Linked Up: The Terrible Big Ten Goes Through The Five Stages of Grief

Matthew Holst - Getty Images

It'll come as no surprise to you that the Big Ten is in dire straits this year, but only our fellow SB Nation bloggers can help us answer "why?" by taking us through the five stages of grief.

1. Denial

"I know our win against UTEP looked bad, but it was actually really positive, you guys."

Stats and Charts: Wisconsin 37, Texas El-Paso 26 - Bucky's 5th Quarter

I mean, I understand -- the Badgers were within a touchdown to a bad team in the fourth quarter and the miasma surrounding the team has even the most optimistic predisposed to unhappy thoughts. But both the numbers and the play that produced said numbers suggest this was by far the best performance of the season, and I can't help but feel like the general response would reflect that if not for a 62-yard touchdown to close the gap with 50 seconds left.

2. Anger

"I don't know who sucks more, our receivers or our offensive coordinator."

Mining the box score: Pass FAIL - The Only Colors

This is a one-and-a-half-dimensional offense--and it took until the second half to even reveal the half dimension. Playing against an opponent that ranks in the bottom five nationally in total defense, you shouldn't have to run the ball for a full two quarters before your play action to the tight end starts working. MSU wide receivers combined for 55 yards on 9 catches. That sentence might actually be less depressing if the second number were smaller.

3. Bargaining

"We can still win eight games, right? Right guys?"

Will Michigan Win 8 Games in 2012? - Off Tackle Empire

Fast forward to now, fast forward to the lack of offensive playmakers, fast forward to the realization that Al Borges will feel more comfortable with his 2013 quarterback than his 2012 quarterback, fast forward to the idea that games against Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern are virtual tossups...And that eight win mark looks a little more difficult than before. And yet I still believe UM will get to eight wins.

4. Depression

/inaudible sobs

In his old haunting grounds, Denard Robinson coughs up the echoes - Sunday Morning Quarterback

5. The really frustrating part for Michigan fans? As suicidal as their own offense was, Notre Dame's struggles meant that victory remained cruelly within reach right up to the closing seconds - quite literally, in fact, given that the Wolverines had the ball with a first down inside the ND 25-yard line on five separate occasions and came away with only the two field goals on the final two possessions. In the first half, the offense took over at the ND 10-yard line following Golson's insta-pick on the opening series, and came up empty on a missed field goal; a few minutes later, Michigan blew a long, sustained drive to the ND 11 on the halfback pass by Smith that was picked off in the end zone. In the second half, a long drive to open the third quarter was thwarted by a fumble, and the desperation field goal drives resulted in... well, obviously.

5. Acceptance

"I guess this coach-fan relationship has run its course."

At the Bottom Of Everything - Black Heart Gold Pants

So no, I'm not going to say we should fire Kirk Ferentz for this embarrassment, the biggest on-field embarrassment in a string of small ones. I'm not going to say he should resign; this is a process, and I still believe in the five-year cycle, and the man has earned the right to redeem himself. But I no longer trust him to know how to fix this, because there is no recent discernible evidence that he can, and the benefit of the doubt no longer lies with him. Saturday was the end of "In Ferentz We Trust" for many fans. The clock is now ticking.

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