Location: Garland, TX
Seriously, what in God’s green earth is going on this season? If anyone can tell you they know what surprises lay in front of us, they’re lying. All we thought we knew we do not know. One of the many wondrous things about this game is that every season has different stories, different themes, and different heroes. The game will always provide its own drama. For all the glory showered on Boise State’s defeat of Oklahoma last year, no one could have predicted the excitement that game would produce. Those of us who saw it live experienced the icing on the cake of another totally unique year in college football.
Comparisons can be made of different teams, and people can try to apply labels to the story, but they can’t control any of it. The House of Mouse labeled this past weekend “Gutcheck Saturday” and was widely mocked across the internet for doing so. Because they can’t paint a weekend before it happens. For all their talk of gut checks, and despite an intense, fantastic game played by LSU and Florida, the biggest game of the week was one nobody paid mind to until it was over. After seeing USC play twice in person, I’d been telling people that there was no way they would go undefeated. That their wideouts drop too many passes. That their defense can make some plays, but can’t consistently shut opponents down. That the Pac Ten is just too tough for them to run the table this year. But never in a million years did I think they would lose to 41 point underdog Stanford.
A while back, I had a conversation with Brandon from MWCB and he said, “This has been one of the most exciting seasons I’ve seen in my life.” That was two weeks into the season. Before Oklahoma lost at Colorado. Before Auburn upset Florida. Before South Florida started the first half of their season undefeated. Before Cal and Oregon went down to the last few inches in the last few seconds. And before USC lost their first home game since September of 2001. And nobody knows what’s going to happen next.
Trojan fans, your Michigan counterparts know how you feel. You’re stunned. You don’t even know if this is really happening right now. It’s exactly like that time your first real girlfriend dumped you – seemingly out of the blue. You thought everything was fine, and you were at least going to last through to the next month or two. And then suddenly, it was over. All that time you put in, you thought you were really building to something. After the shock wore off, in the back of your mind, you started to understand that you should have seen it coming. The signs were there – you just didn’t want to notice them. So you said, “I can get over this. I can move forward and things will be OK.” Unfortunately for us, Oregon came to town and beat the holy hell out of Michigan – which of course was exactly like seeing that same girlfriend at the movies with the point guard on the basketball team just a week later, knocking us further down the ladder of despair. But eventually, you heal a bit. You bounce back and start believing a little more with each passing week. Of course, that’s only if your team manages to go back to winning. Lucky for you, Arizona is coming to down. According to Jeff Sagarin, they’re worse than both Stanford and Appalachian State, and I believe him.
Before anyone decides to label this the “Year of the Upset”, bear in mind that the season is only half over. We don’t have the first clue about what’s going to happen next. And that’s just one of the things that make this sport so special. No matter what the experts say, we’re in for a wild ride to the end of this one. I for one am happy to be paying attention no matter what they choose to call it.
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