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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Twas the Night Before Football...

The Minnesota game is going to be a very telling bellwether game for the rest of our season, maybe even more so than MSU last weekend. Let's face it, Michigan could've been 0-4 and would have still played their best game of the year thus far against their in-state rival. But tomorrow is going to be different. The emotion won't be the same. We haven't lost to the Golden Gophers since 1986 (when we had just risen to #1 in the country only to be upset at home!). And w/ resurgent PSU coming to town next week, there is always the chance to, not look ahead, but take the little vermin not quite as seriously as we should. Furthermore, Minnesota will be fighting to save their season tomorrow the same as we had to do last weekend.

In other words, tomorrow is the perfect test to see if the ND and Wisco losses were flukes, a combination of injuries and bad luck. To find out if this team really can turn out to be as good as advertised before the season started. Or instead, if MSU was the fluke game and the ND/Wisco results had nothing to do w/ injuries or luck but rather the simple fact that, uh, we stink as much as it appeared in those games.

But Michigan has a great tradition of recovering from bad starts and finishing strong:
* In 1980, they started 1-2 (having lost 5 of their last six if including the last three games of the '79 season) only to go on to win the rest of their games, including the Rose Bowl, w/ arguably Bo's best defense which didn't allow a TD in the last 5 1/2 games.
* In 1988, Michigan started off 0-2, losing heartbreakers to #13 Notre Dame and my second most painful loss (after ND '80 and before Colorado '94) to #1 Miami, before rebounding to finish out the year 9-0-1 (remember ties?) including a Rose Bowl victory over SoCal.
* And most recently, there was 1998 when Meeechigan again started 0-2 then bounced back to win 10 of their final 11.

However, one of these years the hole is going to be too deep. One of these times the rebound won't happen. One of these times, sad to say, Mighty Michigan won't be able to turn it around after the slow start. Is this that year?

Tomorrow is going to be a true test of this team's maturity and the coaching staff's ability to get them ready to win a game they, as a top team, should win. Period. Yes, it's amazing what one game -- in this case MSU -- can do for a team's (and this True Blue fan's) psyche. And I still believe. At least until 4pm or so tomorrow rolls around.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Minnesooooota, 21

PS Please note how cocky I'm getting now as a "blogger," putting hyperlinks in my posts an' shiat. Dat's right. I might put a hyperlink here for no reason jus' cuz I can (c'mon, you know you're tempted).

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