I'm not here to talk about putting Eddie George in a Michigan uniform. Even if it is only a video game.
Archie Griffin either.
(Now, Eddie Griffin? We can talk.)
Ditto Troy Smith, Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, or Howard Cassady.
I know EA Sports means well, but some things just are natural, man. If we begin rooting for Buckeyes in a virtual world, how long before it bleeds to real life? This aggression shall not stand.
However, all this talk of "what if X had played at Y" brings up a whole bunch of interesting alternate realities that aren't in the least bit plausible for reasons extending up to my bending the very concept of time to accommodate them. Still, that's what video games are for, right?
Let's take a trip through some of the more cockamamie alternate realities I could cook up, shall we?
The One Where Rich Rodriguez Might Actually Keep His Job
Somebody is going to get pissed at me, but this one is obvious, y'all.
What was the one thing that Rich Rodriguez was missing when he strolled into Ann Arbor in December of 2007? No, a competent defensive coordinator isn't the answer I'm looking for (you are right, however). Neither is an ability to deal with the media (he could have used that as well). No, the one glaring weakness in Michigan's game that season was at quarterback.
I can see you shaking your head, repeating "Michigan didn't play football in 2008, they didn't have a quarterback, THEY DIDN'T HAVE A QUARTERBACK." Repressing the memories won't help. Just think back.
The fearsome duo known as Threetidan -- composed of transfer Steven Threet and walk-on Nick Sheridan -- put together an all-time stinker of an offensive campaign in 2008. Michigan ended up last in the Big Ten in Pass Off., Total Off., Scoring Off., Pass Eff., and Turnover Marg. The two would combine to throw one more interception on the season (12) than touchdown pass (11).
Now, things were ugly all over the field. The offensive line was a mess, the running backs were oft injured, and the receivers, well we don't know what they were really capable of because they didn't see the ball a whole lot.
Imagine that instead of Rodriguez starting his tenure off with the two-headed monster of Threetidan that he got his guy. No, not Terrelle Pryor. I'm talking about the quarterback that lived up to Pryor's hype.
Now this could really be anyone. Vince Young? I'd take him. RGIII? If you're offering. Troy Sm--.
Stop it, we've been over this.
Despite all the problems Michigan had on offense in 2008, and all the problems that were coming on defense later, tell me that Cam Newton. This quarterback:
Couldn't have turned a few of those L's into W's.
Would it ultimately have mattered? No. Michigan's defense in 2008 was teetering on the edge of a cliff, and getting rid of Scott Shafer -- who Rodriguez wasn't really a fan of -- still goes down and GERG still comes on board, then even Cammy Cam ain't saving the day.
I mean, you saw what Denard did in 2010 opposite that offense. He beat Newton's numbers.
In the end, I don't think any of us want this.
The One Where The 1997 Title Isn't Split
Now this may be anathema to some folks, but just because Michigan won the title, doesn't mean we can't tweak things a bit.
One thing we won't touch is the defense. The 1997 defense was a thing of beauty, and the unit that put Michigan in the position to even win a share of the title in the first place.
While the old adage is true, "defense wins championships," it doesn't win the hearts and minds of the voting public as much as a good ol' fashioned curb stompin' offense does. That is just what Nebraska was lining up at the time. The Huskers put up 50 or more points five times that season, including 77 against Iowa State and 54 against Texas A&M in the Big XII Championship Game. The Husker option attack was a juggernaut, and when eight of your 13 games involve point totals north of 42, it is easy to turn heads.
While Michigan had the defense, it needed a little extra spark on offense. Brian Griese was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect quarterback for that team. He was an experienced, hard working facilitator that didn't make many mistakes (17 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions). However, he wasn't a household name. He wasn't even the obvious choice to start as the previous year's starter, Scott Dreisbach, was back from the injury that knocked him out of the OSU game the year before. Griese, a former walk-on, wasn't exactly the face of a national champion in the eyes of the media, at least not the way that someone like USC quarterback and Heisman winner Matt Leinart was.
Leinart may not have provided much more on the football field -- Griese after all did a marvelous job with what he had to work with -- but in college football, image is everything.
The One Where The Horror Never Happens
Wait, so no safety ever won the Heisman? Can I bring back Charles Woodson? No? Fine. We'll skip this one.
The One Where I Don't Freak Out About Wide Receiver Depth This Year
We have already talked about it this week, but the 2012 team is missing one big key to having a devastating offense this year: a game-changing wide receiver.
You can bet that when I finally get my hands on a copy of NCAA 2013 that I am going to solidify the wide receiver option the only way I can (literally the only way, because the other WR I could choose already played for Michigan), by adding Touchdown Timmy Brown to the 2012 Wolverine roster.
Imagine Brown catching deep passes from Denard, taking hand offs on reverses, and returning and kicks. It could be the missing piece to an offense that already looks pretty damn strong.
The One Where Peyton Mann--
Suck it, Tennessee.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.
EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)