Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Victors: Team 137, Game 12

Saturday, 26 November 2016 @ Ohio Stadium
(№ 2) Ohio State 30-27 Michigan (№ 3) (2 O.T.)
10-2, B1G 7-2

Ever since the hiring of Jim Harbaugh, the Impossible Unicorn of Our Dreams, to lead the valiant Wolverines back to the college football "Promised Land," there has been talk of the new Ten-Year War, the nigh-legendary decade of head-to-head competition betwixt Michigan head coach "Bo" Schembechler & Ohio State head coach "Woody" Hayes. So far, we are 0-2 in the Harbaugh-Urban Meyer Ten-Year War. Losing to the hated Buckeyes sucks. As much as we're lost in the last decade & a half (twelve out of the last thirteen games), it never gets any easier. The "agony of defeat" is the price all sports fans must be willing to chance in order to experience the "thrill of victory," but it is a steep price nonetheless.

The worst part, amidst all the terrible aspects of losing the the hated Buckeyes, is that we could have won. I'm not claiming that as any kind of moral victory, because it really did make the loss that much harder to swallow, but the valiant Wolverines could have, arguably should have won against the hated Buckeyes in their own awful house, the Horseshoe. The Ohio State offense, which had struggled all season, simply had no answer for Uncle Don's Murder Machine. The Scarlet & Gray goons couldn't pass, they couldn't run. Wherever they went, a swarm of Maize & Blue heroes thwarted them with extreme prejudice. The Michigan offense had its share of struggles against the Ohio State defense, but nothing like the annihilation the hated Buckeyes faced at the hands of the Murder Machine.

At which point, Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight threw the game away, all-but-literally. In regulation time, the hated Buckes scored seventeen points. Fourteen of those seventeen points came as a result of two Speight interceptions deep in Michigan territory. One was returned for an Ohio State touchdown & the other have the hated Buckeyes a very short field, an advantage that not even the Murder Machine could overcome in that instance. Without Speight, the Ohio State offense only mustered a paltry three points against the Michigan defense. Three points! Speight gave them fourteen! Adding insult to injury, Speight also fumbled a snap on the Ohio State goal line, when the valiant Wolverines were poised to score the points necessary for an insurmountable lead. One could see the bewilderment in Urban Meyer's eyes when he was interviewed heading into the locker room at halftime: Not only did Meyer & his staff have no answer for Uncle Don's Murder Machine, they couldn't even wrap their minds around the ferocity of the challenge confronting them. In four quarters of action, the Ohio State offense managed to score only three points without the direct assistance of Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight. Credit where it is due, Speight did throw two touchdown passes, but blame also where it is due, they were more than outweighed by his two interceptions & fumble. I am convinced, down to the marrow in my bones, that the Michigan Wolverines will never again win another game with Wilton Speight as our starting quarterback.

In two overtime times, we collapsed, overwhelmed by the toll of having snatched defeat from the jaws the victory. Each club scored a touchdown & extra point in the first overtime time, but in the second we could only managed a field goal, while the hated Buckeyes had their best offensive sequence by far, scoring the game-winning touchdown, no extra-point necessary.

In case I haven't mentioned it, losing to the hated Buckeyes sucks. It is the pits. The experience has absolutely nothing to recommend it to anyone. I am so very, very tired of losing to the hated Buckeyes. So tired that I am willing to entertain thoughts that are heresy in Ann Arbaugh: What is the point of paying Harbaugh, in whom I delight, all those millions & millions of dollars per year just to lose to Ohio State year-in & year-out? What is the point of "Who's get it better than us?" & "Building & attacking with an enthusiasm unknown to Mankind" & all the other, wonderful things that have made Michigan football feel like Michigan football again, if we lose to Ohio State every year? We all love Harbaugh. We all love what Harbaugh has already done. But all of that means nothing, none of it counts for anything, if the valiant Wolverines cannot defeat the hated Buckeyes at least half the time. Winning ten games a year is great, especially after the Lost Decade—after "The Horror" (Appalachian State) & losing to Rutgers & three losing season out of seven under Rich Rod & Hoke—but it simply is not enough if we cannot defeat them. "It is a tale told by an idiot, sound & fury signifying nothing," if we cannot win The Game.

Next: The Orange Bowl against the epithetless Seminoles of Florida State.

Go Blue!

No comments: