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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

There will be no victory tonight

It's not a prediction that Michigan will lose. It's just that none of the three possible outcomes are all that satisfying:

1. A blowout win. Sure, we'll be 8-4 and avoid a disastrous 5-loss season, but it will just sum up how this season was such a struggle; every week was spent trying to avoid something - avoiding a bowl-less season, avoiding an overtime loss, avoiding falling into oblivion. Plus, a big win over a Big 12 opponent would only underscore how this team underperformed much of the year.

2. A close win. Again, we avoid the 5-loss season and all that, but if we struggle to beat a Nebraska team that probably wouldn't have had a winning record in a decent conference, then we've fallen further than many might have thought. It would hardly be the springboard into what should - SHOULD - be a big season in 2006.

3. A loss of any kind. Obviously, this is the worst scenario. Five losses for the first time in 21 years. Seeing yet another program that was down pass us by. No momentum for next year. The only positive that could come from this is having Lloyd shake up the staff. Ideally he'd do this no matter what the score is tonight.

Either way, I'll be watching - though I set my DVR earlier in the week just to make sure that if I forgot about the game until later tonight I could watch the first half. Yes, I thought that was a possibility. That's how bad this season has been.

2 comments:

Yost said...

I have a bad feel, too, Benny. And I shouldn't. This is a mediocre Nebraska team at best. Period. That's not a slam on Big Red, it's just a fact.

As for shaking up the staff, unfortunately, I don't think that will happen no matter what and it's a shame. I read in the Detroit News preview of the game how the "defense was much improved" this year and was 3rd in the conference. Hey, remember when we used to be THIRD IN THE NATION?! How 'bout some higher goals!

Even worse, I don't care if you are "3rd" and only give up, I dunno, 275 yards a game if the last 75 of that are on the last drive of the game and we lose! I'd rather we give up 500 yards between the 20s and when it counts MAKE A DAMN STOP!

IC said...

Interesting and well thought out post, Benny, but I totally disagree with the notion reflected in your title.

If we win, there will be victory and I don't mean just in the literal sense. I do agree that a sloppy, reluctant game in which we A) win in OT B) win when Nebraska's fourth quarter comeback comes up short will have no meaningfully positive effect on this season or next. I also agree that a loss could be a disaster--this is not a good team we're playing--and with five defeats, the troubling tOSU whammy, and the growing sense of Lloyd's lame duck status (due to retirement, not firing), we would be putting ourselves in danger of suffering a potentially long-lasting fall from grace.

However, if we beat Nebraska soundly (or even better crush them) we can definitely build on that heading into 2006. Hopefully the coaches and players don't share your gloomy forecast for tonight, though I am afraid that they might, particularly after Lloyd poisoned the well with his ridiculous public discouragement with not being invited to the Outback.

I was watching some of this year's Sparty game last night and thought that we need to play tonight's game the way we played most of that game--fearlessly and a little desperately. Of course it helped having a healthy Mike Hart, but we had a critical (and successful) play with Bass under center and Henne lined up wide and we spread the field and regularly found Avant and others down the middle.

Even when we win, we struggle when we play like robots. This is a bowl game--we need to be aggressive, have some fun, and take some chances. If we do we will win, helping to forge a mindset that will serve us well next year.