Joy Comes in the Morning

Photo: Patrick Barron
I was hoping a few days would be enough of time. Enough time for clarity, perspective, meaning. Something. Anything.

I've written this post three times now. I wrote one on Sunday which was pretty solemn and bitter. Then I wrote another post yesterday that was far more angry and dismissive of the outcome and the effort we saw out of Michigan. Neither post felt right to me. They both had a feeling of "this will make Ohio State fans happy to read" about them. Those posts will never see the light of day.

In the final evaluation of this game, it was just a perfect storm of Michigan being favored when they really shouldn't have been and coming into this game maybe a little too overconfident. I think Michigan underestimated just how good Ohio State could be. To the Buckeyes credit, it was their best game of the year by far. It also just happened to come when Michigan's defense had no answers. And then of course, there's the whole Urban never losing as an underdog thing. It was a perfect storm.

In previous versions of this post I talked about the Ohio State fans and what I witnessed from the sideline in the 4th quarter. Where some fans drunk and belligerent? Yes. Do I think it was excessive? Yes. Do I think there's a bigger issue here that needs to be addressed? No. They're fans. They're rowdy and happy about their team's success. Ohio is a depressing place and for a lot of these people, this is all they have. They're experiencing Ohio State's second 7-game winning streak in 15 years in this series. And Ohio Stadium sells alcohol. What do want from them?

The only thing I'll say is they do need to address the fans running on the field immediately after the game. Drunk assholes and dejected players are a horrible combination. Ohio State has to find a better way to address this.

Anyway, the trick now for Michigan is where they go from here. The knee-jerk reaction Michigan fans calling for coaching changes mean nothing to me. This was simply a good team having a bad day. Ohio State was a buzzsaw and it sucks, but it's not time to freak out. Last year Michigan was 8-4 and 4th in the division. This year, they're 10-2, tied for first in the east, and likely headed to either the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl.

If Michigan can maintain this trajectory, building up the program, getting bigger stronger and faster, continuing to recruit next year's schedule is far more favorable than this year's...then I'd say the future is pretty damn bright. I mean, they were favored against a 10-1 Ohio State team in Columbus...that ain't nothing. They just didn't deliver. But I think it does speak for how far this program has come in a short time, especially in a year when expectations were low because of such a tough schedule.

This loss to Ohio State must be a lesson for this team. And that lesson is never take this game lightly. I don't think Michigan was mentally prepared for this game the way they should've been. Much like Ohio State and Michigan in the 90's, Michigan's season was spoiled by a team they thought was on the ropes. That mistake needs to be learned from.

Joy comes in the morning.

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