Lets start with the pre-season coaches poll:
|1. USC (45) 0-0 1,481|
|2. LSU (4) 0-0 1,372|
|3. Florida (9) 0-0 1,278|
|4. Texas 0-0 1,231|
|5. Michigan (2) 0-0 1,218|
|6. West Virginia 0-0 1,205|
|7. Wisconsin 0-0 1,114|
|8. Oklahoma 0-0 1,026|
|9. Virginia Tech 0-0 1,005|
|10. Ohio State 0-0 919|
Okay, I can live with that. USC is the team to envy, as usual. LSU I can handle. Florida at 3 makes sense being the defending champs, usually not being in the top 5 as defenders is a rarity. Texas could easily replace LSU or Florida, me thinks. And Michigan at 5 is also pretty good considering the meltdown last year. All in all, no big surprises in the top 5.
I really don't see any of 7-10 being in the top 10 at the end of the season. Of course I didn't include West Virginia in that prediction. And the reason I didn't is because I see them playing someone for the title in New Orleans come January. Who? You'll just have to wait my legion of loyal readers.
Not surprisingly, the Big Ten coaches picked Michigan to win the Big Ten this year. This annual right of passage for the coaches is probably an exercise in futility. But its done anyway. And if they're going to pick someone, by all means pick the boys in blue. The last time we were hand-picked by the coaches to take the conference was in 2004, when we did, and made it to the Rose Bowl. We won't discuss the outcome of that game though.
Moving on. Jim Harbaugh. He was a good chap while he played here. Did well in the NFL. Made a name for himself I guess. Got some well deserved attention when he made the leap to head coach at Stanford. But then he had to open his mouth. His comments, be they true or not...were simply uncalled for. Oh man, its times like these that I wish Bo were still around. He'd call Jim up and have him in tears within 5 minutes.
But its fitting that it was the most Michigan of all Michigan men who called him out. Mike Hart gave Jim Harbaugh the verbal bashing he so righteously deserved. I can go on record by saying that Mike Hart is maybe the greatest thing to happen to Michigan football since Bo stepped off the field in 1989. There have been many before him, but none like him. He is the perfect embodiment of character and charisma.
I have a small Mike Hart story that I think fits well into this conversation.
It was the eve of the Michigan-Notre Dame game in 2005. I was with my girlfriend (now my wife) and we were at one of the local downtown AA eateries...Mongolian BBQ I think. And I was standing in line for a table and this middle aged woman who was totally decked out in Michigan garb bumped into me. Of course it wasn't a big deal, the joint was packed and I was probably not paying attention to anyone around me. So I looked over and said that I was sorry, as did she. After a minute of standing in line being bored, I asked the most obvious question you could ask someone looking like that in Ann Arbor on a Friday night in September: "So, going to the game tomorrow?"
She replied with an obvious, "Of course.", which seemed to me to be an odd way to answer, but in retrospect, made perfect sense.
"Why's that?", I said.
"My son is playing in the game".
Not even close to wearing anything with a clover on it, I safely assumed she was referring to a Michigan player.
"Who is your son?"
After I safely re-arranged the tongue I my mouth, I replied with a "Oh my God your Mike Hart's mom!?"
What was very strange to me at the time was the fact that she assumed I had no idea who Mike Hart was. I'm pretty sure I was wearing a Michigan hat...so it couldn't have been that confusing.
But after watching Mike conduct himself in interviews, off the field, etc...I can see exactly where he gets his persona. His unassuming attitude towards himself was directly reflected in his mother's way of talking about him.
I probably spent the next 5 minutes talking with her about Mike and his little brother. She and Mike's Dad split time between going to Mike's Michigan games, and his little brother's high school games. I don't remember his brothers name, or what year he was in HS, but I can safely assume that Lloyd Carr knows his name, and exactly what his college prospects are.
Speaking of Notre Dame...you can pencil them into you hatred list for the next 25 years. Yes, in a stunningly unimpressive move, we now play the Irish every year until 2031. How many head coaches will Notre Dame have in the next 25 years? What will the stadium capacity be at the Big House for that 2031 Notre Dame match up? I respect ND...but you gotta mix it up a little bit year to year. This damn contract will last until I am 51! Why Bill Martin....WHY????
And now to end on a high note. If you're anything like me and you have been dreading the day Mike Hart leaves Ann Arbor, fret no more.
Enter: Sam McGuffie. For all the nay-sayers and future opponents out there, a little taste of what to expect:
You might be saying to yourself that this is just a kid in high school who has some good runs...yeah, but this is Texas high school football that he's playing. These are some of the best and most talented kids around. Any kid who can run like this against opponents like that...makes my Michigan heart feel warm all over. In case you haven't been noticing, Michigan has been putting together a stellar 2008 recruiting class. There are some holes to fill on defense, but so far we've reeled in I think 8 or 9 four-star players so far. And with the McGuffie cherry on top...this could be Lloyd's final and best recruiting class of all time.
Just for fun: