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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Shut Up and Blog?

Michigan won. Which is the best that can be said about the Wolverines' 34-26 victory over Ball State yesterday.

And that's not negative, that's a fact.

All the hard work, all the redemption, all the vindication following last season's 7-5 mark nearly came crashing down against the Cardinals. A team that's not even a good MAC team. A team that has all of three victories -- against 1-9 Eastern Michigan, 2-8 Buffalo and 1-9 Miami of Ohio. A team that lost to something called North Dakota State...at home! A team starting a freshman QB. A team playing on the road. A team that had never even played a #2 ranked squad let alone beaten one. A team that was a nearly five touchdown underdog.

But a team that came within a whisker of ruining all that is so special for Michigan this fall.

And pointing this out does not make one less of a Michigan fan. Being disappointed in games like yesterday's, even in victory, doesn't mean one's not enjoying this magical and, let's be honest after 2005, unexpected National Title run. Getting frustrated that the Wolverines recently keep playing down to their competition the last couple weeks shouldn't call into question whether one bleeds maize and blue to the core.

At least you would think that's the case.

However, a select few readers seem to believe any criticism of the team is unfair. Pointing out a lack of improvement is unjustified due to a #2 ranking. Expecting more, especially against the Ball States of the world on Senior Day, is downright negative. As if the mere fact that this is a "Michigan site" precludes one from heaping nothing the but praise on the team, come hell or high-water (or crappy win over a 3-6 MAC team).

However, I disagree. And I'm going to continue expressing such honest disagreement here. Sometimes in a way that is less than sugarcoated or polite (especially if I sit down to hammer out a post as soon as a game ends, my passions not yet subsided). But that's why I have chosen this blog as my outlet. So I can be brutally honest and, yes, at times raw. If folks prefer such thoughts couched in less colorful language, then they're really not going to enjoy some things I write.

So be it.

But when somebody leaves a comment after yesterday's unwarranted nail-biter such as, "I was never concerned that we would lose the game. As poorly as we played in half-two, I was not concerned about defeat," that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

Really? Not concerned at all? With Ball State having seven -- SEVEN -- cracks at the endzone from inside our 10 with about 3 minutes left?! Uh, just what exactly would it take for you to be concerned?

Sorry, can't play nice with stuff like that. Don't want to and not going to. Ever. And hopefully most readers enjoy, or at least respect, that.

So, is the sky falling? Of course not. This is one hell of a ride! If we win Saturday against IU will The Game in Columbus be for all the marbles? You bet your ass! And I'll be there cheering mine off.

But did U-M play like the second best team in the country yesterday? Shit no. Was the game an embarrassment? Yep. Across the board -- dropped passes, poor coaching (taking guys out too early before the game was totally in hand), defense giving up big plays, having to settle for FGs instead of TDs, not putting away an inferior opponent when up 31-12, etc. etc. etc.

And is that negative? Nope. Just the facts, ma'am.

34 comments:

Brickeye said...

Look on the bright side. At least Lou Holtz gave you all the credit in the world for your win today. So today wasn't a total failure for you guys :)

On the flip side my Buckeyes played its worse 30:00 this season.

Anonymous said...

No argument here Yost.

allaha said...

Two points:
1) It's your site, and it's free. Accordingly, you should (continue to) write what and how you like. For those of us who appreciate the analysis, passion, and humor, we will continue to read; others can go to iwantblindpraiseforUM.com. The very concept of a forum for the past 2500 years has been a place to exchange views, a goal which is ill-served if one can only express wholly favorable comments.
2) There is no doubt that tOSU and UM will retain the top two spots this week. However, do you think it is legitimate to drop teams -- even undefeated teams -- after lackluster wins late in the season? (This question is purely hypothetical, as no other teams can reasonably argue they currently deserve to be ranked 1 or 2.)

Scott said...

With regard to your take on those who think it’s unfair to criticize the team, I’d like to voice my agreement with the following analogy: I love my dog. About once a week, he refuses to do his business when I take him out at night and when this happens he usually leaves me a present in the kitchen that I get to clean up before going to work. Sometimes when I get to work I complain about it to my coworkers when they ask how I’m doing. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my dog; I’m just frustrated that 3 months of housetraining haven’t seemed to click yet. He’s a good dog, but there’s room for improvement.

TitleIX said...

If you watch Michigan Replay, or read the post-game quotes from the players, they all say the SAME THING that Yost, I and the other "cut and runners" said--the team wasn't focused, they didn't show up, and they almost blew it.

