Don’t mind me, I’m an optimist when it comes to the beginning of the season. I cannot but think that we have an 0-0 record today, which on the upside is the same as Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State and the downside same as Eastern ‘EMU’. What I love about college football is that anything is possible. I’ve been a fan of Michigan Football since my freshman year at Michigan in1997 and I’m pretty sure that my blood is all Maize and Blue today.
This season I’m thinking of following a backward induction type of system when it comes to expectations. I will start from the worst-case scenario, accept it, and move back to the best. I do understand that this is not the Michigan way, but then again, these are very humbling times, and beggars can’t be choosers.
Lets start from the Dooms Day Scenario. The NCAA decides to slam Michigan with a death sentence, no Bowl Games for 5 years, Michigan has to also kick Rich Rod off the team. The QBs and other star players decide to leave the team with the coach and his game plan, Michigan goes 2-10 this season. I get to puke twice during the OSU-Michigan game where OSU scores 70 unanswered points against Michigan. Michigan needs to search for a new coach and a new system. Approximate time of recovery would be around 7 to 8 years.
We can then say, that’s really bad and decide to be more practical. Michigan matches last season’s 5-7, again below expectations. Wins are against Bowling Green, Massachusetts, UConn, Indiana and Illinois. Rich Rod doesn’t make it through December, Michigan starts searching for a new coach, the NCAA committee decides to slam us with a cut in scholarships here and there, which really doesn’t matter because we’re not using all of them anyways.
Then we have the meeting expectations scenario. Michigan decided to go 8-4, with loses at OSU, PSU, MSU and Wisconsin. Losing every rivalry we would like to win but coming out with a winning record nonetheless. NCAA agrees with Michigan’s self-imposed sanctions, Rich Rod lives to see another season.
Finally we have the optimistic route, The NCAA agrees with self-imposed sanctions, clears Rich Rod from any major wrongdoing. The trio at QB Is a hit, the injuries and transfers at the secondary really don’t matter because the DL’s and LB’s do a great job pressuring the other teams. The offense outscores other teams in 10 of the 12 games and Michigan gets a new-year bowl invitation. Off course the OSU game is a problem and winning it would be the icing on the cake for Michigan and Rich Rod.
Now why even go through these scenarios? Well, its therapeutic for one, looking at the most pessimistic situation makes you accepts anything else, we are in rebuilding mode and usually such a process takes around 4 years at any school, why should Michigan be any different. I like to think of myself as one of the truest of fans, when Michigan losses, I cry (yes I do, its MICHIGAN) and I go through the what-if scenarios for the whole week (I am still not over how Anthony Thomas fumbled in the last minutes against NW in 2000, and won’t be for another 10 years!!!!!). Still it is my belief that if Rich Rod had not had a spectacular season in the last 2 years, this year shouldn’t be much different with the attrition we’ve had on defence and the problems that we might have on offence. We can have a good season with a great offense, good examples would be Michigan’s 2000 team and UCLA’s 1998 team, but as we all should know by now, offense wins games, defence wins championships.
So, to sum up, this walk down therapy lane could be our only way to not curse our football team, coach and chances before the first snap and make us hope for the best, and accept whatever comes our way. The reality is anything can happen on any given Saturday and that is especially true at MICHIGAN.
My best regards go out to all you wolverine fans, players and coaches out there and I really hope that Michigan pulls off a dream season, with or without a defensive secondary.
Nasser Ayman Majali<!--EndFragment-->