Confirmation and Condemnation

If last year’s loss to the Buckeyes was a flying boot to the nads, this year has been a continued series of scrotum taps that prevent recovery. Yesterday, Michigan outplayed the 5th-ranked team in the country, on their home turf, for the first 40 minutes of the game. Mo Hurst and his D-line cohorts submitted another snuff film for NFL scouts. Thanks to an offense that probably shot off the last bits of its foot weeks ago, this only manifested a 3-point lead. Like every other good thing that happens to Michigan, it was swiftly ripped away and rendered a distant memory, and I felt guilty for ever believing things could go differently.

The problems with the Wolverines are well-documented at this point. The safeties are liabilities, especially in coverage, with little depth. The receivers don’t make plays. After a hot start, special teams has ranged anywhere from mediocre to bad. Quarterback was a sore spot even before Speight broke his back. The offensive line cannot pass protect: unblocked rushers have now pulverized the top two QBs on the depth chart, decapitating whatever meager hopes Michigan had against elite foes. It would amount to an Achilles’ heel but for Michigan’s many other flaws. Even the coaching has been far from unimpeachable: uninspired playcalling and a lack of discipline have at times exacerbated these issues.

Michigan will lose to Ohio State. They might even lose their bowl game and go 8-5. The team has undershot expectations, wasting time and talent despite Don Brown’s best efforts. Of course, the misery of rooting for a disappointing football team has been magnified tenfold by the fucking fans. Characterized by a bizarre mixture of entitlement and outrage unique to Michigan, a segment of the fanbase seems to be competing to see who can be the loudest cynic. It’s as if these people derive glee from myopic condemnation of everyone they purportedly support. I, too, am depressed over MSU and OSU eating our lunch for the past 10 years. I understand the frustration that Michigan has not met the astronomical expectations rightfully placed on Harbaugh’s shoulders. But it was apparent that this was a rebuilding year even before Wilton Speight went down in West Lafayette. What I don’t understand is the compulsive need to pile on as this gets repeatedly confirmed. Even if some inherent trait of Jim Harbaugh or his staff renders his team pathologically unable to ever win a big game, there is zero glory in being right. For the sanity of the rest of us, please keep these takes to yourself.

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