That's the truth.

To question our love for, understanding of, or committment to Michigan Sports is just wrong. I don't follow along blindly.
I also will praise AND criticize. I have expectations that we play to our potential.

SO-a win is a win, and I'm feeling less frustrated than yesterday. And hopefully this is the smack across the head the players needed. As Chad said, "some people have been reading their press and believing it too much" (to paraphrase)

But really--don't call anyone's committment or loyalty into question when we express our frustration and opinions. It reminds me way too much of the political blow hards and their 'reason' these days.......

GO BLUE
BEAT THE HOOSIERS
ROCK THE VOTE

Anonymous said...

It's like the team does better in tough away games where there is more pressure and understanding of the situation. In those games, the team launches a coordinated, well-planned attack, such as against ND. That's why we destroyed them. The players and the coaches couldn't get their heads out of their asses because they didn't take the game seriously and were just thinking ahead. That's not the way to win football games. And nobody wanted to be there. Hopefully yesterday was a wakeup call.

Go Blue!

Anonymous said...

From Logician Anon Blogger Person (aka last night's Anon606pm)
To TitleIX and Yost

I hope you didn't take my statements as criticism of your criticism. I said numerous times that I was disappointed with our second-string play, and the receiving corps for dropping so many passes. I said the second half was unacceptable.

I also said, to the discontent of Yost's hairs on the back of his neck, that I wasn't concerned about a defeat. I wasn't. Was I on my feet? Yes. Was I surprised to see Ball State cut it to 8 points with some chances? Yes. And that didn't sit well with me.

BUT, I let it go as soon as the game was over, because there are some games in a long season where "I didn't play my "A" game." (Credit to Tiger Woods, circa 1997). But, without their "A" game, they won and its done now.

Does the team NEED to use the experience as final motivation to focus and prepare to totally DESTROY their next three opponents? ABSOLUTELY.

Good day, fellow Michigan fans.

P.S. Yost, thanks for quoting me on your main page.

All the best,

Logician Anon Blogger Person

Anonymous said...

One teeny tiny little problem with any analysis talking about how close Ball State was to beating Michigan. They were down by 8 points.

--they had to score a TD, AND
--they had to score a 2 point conversion (based on 0/7 inside the 10 that wasn't exactly a sure thing), AND
--they had to stop Michigan in the last 2 minutes, AND
--they had to beat Michigan in OT

Even if they score a TD, it's still very unlikely they win the game. The odds of them converting the 2 point conversion had to be around 30% or less. The odds of them stopping Michigan on a last drive when Michigan moved up and down the field all day had to be less than 50%. The odds of them winning if it went to OT had to be less than 50%.

Mathematically, even if they got it in the endzone they still probably lose the game over 90% of the time.

Michigan had everything go wrong in that game and still weren't even that close to losing.

surrounded in columbus said...

Yost,
first, all the post game interviews, Henne's, Carr's, other players', admit they took this week (and game) lightly. is that an excuse? no. they played awful at times, but can anyone really blame them for looking ahead?

they prepared poorly, they played poorly, and hopefully they learned from it. if they light up IU, everyone will forget about it.

second, pissing & moaning is a part of the michigan tradition ("i can't believe Bo's blowing it in the 3rd quarter. Bo always waits until the 4th quarter to blow it).

when we were up 40-21 in the waning minutes of the ND game, i bitched about the play calling to my friends watching the game. why? partly out of force of habit, partly because i thought we could do better.

never being satisfied w/ less than perfection is not a vice. keep bitching. keep demanding perfection. and don't feel like you need to apologize for either.

Anonymous said...

My two cents.
All these years we have sometimes just plain showed up to play, without any life, go through the motions and either win close or drop the ball to some damn team that we have no business losing to.

Also ppl say LC hates blowing out over matched opponents (this includes quite a few conference foes) but we always seem to take it easy and end up playing a close game. Is 42-12 a blowout but at the same time it not like hanging 70 on a team. Cna we please shoot for this from now onwards. times have changed and voters perceptions have changed, they want emphatic wins on tape and on the scoresheet. Hope LC learns this.

This year's team has been different from teams of the past in that they have never taken a day off on D. But yesterday was different. They drove 70 some yards on starting D, and this was BSU, what the hell was going on. And for second string argument, shouldn't our second stringers be competent against a MAC team with two wins? Hope we accept this and try to damn get better, even if we are no 2 in the nation.

