Winnable Is a Stupid Way to Say "I Don't Know"


I eat my fingers.  I'm not really sure how it happened, or why it started, but somehow I've gone way beyond biting my nails to pretty much consuming the entire ends of each of my digits.  It's repulsive, and probably fairly unhygienic.  I use it as my reason why I never get sick.  I'm constantly putting all this disgusting crap into my system, so I've got antibodies for shit like potted plant dirt, never mind Swine Flu.  I got immunity from Swine Flu like 3 years ago after a particular nerve wrecking trip to the hog processing plant.  Mrs. Bixel hates it, with good reason I may add, so I'm trying to quit.  Let me tell you something about biting your fingers: that shit don't quit.  I quit a pack-a-day smoking habit easier than I'm kicking this thing.  About a week ago, upon returning to the United States and thus real life, I thought I had this thing kicked.  My nails were long and beautiful.  They clicked off the keyboard when I typed.

God I wish I could say that it were something different, something more meaningful that had me back to biting my fingers.  Like Cancer, or something.  I think Cancer would be nail-bite inducing enough to where people would see me at my desk gnawing my fingers and say "that's ok, it's cancer..." and the folks they were with would be all like "awww" instead of repulsed and determined not to shake my hand.  Instead, I took a look at Michigan's 2009 schedule.  That was all it took.  Now my fingers are essentially stumps again.  Thanks a lot, Michigan Football.

 

What I'm most interested in when I look at our 2009 schedule is this concept of  "winnable games."  I hear it all the time on message boards mostly, and I'm left wondering what, exactly, is meant by "winnable."  There could be several definitions:

  • Coach:  "Every game is winnable if you execute our plan you will not fail"
  • Fan 1:  "We're Michigan, we should be in position to win each game on talent alone
  • Fan 2:  "I study the rosters, the coach's history and tendencies, know a little about the depth chart situation, and deem that Michigan will have a shot in games XYZ"

The answer as to which is correct, I believe, lies somewhere in the middle.  In theory, the coach is correct.  Every game is winnable, which is why you have USA over Spain, or the inevitable mid-level PAC-10 team over USC (pick a year).  But for us here in fanhood land, this very clearly isn't the case.  No Purdue fan this year is going to look at the schedule and say "yep, 13-0, here we come!"  And, as we adjust to life under 3-9, neither is any Michigan fan.  Originally, I had labeled "fan 1" above as "homer fan" unti

l I realized that really that's not too far of an assumption to make.  Michigan, as a football playing school, should be in position to win every game on talent alone.  We have the resources, the history, and the staff to get top-tier recruits.  We should be in that position, but god knows (again, 3-9) we're definitely not.  Fan 2 was obviously what I wanted to be the correct definition, but even then, I think that's short changing the whole randomness/USA vs. Spain aspect of college football. 

I think the problem lies in the original phrase.  Predicting the college football season is the type of activity that will lead you to be chewing the ends of your fingers until they bleed.  If you're going to make predictions, just make the stupid prediction, don't hedge on what is "winnable."  Michigan vs. Colts is "winnable."  Michigan vs. Spacemen from the Moon is "winnable."  If you're going to do something as stupid as try to predict the outcomes of football games, at least be a man about it, because saying "winnable" is paramount to saying "maybe."  It's like you count Ohio State as a loss because it's unwinnable, but shrug your shoulders at the rest of it.  I'll be stupid enough to make predictions this year, and you'd damn well better believe I'll be predicting wins and losses.  And eating my fingers.  Make your predictions below, and I'll get back to you tomorrow:

Michigan Wolverines schedule

Date Opponent
Sep. 5 Western Michigan 3:30pm  
Sep. 12  Notre Dame 3:30pm  
Sep. 19  Eastern Michigan 12:00pm  
Sep. 26  Indiana 12:00pm  
Oct. 3 at Michigan State TBA  
Oct. 10 at Iowa 8:00pm  
Oct. 17 Delaware St. TBA  
Oct. 24 Penn State TBA  
Oct. 31 at Illinois 3:30pm  
Nov. 7 Purdue TBA  
Nov. 14 at Wisconsin TBA  
Nov. 21 Ohio State TBA
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