A lot of goings on these days with the Michigan program. I can safely say that this sudden turn of events these last two weeks (losing to Illinois and Purdue in basically must-win situations), has really taken any wind that was left out of Michigan fan's sails. The question that I want the answer to is, did it take the wind out of the team's sails? We'll find out in the next two weeks.
The losses this year have all sucked. But they're over. Done. We must move forward. And as much as it would be nice to beat Wisconsin and make it to a bowl game, for me the real payday would be knocking off the Buckeyes. I think any blue-blooded Michigan fan can agree with me on that one.
In only his 2nd year, Rich Rodriguez has endured as much heat as any coach ever at Michigan. And it's not that it's not completely unwarranted. Michigan has lost 14 games in less than 2 seasons. I've said my piece about why this is happening, and I've also said my piece about what we as fans need to do to get behind this team and support them. I'm willing to side with the fans left out there who still believe in Michigan and these coaches. I'm willing to give Rodriguez time to get things right, because I know that when he does, I want to be one of those fans who can say I never lost faith.
My faith has been questioned, believe me...but never lost. And it never will.
A friend of mine posted this quote to his Facebook page the other day. And I think it fits the current situation quite nicely...
"When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft; on the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing"That's what we're going to do here at MBN...keep believing. I look around the so-called "Michigan Man" fan base and all I keep seeing are people willing to give up on this coaching staff and throw in the towel for our last two games of the year. Those are not Michigan Men. Those are weak-minded, ignorant cowards who aren't willing to man-up when the chips are down.
- Bo Schembechler
So what that Purdue won for the first time in the Big House since 1966? Did you honestly think they'd never win there again? So what that Penn State broke their 9-game losing streak to Michigan? So what Michigan didn't go to a bowl last year for the first time since 1968? Streaks are made to be broken. Sure, it sucks to have to endure it...but too bad.
Does that really mean that you're not going to support this team or it's coaches anymore? If you're the kind of fan that won't support a team when they're struggling, then you're not really a fan, are you? It's easy to like a team that wins all the time.
It pisses me off to no end the sense of entitlement that some Michigan fans have. Just because we're Michigan, doesn't mean wins and success are just bought and paid for with echoes of historic success. In this modern age of college football, you have to earn everything you get. We haven't earned much these last two years. And the reason we haven't is Rich Rodriguez came in here and shook things up to get rid of all the dead weight that was the plague of this program over the last 10 years.
We had gotten stale. Just like Bo's quote from above..."When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft...". Never has such a quote been so true. Since the beginning of this decade, we've had some great wins at Michigan, but we've also struggled to make it back to the promised land. And time and time again, we've either lost big games to teams like Ohio State or a powerful non-conference opponent like USC, Oregon, Tennessee...or we've stubbed our toe against teams like Appy State or a lowly Big Ten doormat.
Either way...the main similarity in almost any loss over the last 10 years is simple: Lack of effort.
Rich Rodriguez is trying to end that mentality by completely changing the culture at Michigan. Gone are the days of "Hey, we're Michigan...we'll just show up and they'll be intimidated by our cool helmets." The parity of college football now so large that almost any team can beat anybody any week.
Amid all the losses and difficulty, I'm secure in my belief that Rich Rodriguez is the man for the job at Michigan. I saw it in his eyes last week in the press conference after the Purdue game. I heard it in his voice. We have all the pieces in place for great things to happen here. But what almost no one wants to hear is how difficult and how long the process is going to take for it to happen. But it will. Give it time.
When our freshman and sophomores start turning into juniors and seniors...success will follow. For me, it's the struggles of these last two years that will make all the achievements down the road that much more meaningful.
I've said my piece. I got it off my chest. It's time to move forward. And that means we have a game to play in 4 days in Madison. And this team needs it's fans back.
Who's with me?