GO Blue!!

Anonymous said...

And where was our pass rush yesterday. Where was Woodley, Biggs, Jaimison, Branch and Taylor.

Anonymous said...

One, thing. Yes, Ball St. drove the length of the field on our starting D at the end of the game, but this included a group of guys - minus Burgess - who thought their day was done 45 minutes ago. It's tough to get back up when you've already started to mentally cool off.

Just a thought.

TitleIX said...

All love Logician Anon Blogger Person.
All love.

Or, for the Ally McBeal fans...

BYGONES

Anonymous said...

Your comments are not without merits. But its obvious you have never coached a team in your life.
Mich needed to rest its banged up players going into the IU and OSU games. This was obviously the game to substitute freely. The players knew it was a 60% game, that’s why there were so many mental mistakes. Sure Mich escaped by their nose hairs, but the talent rose to the occasion. The real test will be being mentally prepaired for IU and still playing 20 guys on O and D. Then on to the big game

Yost said...

Gee, Anon, I mean Bill Parcells, so nice to have coaching genius such as yourself opening all our eyes.

Yost said...

allaha,

I think it is legit, but you said it best -- in the current season, there is no one to fill the void. However, had WVU beat Louisville or SC still be undefeated, I think we would have been jumped this week getting that kind of scare from a 35 point 'dog.

allaha said...

Yost, I completely agree with you. tOSU and UM are safe at the top because no one can now claim to be better -- which is amazing (and I mean no disrespect) given tOSU and UM each have only one win over a team currently in the Top Fifteen, although admittedly those wins have been the two most impressive this season.

Howard21 said...

That is the exact reason I started my blog. I really don't care if any one reads it, but it was my only outlet to discuss Michigan football. I live in NW Washington. Not a lot of blue faithful, only the occasional Husky hater and they are few and far between. I don't know if WVU would have jumped has they won but they would have closed the gap and given more reason to have a Big East school in the NC. Did anyone watch the Sports Reporters this morning? They tore the Big East and Loisville a new one. I realize they aren't stacked but they do have the best winning percentage against BCS conference teams. Just a thought on them not sucking as much as everyone thinks.

boomstick aka Shop Smart, Shop S-mart said...

I would just like to point out to everyone who claimed we needed to win with "style points" one little flaw in your argument.

You are all completely wrong.

We picked up points in both the AP and the Coaches poll. Which means we picked up points in the BCS, because the computers ignore margin of victory.

Both Texas and Louisville, the new #3's, have less points than WVa had in the same spots last week. So can everyone quit crying that we didn't triple up the score on Ball State for those oh so precious style points?

Anonymous said...

It was refreshing to see the Buck fans not hijack this blog today after hijacking the "wtf" blog yesterday.

Ungar Kelt said...

Everyone was waiting for it, so here it is - your reason to bitch this season. You got to engage in a little of it after the Vandi and CMU games, but ND sort of ruined it. Now, we had a bad game. Bring on the “Chicken Little” cries. Go for it, get it out of your system.

A lot of us are enjoying one of the greatest seasons of Michigan football we’ve witnessed in our lives, and enjoying the hell out of being 10-0 and #2. Others - well, they are looking for a reason to live in 2005, waiting for the sky to fall.

Last year, Michigan might have lost that game against Ball St. This year, they won by being strong in the final moments. Criticism is certainly justified, but not hitting the panic button. Calm down.

Ball St should have never been in that game, but in life, a lot of things happen that shouldn't. But it didn’t cost us anything. Grow up and move on. WE WON - period.

Yost said...

Unger,

So let me see if I completely understand your enlightening comment -- I complained about the team's play after we looked shaky in the CMU and Vandy games, lavished insane praise on the team after the ND game (when we put up about 3 days of post-Irish victory stuff) then, after nearly blowing a game against a crappy MAC school, I bitch about the play? Do I have that straight? Gee, shocking.

As for "living in last season," seeing as we sell tshirts saying "Last season is over, bitch" and "Now do you believe?" I'm a bit perplexed by comment.

How in the hell is being upset and angry about a shit crap performance not enjoying the season? Seriously. Should we just put up the same posts over and over again lavishing praise, even if it's undeserved by the play on the field?

As for Michigan losing a game to Ball St last year, uh...no. These are games that Michigan's 3rd string should win b/c we wouldn't even recruit Ball St's first string.

And what the hell are you talking about "Chicken Little?" By stating if we play like we did against Ball State, we'll lose to OSU (and possibly IU)? If you think that's not the case, well, I can't help you and maybe football isn't a sport you should follow.

