Was I missed? Sorry for the extended absence. As I emailed a friend today, June is almost here already, and that means that college-football fever will soon set in. All of my off-season angst will have a three-month ramp-up period so that I am my most emotional and anxious by opening kickoff on September 2nd.
As we start to make our way toward football season, the bangin' Texas site Burnt Orange Nation has volunteered to escort us part of the way, offering up three questions as part of the latest BlogPoll Roundtable. Shall we take a look?
1) Which off-season story are you most tired of, and, on the flip side, interested in? (e.g. Reggie Bush's house, Jimmy Clausen, etc.)
I think I'm most tired of the Michigan story, to be honest. Since the Wolverines departed San Antonio without any pride and with a healthy grasp on 7-5, it's been months and months of worrying, despairing, and making promises to no one in particular, like, "If Michigan doesn't beat Notre Dame AND the Rain Men of Columbus, I promise that I will punch the walls of Michigan Stadium until it falls to the ground and gets rebuilt with luxury boxes and in-stadium advertising."
This is the kind of focused, self-perpetuating madness born of a manic fear that an inevitable horror has already begun to unfold and any ameliorative recourse has already been precluded. Fans of this belief have seen a Michigan program that routinely fails at the most crucial junctures in recent years (against the Joke of a University, in road openers, in bowl games) while narrowly skating by at others and are not at all content with 7-5 but are also far less shocked than some others who dwell in different precincts of the Michigan universe. You know, the precincts that receive so much sunshine (both from up above and from the mouths of their neighbors while it's blown up everyone's collective ass) that the weather necessitates the frequent employment of maize-and-blue-colored glasses. People that live in these places think that 9-3 with a shared Big Ten title and a bowl loss is a season everyone else--save for those programs that theoretically cheat in every way, from using steroids to playing night games to being nice to the media (like USC)--envies.
I am not among this latter group. I am among the former, people who think that Michigan is slowly eroding--either absolutely or when set in relief of competitors not content with institutional inertia--thanks to the faulty leadership of Lloyd Carr. Now more than ever, I am convinced that I'm right: Michigan needs a new head coach as soon as possible and must find someone who is a sound football guy first, but is also capable of carrying out all of the secondary and ancillary duties of a football coach in today's media environment. This has been a horrible off-season for all Michigan fans, but for those of us hanging at a certain end of the spectrum, each day that nothing changes is excruciating, an emotional torture unlike nearly anything else. Every Notre Dame feature on ESPN; every recruit that doesn't mention Michigan; every magazine preview that cuts to the core and invokes 7-5 time and again; every day spent in limbo between the shame of 2005 and the potential for repentance in 2006 is a day spent stewing in frustration, boiling over with rage and resentment.
Never has it been more important to be a Michigan fan, and yet never has it been harder. I am so sick of this purgatory.
The off-season story I have most enjoyed following? Bruins Nation, rightfully, has already taken the proverbial hammer and struck down mightily on the similarly proverbial head of the nail: The ongoing fall of Troy. Why do I care so much? Well come on: I'm an internets hater who can run with the best of them. But more so, I envy USC's success--likely ill-begotten and all--and as a result, I like anything that might make Michigan seem a little less disappointing.
2) Your head coach comes down with a mystery illness and has to step aside. You get to hand pick the replacement for the 2006 season. Who gets your vote?
Kyle used up most of the ostensibly realistic answers, but I honestly think that I might be the best replacement. Think about it:
- I am a Michigan Man, so my assumption of control over the program would be one of those media friendly coach-goes-home-to-restore-glory stories that would immediately generate headlines and media interest;
- I am not terrified of speaking to the media, nor do I see the media as a pack of marauders coming to tear down my program;
- I would ask that the players use NFL-style training techniques and add bulk by consuming protein powder, not pizza;
- I hate losing more than anyone I know;
- I have DVR, so I could record most of the games that were important for scouting purposes;
- I am young, so I have the energy needed to recruit indefatigably (I can text message all day, bitches!) and I wouldn't lend myself to the negative recruiting of rival coaches who might want to poison the minds of potential players by saying that the Michigan coach would be leaving the position on account of age or failing health;
- Michigan is a top-tier football program and my alma mater, so I would not be a candidate to leave for another job (notice that I didn't use the term "better job" because such a thing does not exist);
- I am not prideful when it comes to football knowledge, so I'd have no problem hiring the best offensive and defensive coordinators possible;
- I don't have a "football philosophy" so I would be inclined to change my style and game tactics from year to year to best maximize my personnel;
- My relative inexperience as a head football coach and absent apprenticeship has left me devoid of myopic dogma and has left me open to incorporating all best practices (e.g., I would be happy to travel to Virginia Tech and attempt to learn how to better block punts);
- My youth would allow me to find common areas of interests with my players, fostering an atmosphere of friendship and trust that transcended the hierarchy of the program;
- I am excellent at NCAA 2006 on PlayStation, and since EA has assured us all that the game is so realistic, I feel as though I am already well versed in the conventions of coaching;
- I am a premium subscriber to TheWolverine.com and GoBlueWolverine.com, so I would have access to the latest recruiting news from across the country;
- I wouldn't command a high salary, leaving more money for my assistants;
- I am so fed up with the bullshit performance of the program that I will implement a culture of winning that demands excellence and conditions the players to be aggressive while having fun;
- I don't believe in punting when clinging to a slim fourth-quarter lead;
- I enjoy traveling, so I can't see losing so many road openers due to fear and timidity;
- I would be out on the town most Friday and Saturday nights in Ann Arbor, so I'd know if my players were getting in trouble (see: Ron Zook)
3) Lastly, we'll mix the football and the blogging together here. If you could have anyone switch allegiances and start covering your team, who you gonna pick?
Orson and Stranko can never stop doing what they do because the world would be a lesser place without EDSBS. Same goes for Brian and the MGoBlog. And since so many blogs are fantastic, I'd instead like to build a bionic blogger to cover Michigan football. Said blogger would possess the cultural savvy and smart writing of Ian; the enthusiasm of Kyle; the creativity of Paul; the measured, witty observations of the Bruins Nation; the proud, wry style of the Blue-Grey crew; the empirical mastery of Vijay; the narrative abilities of Johnny; the irreverence of Peter; the fan perspective of Dave; and the diligence of Bill. That would be one fucking awesome blogger.