September 01, 2007

Some More Worcestershire Sauce With My Crow, Please

TWO DAYS AGO, I wrote the following in my post about the opening week of the college football season:

With a few exceptions, I always root for the underdog in these early games of the season, just because I think it would be fabulous if one of them actually managed to knock off a school that in all likelihood paid the underdog hundreds of thousands of dollars to appear. That goes double if the favorite is a ranked team, because that will mean one less competitor to challenge the University of Michigan for the national title.

Thus, it was only natural that out of all the easy, gimme, tune-up chump games that were scheduled for the opening week, MY TEAM WOULD LOSE. Furthermore, not only did my beloved, fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines lose, they lost to Appalachian State University, 34-32.

I do believe Mike Heather, a 65-year-old Michigan fan from Grand Rapids, summed up Michigan fans' sentiments pretty well. He told the Ann Arbor News:

"How the (expletive) does (expletive) Appalachian State dominate us like that?" he said. "I can't believe it. Other than the first minute or two, they were so much better than us. There's no (expletive) way we should lose that game."

Appalachian State! Mother of God! Could there be anything more humiliating than losing to Appalachian State? Apparently not, because they're calling this the biggest upset in Michigan football history, if not in the entire history of college football. And that's saying something. I mean, Americans have been playing college football since 1875. It is such an amazing upset that it prompted the Sunday Morning Quarterback blog to write, "This shakes the foundation of my comprehension of the world to such a vastly greater extent than any upset, sighting, conspiracy theory, apparition, miracle or act of nature I could possibly cite. This is frogs raining from heaven. This is physically impossible."

This is not to take away from Appalachian State's victory, which they fought for every inch of the way, even in the second half when it was clear their defense was exhausted and their offense began to stumble. It was a hell of an accomplishment for them. Yes, they may have been I-AA champions, but it is one thing to beat the likes of the University of Massachusetts and another to play in front of 110,000 screaming fans at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., and beat Michigan, the winningest team in all of college football history. The disparity between I-A and I-AA schools is so great -- in terms of money and facilities and all that -- that Appalachian State's victory is even more impressive.

But even as the good people of Boone, N.C., celebrate their victory, Michigan fans are adrift. Michael Brooks, a Michigan fan and blogger in Toledo, sums up how most are feeling when he writes, "I think I am going to vomit." For one Michigan fan -- that would be me -- it is time to eat a good-sized helping of crow.

Please, pass the worcestershire sauce.

The enormity of this loss forces me to admit that Michigan, at least this year, may not be as good a team as I thought it would be. Furthermore, it seems almost certain that another football team will win this year's national championship, as it will now prove almost impossible for Michigan to recoup its highly-ranked status, even if it runs the table through the rest of the season. Even worse, it would appear the LSU Tigers, the USC Trojans, the Florida Gators, and several other teams are without question better than we are. And in the Big Ten, several games one might have considered likely Michigan wins (Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin) now look a heck of a lot tougher than one might hope.

So I am humbled. We are all humbled. The season has already become a "rebuilding year," just one week into the twelve-week-long session. But for all those non-Michigan fans reveling in the Evil Empire's defeat -- that would be pretty much everyone else in the nation, I believe -- I would caution you: we will strike back. We always do. And now, we're really angry.

Which leads us to the next question: how should Michigan react to this defeat? After all, as with most evil empires, failure is most certainly not an option at Michigan. Thus, someone should be severely punished for this. Somebody must pay. Maybe even somebodies.

It seems clear, based on fan reaction to this humiliation, that Coach Lloyd Carr must be at the top of the list. Today's failure shows the man is as clumsy as he is stupid, and he has failed us for the last time. He must be disciplined appropriately. If Michigan's leadership had any guts, they would cashier this idiot tonight and make Ron English -- our glorious savior-in-waiting -- head coach. Sadly, our soft and weak overlords will almost certainly keep Carr around through the end of the season. As a result, they will also almost certainly keep around the new special teams coach, who isn't apparently very special considering Michigan suffered not one, but TWO blocked field goals during the game.

But oh well. Michigan can still have a meaningful season despite this blow. We play some of our best football when we're dashing the hopes and dreams of our rivals, and we're pretty good at that. Plus, there's still the NFL season and the CFL season on which I can focus. So not all is lost. And again, for those who are cheering our loss now, remember: we will be back. And we're really angry.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 1, 2007 06:08 PM | TrackBack
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