. Hourly. Daily. Weekly. 
Muhammed Ali quote about affirmation becoming belief.

There are Michigan voices in the air, new affirmations at every turn, and yes, things are starting to happen. I didn't expect it so soon, but there it is. I refuse to doubt this team under almost any circumstances for the simple reason that they make me feel that nothing is impossible. How freeing is it to think that for a change! I never feared BYU because I had a gut feeling something great was coming and this team would step up, prove their worth, and open some eyes. And they did. While some top teams have been struggling to demonstrate real dominance and others have been exposed as frauds altogether, Michigan continues to improve at a steady rate. This coaching staff is the real deal. They've weeded out the weak and unwilling and they're slowly and methodically recarving the block M in the list of college football worthies. It feels pretty awesome, doesn't it?

So, believe, people, BELIEVE. Be willing to be humble if things go awry (and they still will), but go about your day believing that anything is possible for the Wolverines under this leadership. This season is like reading a mystery, one chapter a week and the plot is getting thicker with every page. I don't know who's guilty at the end, but I think Jim Harbaugh did it in the Big House with a Team.

I'll Have a Weiner on a Whole Grain Batard

Fools are among us. Jon "Stugotz" Weiner, of ESPN Radio (on the Dan La Batard Show) probably just figured out that Jim Harbaugh wasn't still in play for Oakland, when he announced this week:

"I pride myself on seeing things before others see it, and I'm telling you right now, he is going to break Michigan's heart," Stugotz said. "I'm telling you, Chuck Pagano is out at Indianapolis. There is no way Jim Harbaugh is going to pass up the chance to, a.) get back in the NFL, and b.) coach Andrew Luck in the NFL...Jim Harbaugh, next season, will be the Colts' head coach." [from article by Steve Schrader]

I know this is just another clueless ESPN crapweasel looking for attention, because no one on the outside of the Jim Harbaugh orbit can claim to comprehend what drives Jim Harbaugh. That someone would take on a hard luck challenge like Michigan and ask for a less than top salary in doing so simply does not compute with the NFL-worshipping hacks at Egotistical Self-Promotion News.

Weiner, you're aptly named and will be exposed soon enough. Harbaugh isn't going anywhere. He and his brother have divided the world and Jim's on a different warpath. He's back in the place he loves most doing what he loves most to restore the team he loves most. His grandkids will be assistant coaches at Michigan before he's finally carted off the sideline in a maize and blue golf cart for the last time in front of a loving, cheering crowd. 

At least Weiner is self aware.

The Michigan State Feelings Status Meter

And because I am endlessly amused at the Spartan capacity for a) not enjoying success, b) needing Dave Brandon levels of validation, and c) using logic that would evade Einstein in defending the value of their current undefeated status, I bring you the Spartan Feelings Meter. I'll try to update this regularly until my mission is complete and Mark Dantonio is so puckered up he's forced to drink his weight in Miralax to dislodge the solid form of his hatred for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh (and everyone else in the world who doesn't fall all over MSU.)

As you can see, this week's trouncing of Oregon (who Sparty barely beat) by Utah (who barely beat Michigan who soundly beat BYU who almost beat UCLA who just kicked Arizona) and the resultant questioning of the value of their signature win has registered Sparty as Upset/Apprehensive. Still firmly in the Safe Zone, but trending upward. 

And who can blame them? Their "quality" opponent, Oregon, has been booted from the Top 25, leaving them a 3 point win over someone Utah beat 62-20 and less than dominant wins over the MAC and Air Force. Michigan's now played two teams in the current Top 25, losing it close to Utah (while outgaining them) and giving BYU what may now be called a Durkin Donut points. 

I don't know what will happen on October 17, but it's going to be more of a game than anyone will give Michigan credit for. 

Quoteworthy Harbaugh

And finally, here are some of my favorite quotes from the Coach this week. Sometimes flaky. Often clever. Always ours. 

On Turnovers (from the Monday night radio show)
"It's kind of like the olive jar. We haven't gotten a lot of turnovers and it's like opening up a new jar of olives. You open it up, turn it over and you can't get one olive to come out. People know that. They're packed in there so tight, you can't get one to come out. But if you can just get one to come out, the rest come plopping out. That's what we're hoping for with these turnovers. We've gotten one, we've gotten two and now hopefully they come out in droves."

On the crowd and atmosphere at the Big House during the BYU game
"I had a couple occasions to look up and go 'this is good'... This is really good for us and good for football. It looked good. Attitude of gratitude about that and the way our team plays and the way they prepare.”

We agree, Jim. We agree. 

Go Blue! Beat Maryland!

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