In times like these, I like to ask myself, "What would Bo do?"
It seems cliche to pick apart every minor detail of this Michigan football team right now. The internet, television, radio call in shows...have all been lit up with detractors and fans all questioning the heart and will of this team. The offense is young and over-matched. The defense looks lost. All in all, we're struggling. No doubt about it. But what the 2nd half last week showed us is that, when you have a very young football team, things like this can happen.
For the first 30 minutes of the game, aside from Illinois' opening drive, Michigan was in control. About to go up 20-7, all things looked good for Michigan. Then, the collapse. 4 shots at the endzone from the 1 yardline and we didn't get it done. Illinois then drives 99 1/2 yards to go up 14-13. From then on, Illinois had all the momentum and control. Michigan was reeling and could not get it back. For a young team and a new coaching staff...that's not easy to come back from.
I find fault with certain things that Michigan could have done better...of course, we all do. But at the time it was all unraveling, it was chaos. It showed that age trumps youth in situations like that. Illinois may not have better players than we do, but they had experience and momentum. And when it was all said and done, all we can do is look at the mistakes we made...get better and play another game this week.
There are those out there that will look at this game as the beginning of the end for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. Those same people will also hope that the NCAA investigation of "practice-gate" will turn up some bad things that will lead to Michigan getting reprimanded and Rodriguez getting fired. Believe it or not, there are people out there who have read the Rodriguez contract to know that if such a thing occurs (a serious NCAA ruling against the program), that Michigan has the right to terminate Rodriguez's contract without penalty.
I really don't think it will come to that. But some people do. Some Michigan "fans" hope that we lose the next three games and not become bowl-eligible.
I am not one of those people.
To me, there is no Michigan "bandwagon". You're either a fan, or you're not. If you're on the "bandwagon", then you're not really a fan of the program. If you don't want to see Michigan do well and watch these young men succeed...then go watch another team. Go watch Michigan State and bury your head in the sand in East Lansing.
Michigan doesn't need bandwagon fans. Never have.
What they do need is for the true blue fans to rally behind these young players. We have three games left. Purdue is a team that we can beat. Wisconsin and tOSU are very good teams that offer unique challenges that this team hasn't seen yet. But it all starts this week against Purdue.
The cards are stacked against us right now. The players, coaches and program as a whole are down. The loss to Illinois was a huge blow. It is probably the worst loss of the season so far. But the real question is how is this team going to react?
We'll know this weekend. And, I'm happy to say that MBN will be covering the game from the pressbox again. We'll be "All In" with access to give you the best coverage we can of all the action on Saturday. So tune in, come to the Big House and get behind this program...they need it more than ever now.