There are only so many variations of words and phrases that can describe the all 'round butt whuppin' Michigan received this past Saturday in Columbus. To save you the trouble, just use Maize n Brew's trademarked Michigan post-game column Mad Libs:
On ______, 2008,
dropped another (horrid, close) game to ______. The offensive was ineffective in the red zone despite (Minor, Shaw, McGuffie, Brown) running for over 100 yards. (Nick Sheridan, Steven Threet) looked lost running Rodriguez’ spread offense. The majority of (Sheridan’s, Threet’s) passes were under thrown or over thrown, and of the passes that found hands only Greg Mathews seemed capable of holding onto the ball. Drops by (Odoms, Stonum, Clemons) killed several drives. Michigan managed only (one, two) conversions in the Red Zone and looked out of sorts the entire game. Michigan
Defensively the Wolverines generally stood firm, but their problems with 3rd and long continued.
gave up (1st downs, Touchdowns) on 3rd and (6, 8, 10, 15, 25, 30, 31, 75) on (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) occasions. While the Line was stout, the Wolverines’ pass coverage was victimized again, surrendering (40, 50, 60, 70, 80) yard (touchdown, touchdowns) in obvious passing downs. Making matters worse the Wolverines problems on special teams continued, as (Shaw, Odoms, BooBoo, McGuffie, Minor, Trent) fumbled (a punt, multiple punts, the kickoff, multiple kickoffs) resulting in (3, 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, 21, 24) points for __________. The loss (damages, puts in serious peril, digs a deep hole and buries, continues to make a mockery of the passing of) Michigan ’s bowl hopes. Michigan
Sure this leaves some things out, but it's pretty accurate.
As much as I'd love to pen some heart felt opus about the trials and trivails of this team, my heart truly isn't in it. Like so many in the Michigan blogosphere, this blog has attempted to explain the problems with the Michigan offense, defense and special teams over the past three to four months. It's attempted to bring some solace to the disenfranchised fan and bring a little sanity to the fan ready to climb the bell tower with a .22. This is, after all, just a game.
The issues that put Michigan in its 3-8 tailspin were evident and well chronicled prior to Saturday's game. Saturday just reinforced what we already knew. This season Michigan possessed a good, not great defense. Michigan had a horrifically bad offense. An offense so bad the Captain of the Exxon Valdez probably could've piloted it with the same level of success. Michigan had a good punter and a gigantic question mark in the return game. A question mark that basically turned into a giant meat cleaver that cut Michigan off at the knees more often than it inflicted any pain on the opponent.
So on Satruday, another chapter in the Ohio State Michigan rivalry as well as another chapter in the history of Michigan football was concluded. These will not be pleasant chapters to re-read. But they are part of the story, and sadly they are more memorable than any of the mid-tier bowl seasons of the past twenty years.
The next chapter will begin with the fall out from this season. Who left. Who didn't buy in to the system. But it will also begin with optimism. Optimism for the new players on their way to Ann Arbor. The guys that are returning with a chip on their shoulder.
The Game is over. Michigan lost. The season is over. Michigan finished 3-9. You can talk about the historical firsts, all the bad things that happened so you make your deadline, the question marks, the problems that never got fixed. Or you can move on. You don't have to forget the past year, ignore it, or pretend it didn't happen. You shouldn't. There are lessons to be learned. But you don't have to dwell on it.
The most recent chapeter in Michigan's storied history concluded Saturday night. The newest chapter starts today. You can be a part of it.
All you have to do is turn the page.