This is kind of a niche endeavor - but as story-telling goes, I love pictures as a way to bring moments and storylines from a season to life. Sure, we sports writers can type a whole bunch of words (...like, maybe a thousand?) to describe the heart break, pain, and elation that goes into a season. But in some ways photos do the job in a way that words can’t beat.
I also probably don’t need to remind you, although you likely forgot sometime during the off-season, that by the end of the year we’ll get to a solid, unmoving number of wins - maybe 10, maybe 9, maybe 11 or more - but that won’t capture all the close calls, the nervousness, and the insanity to get there. We tend to forget how much of a roller coaster this is - right up until July or August or so when we get that knot in our stomach again and know what’s about to happen.
So, in honor of that, and also of the great photography and photographers that have been such an important part of this sport, here’s a quick look at the many roller coaster moments from a long, long time ago, specifically 2016. Hopefully these photos bring it back to life in as few words as possible. Enjoy.
Saturday, September 3: Hawaii
Saturday, September 10: Central Florida
Saturday, September 17: Colorado
Dymonte Thomas and the pass defense got exposed a bit, but some big plays by the offensive stars got the win. Colorado had 23 yards in the fourth.
"In the first two games, we were never really punched in the face," said Jake Butt after this one. "It wasn't going to be a fairy tale the whole season."
Saturday, September 24: Penn State
Saturday, October 1: Wisconsin
Saturday, October 8: Rutgers
A pure beatdown.
Saturday, October 22: Illinois
This was the start of the peak.
Michigan was 6-0 going in, 7-0 after handling Illinois and fans were starting to think playoffs. But Jim Harbaugh knew there was a long way to go - half a season.
Saturday, October 29: Michigan State
Saturday, November 5: Maryland
660 yards of offense, on a season-best 10.0 yards a play. Good days for Speight, De’Veon, and Jehu Chesson - and of course Drevno.
Saturday, November 12: Iowa
Saturday, November 19: Indiana
It was John O’Korn’s show against Indiana; he went 7/16 and relied on De’Veon Smith (23 carries, 158 yards, 2 TD’s) to lead the team to victory.
Saturday, November 26: Ohio State
Friday, December 30: Florida State
This was practically an away game, with the Orange Bowl happening in Miami Gardens, Florida. And we all know that Jabrill was a late scratch and Wilton was injured, but those are still excuses. A frantic late comeback couldn’t beat the Seminoles.
Now, redemption. It’s 2017. Here we come.