So grow up, move on and when you leave a comment, at least make sense.

allaha said...

Broomstick -- contrary to the implication in your post, the BCS does not factor in the AP: the two human polls that make up 2/3 of the BCS weight are the coaches and Harris poll.

DevilGrad said...

Even good teams crap the bed at least once a season. Really good ones get away with it and still win. If you want to bitch, bitch that it happened this late in the year. If you want to take some solace, keep in mind that Brady Hoke came from Lloyd's staff and probably knows how to game plan him as well as anyone would.

Besides, as a fan of that snake-bit 1-9 Miami team that is one of Ball U's wins, watching y'all whine about 10-0 is just damned unsightly. God may curse the Tigers (again), just to humble y'all, and then I will have a real bone to pick with you.

Carry on, though, gents.

Yost said...

LOL, DG.

And not complaining about 10-0, just expecting more from a team that IS 10-0 playing an inferior opponent this late in the season with so much at stake.

boomstick aka Shop Smart, Shop S-mart said...

Hey allaha, we picked up points in the Harris too. When I made my post, the BCS wasn't up yet because they were still waiting on the Harris numbers. I can only report the numbers I have available. As with the other two polls, the new #3 has less points than the last #3.

So, let us all understand that margin of vicorty didn't mean shit.

allaha said...

Broomstick -- if you're saying that MoV is irrelevant in the computers and matters only to the extent it may influence human voters in the coaches' and Harris poll, then you are absolutely right.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the criticism.
It is constructive and needed.

I know that there are many fellow Michigan fans who believe the Wolverines are above criticism and a take the self-satisfying position: "a win is win".

I disagree.

Wait until Carr/English/DeBord get a load of the game film this week.
UM football practice is going to be brutal.

I'm glad the Ball State game played out as it did.

The UM players are caught up in the hype and reading USA Today in the library. After the Notre Dame walloping, Carr said this would be the team's greatest challenge - not getting big heads.

Clearly, even on senior day, the Wolverine team was full of themselves going into this game.

This is a good lesson for the team to learn going in to Indiana and OSU road games. Finish! Finish the drive, finish the series, finish the quarter, finish the game.

Anonymous said...

7 of 14 on 3rd down and 2 FGs?

Field goals against one of the worst teams in the MAC?

Good luck with that kind of shoddy play vs. Indiana and Ohio State.

That is clearly NOT FINISHING.

DeBord should considering starting wideouts (Dutch, Tabb or others) who actually want to catch the ball and score touchdowns, not clown around.

boomstick aka Shop Smart, Shop S-mart said...

allaha

Please learn to read. It isn't hard to notice that my screen name is not a household cleaning implement. I also don't need you to tell me that MoV is unimportant to the computers and the extent it influences human voters.

My statement was made in direct rebuttal of the chicken littles who were complaining that we didn't run up the score or let Ball State hang around. The proof is in the point totals. Even after a lackluster performance, we still picked up points.

Anonymous said...

still a punk.

Anonymous said...

Yost, Benny, et al, I enjoy this blog more than any for my team (Gamecocks), or SEC for that matter. It's your blog, people obviously come here to read it, whether or not they complain about your content. You know they'll be back. In the meantime, I wish like hell my Gamecocks had Michigans problems.
(Aside to the scornful gods) Damn, why, why can't we be good. Please don't let that fart-monger Corso be right about the Gamecocks. We sacrificed one legendary coach on the altar of mediocrity, please don't require another from us. Reward us, reward us. At least let us beat Ohio State in the Outback Bowl for the third time this decade! Please!!!!!!

Yost said...

Anon,

I personally think Spurrier will make things happen down at South Carolina. Really do.

The problem is, the league is just so damn tough. For the Gamecocks to break through, they must get past 4 or 5 really good teams, not just 2 or 3 as is the case in most leagues.

Ungar Kelt said...

Yost,

"By stating if we play like we did against Ball State, we'll lose to OSU (and possibly IU)? If you think that's not the case, well, I can't help you and maybe football isn't a sport you should follow."

But we know that the game was close entirely because the 2nd string D played badly.

I'm sure that you read the piece in Sunday's Free Press from Michael Rosenberg. With that knowledge, how can you speculate that we are going to duplicate that same poor defensive effort again against IU & Tosu? Are you projecting that Michigan is going to sit the 1st string defense for the rest of the season?