As he pointed out, Brian very eerily hit the nail right on the head a couple of days ago, when he wrote:
"To a Michigan fan, every Irish loss over the past ten years has been due to an unfortunate, ridiculous confluence of unlikely events: fumbles, ridiculous refereeing, blocked punts, hilarious deflected passes, etc. It does not matter if it is true or not (though it is): that is what it feels like." (ed note: I changed the contracted words because the formatting was screwed up for some reason)I had a similarly prophetic moment yesterday. I was explaining to my girlfriend's new roommate (who went to Texas A&M for undergrad) about Michigan football. I told her, "When we lose games, they'll always be heartbreakers. And when we're getting blown out, we'll score a late touchdown or two to make it close. Then we'll get the ball back with a few minutes remaining and a chance to pull off the comeback. And it won't happen."
The exception was obviously the Michigan State game last year, which was still the most unbelievable thing I have ever witnessed in person.
I never thought I would see Michigan's offense blow a game this season. There were 2 silver linings to that abortion of a game though: 1) Our defense actually played pretty darn well. If you would have told me before the game that we'd hold ND to 17 points and under 100 rushing, I would have thought we'd win by 20 points. They put the offense in a position to win the game, and they didn't do it. 2) I only paid $21 for my ticket, instead of the $59 face on non-student tickets.
I swear someone dressed up John Navarre in a #7 jersey. There were batted passes (at least 5, though many of them were because Courtney Morgan was dressed up as our right tackle). There were mis-reads. There was locking onto receivers. There were overthrown balls. There were underthrown balls. There was general suckitude. About the only thing missing from Johnny's repitoire was Chad somehow managing to sack himself and unintentionally spike the ball (both happened at Wisconsin in 2001). That was his worst game by far as a Wolverine.
Ahman Grady fumbled twice more today, though one appeared like it might have been Henne's fault. Lloyd didn't blame him (at least in the media) for putting it on the ground, but that's 3 times in two games. Can't keep doing that if you want to keep getting carries. Though we might not have a choice since Hart went down, and Lloyd said he might be out awhile. Sweet.
I won't watch replays of this game, but I swear to God I don't see how they had conclusive video evidence to overturn Henne's fumble on the 1. How do you see in a pile if a player recovered the ball before the whistle went? And ignoring that, how do you not review the previous play, when The Wolverine ($ link) said he was in by a half-yard. I don't like this replay system, no-sir. And not just because we had a couple calls go against us today. The NFL's system works just fine. Put it in the hands of the coaches. Don't leave it up to some guy in the booth to make a call on it. At the end of the Texas/OSU game, I thought Texas's RB got in the endzone on that option play. It was certainly close enough to warrant a review, but no one bothered to check.
Ryan's punts were not at all good today. He had a couple that ended up being alright thanks to nice rolls (and one that our guy inexplicably let go into the endzone), but he had his share of shanks. If he's been at all good in practice, I think it might be worth burning Zoltan's redshirt and getting him some time.
The play-calling sucked for the most part as well. I just don't get the lack of urgency that this team plays with when they're down big. It was the same thing last year against ND when we needed 2 scores in the last 3 minutes or so and they called a fullback draw. Maybe some of it wasn't the playcalling as much as Henne not being smart with his reads, but I'm going to snap if they don't stop throwing 3 yard passes when they need 10 yards. Or like the last play of the game. You need 15 yards, you can't throw a 5 yard out to the TE. If you want to make that throw, it damn well better be to Breaston, who at least has a shot to slip a couple tackles. And even then it's not a good idea. Our boys need to start finding the sticks.
On the bright-side, Texas won. Hook 'em. They became my 3rd favorite team (It goes Michigan, huuuuuuuge gap, Louisville, medium sized gap, Texas) after the Rose Bowl last year because their fans were such class acts. I hope this is finally their year, now that Michigan
The Nascar race was a joke. Gordon once again qualified well, then just dropped back further and further. Every change his team made made the car worse and worse. And then some back-marker drove him into the wall. Harvick had a great car at first and it just went away from him. I officially have no one to root for in The Chase now. I was thinking about rooting for McMurray, but then some backmarker wrecked him even. Kid's a class act though. Wouldn't say anything inflammatory, even though the guy basically ended his season. I'm rooting for anyone that's not Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle or Matt Kenseth (even though he's a Packers fan so he's ok). Unfortunately those are probably the 4 favorites to win it. I guess I'd like to see Mark Martin pull it off. It's still gonna be a crappy last 10 races without any of my guys in the Chase.
I've lost a lot of respect for that series over the way they handle infractions and driving penalties. What I've learned over the past few days is that it's not ok to flip someone off (Martin Truex Jr. is getting a 25 point docking for that) but that it is ok to intentionally cause a wreck and end someone's season (Dale Jarrett wrecking Newman and taking Harvick out of the Chase and getting a 2 lap penalty). Then today, Nascar starts penalizing guys left and right for "rough driving". I believe there were 3 guys tonight that got 5 lap penalties for that. But Jarrett gets essentially nothing (since his day was done anyway after he wrecked Newman. 2 more laps wasn't going to hurt him) for what he did 2 weeks ago. But God-forbid Truex should go flip off a guy for almost flipping his car over (he's the points leader too!). It's just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
It's just one of those weekends. The kind that happen every so often during the year. The ones where absolutely nothing goes right sports-wise. So far we've got Michigan blowing that game and Gordon & Harvick not making The Chase tonight. My official predictions for tomorrow are that Herta will get taken out by the freakin' Japanese guy that's wrecked him twice this year, and that the Packers will lose. The weekend's just shaping up that way.
But Bill Simmons, Green Bay is not going 4-12 (unless Favre gets hurt) and the Bears are not making the playoffs with Kyle Orton at QB. Oh, and the Lions aren't going 5-11 either. Favre has never had a losing season. He's not going to suddenly go 4-12. And as for that "ridiculous draft"....isn't it a little early to say that? They drafted their QB of the future, who has looked pretty darn good. They got a starting safety. They found a start guard in the 7th round. And only one of their picks didn't make their roster. Some of that is that the defense isn't real good and a lot of those guys might not have made other teams, but even still...finding that many guys in a draft that are good enough to crack a 3 time defending division champions' roster isn't a "ridiculous draft", especially considering they got a guy that was supposed to go #1 overall. Would a defender have looked nice at #24, sure. But for value, there might not have been a better pick in the draft. We'll see in a few years--and granted my track record at projecting QBs hasn't been real good--but I think the 49ers are going to want that one back.
Big Snake had a Gordie Howe Hattrick (a goal, an assist, and a fight) tonight in the Wings' rookies' 7-1 win over Columbus. I'd love to see him make our roster, just so I can get a Big Snake jersey. Howard stopped 20 of 21 shots. Tomorrow's decision day for Pavel Datsyuk. Finally will this saga end?