Folks who are fans of The West Wing will understand the nature of the title of this post.
I'm slightly superstitious when it comes to watching Michigan Football. I'm not naturally a superstitious person, but something about Michigan Football seems to bring it out of me. No, I don't choose my gameday attire based on previous success or failure. Like George Costanza, I dress based on mood.
But I do choose some things carefully. For example, I had a pretty good run at home games using my 2011 media pass lanyard. I was undefeated for over 2 years with that yellow lanyard around my neck...until last year's Nebraska game. I figured it was time to move on, so for the next home game against the Buckeyes, I went with the 2013-issued blue lanyard. Not so much I guess.
It's the little things.
It's the little things...like being excited about spring practice videos and press conferences and posting and analyzing those things on this site. I get excited about those little things because it's not only my right, but my obligation as a Michigan Football blogger. I do it because I want to please the college football Gods and not feel their wrath once the season rolls around.
I realize that maybe not everyone believes in the college football Gods, and that's fine. But how do you really know and is it worth being so casual about it? You see what I'm getting at.
Normally, I'm psychologically ready for spring practice. I'm typically the proper amount of confident that the upcoming season is going to be a good one despite whatever happened the previous year. Last year at this time, I was absolutely positive that the stars were aligned for a legitimate run at the conference title game. Michigan was returning just the right amount of talent at just the right places (except the interior OL, of course). Recruiting had been going really well. The staff had been around for 2 years. The schedule was set up nicely. Things were looking good.
But the funny thing about confidence is that you can have too much of it sometimes without really knowing it. The season started to fracture in the Akron and UConn games…we all saw it, and felt it. By the time Penn State and Michigan State had firmly ripped Michigan's heart out, the season was all but over. Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State were all games that Michigan could've and should've won but the confidence of Team 134 were gone by that point.
The effort was there. But there was just no blood going to it.
You could argue there's been no blood going to it the last two years.
You can call it a slump, that's fair. Slumps can come from seemingly out of nowhere, other times they're triggered by something…youth, inexperience, poor senior leadership, injuries, schedule, coaching, bad luck. It's usually a combination of a few of those. I think Michigan's slump is the result of a few of those.
I want to be excited for this coming season. I want the blood to start pumping again. But I just don't feel it right now. I don't think any Michigan fans do.
With Michigan hoops stealing the off-season limelight these past few years, it's hard to get excited about football sometimes.
And that's not ok.
I can only go so long watching spring "practice" videos and listening to March press conferences before I slowly lose my mind. Spring football looks like football and sounds like football, but real football is eons away. And if you're looking for sweeping predictions for the season that are made during spring practice, well then, you're just begging to be lied to.
Oh don't get me wrong, we're still going to talk about stuff. I mean, that's what we do. But not right now. Because I think it's important to note that speculation and rumors during the spring are a different animal than speculation and rumors during the summer…so why burn so many calories dissecting spoon-fed, state-controlled practice footage when all you really glean from it is that Devin Garnder took a snap from somebody, dropped back into something I assume is a pocket and threw a pass to Devin Fucnhess for a gain of what looked like 10-15 blurry yards against some semblance of a defense.
If you can make heads or tails from that, I applaud you.
Because its not that easy. Its not easy to think something in your gut and try to materialize it by ingesting coach-speak and horribly zoomed-in practice tape. I realize this is by design. Fort Schembechler isn't going to throw open their doors to the media and the public and become a transparent organization. It simply doesn't work that way.
So for now, we take what we can get – and right now that's a Big Ten winning Michigan basketball squad primed for another great run in the B1G and NCAA tournaments. There's nothing wrong with that. It's great to see Beilein's boys doing so well.
Good for them. They deserve it.
As for football? I hope they're watching as well. I hope they're seeing a young team that had to replace their top 3 stars from a national runner-up squad that did what no one thought they could…win a title in the toughest and best basketball conference in the country.
As for the college football Gods? We'll handle that in due time. It's a long off-season. And we're just getting started.
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