The bad news is our offense stalled in the 2nd half in Columbus and we lost a 26-21 contest with Ohio State that we could have won, should have won.
Could have and should have are phrases more suited to humans than to Wolverines.
What did happen happened. What “could have happened” and “should have happened” did not happen and it never will happen because the game is over, it is history and we cannot go back there and make it happen.
Football is just a game—tell it to the people crowded into the shoe in freezing temperatures screaming their hearts and lungs out. Tell it to the millions of others watching on television, the Internet and listening on the radio around the world—that’s right the world. Checkers is just a game—football is more than that because we make it more than that, even though it started out as just as game.
So you can say, “it’s just a game”, we both know, that’s easier said than believed.
All of that aside, what is definitely true and the good news is that the end of the day the Michigan Football Team is still Michigan. You cannot ask for anything more than that because there is nothing greater to be than Michigan. It’s not about winning or losing a game, even a game to a despicable, unworthy rival. It’s about the culture of being the most storied and admirable program in college football.
Obviously, since I’m a wolverine, and the team is named after me, I couldn’t love Michigan football anymore. Having said that, about yesterday’s game. Bottom line, much of our success in the first half was an illusion masked by Ohio State’s mental errors (e.g. lots of unnecessary penalties), missed tackles, like that 80 yard run by Denard. I have heard so much banter about Hoke’s curious decision to go for it at the 50-yard line on 4th and 3, early in the 2nd half.
Even more outrage is being directed at the decision to run Denard up the middle. Maybe the so-called “OBVIOUSLY wrong call” may have been trickery by Hoke, hoping that Ohio state would open the middle in guarding against the obvious right call and Denard would find a hole and break a big play.
Had it worked, we’d all be singing Brady Hoke’s praises. Had we won, nobody would have given it a second thought. But it didn’t work, and we didn’t win, so now the lynch mob has assembled. But that’s just an occupational hazard for a head coach. I personally do not think it was O-line and Gardener that fizzled in the second half. I think it was Ohio State that made half time adjustments that told the real story of what was going on, on the field.
It has been a tough year, injuries, etc. etc. but lest I remind you that this is Hoke and staff’s second year at Michigan. They are 19-6, which is not a bad start considering the challenges that the Brady Bunch faced in transitioning from Rich Rod to now. Over scrutinizing the coaching staff and their decisions is not really useful, and certainly NOT loyal.
Now about Brady snubbing the post-game handshake, which has been a routine for years. It did not happen in the horseshoe Saturday. Hoke said after Michigan’s 26-21 loss Saturday to Ohio State that he did not shake hands with Meyer, nor talk to him before or after the game. He was mindful enough to say it wasn’t out of bitterness following the close loss to Michigan’s biggest rival, and his own personal rivalry with Urban Meyer, but Brady was obviously upset after the game. “I work with the D-line before the game and after the game,” Hoke said. “It’s kind of hard to see anybody. “No big deal. It’s not a story.”
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison did shake hands with Meyer, interrupting his post-game TV interview to do so. The two coached together at Notre Dame, and Meyer later hired Mattison as his defensive coordinator at Florida. Mattison said, “We’ll always be friends.” That’s understandable and even admirable. Conversely, Hoke and Meyer are not friends and never will be. That too, is understandable and even more admirable.
Why? There is a reason why Brady Hoke fits with the culture of Michigan football, and a reason why Urban Meyer is well suited to Ohio State. Brady Hoke is sincere and honest. Urban Meyer’s history suggests otherwise. When Brady Hoke shakes your hand he’s the kind of person that means it. When Urban Meyer shakes your hand, you should count your fingers afterwards.
It is just the difference between Michigan and Ohio State. They end the season 12-0 and they are not going to a bowl game. Why? Because of Jim Tressel a man that they bring out onto the field, lift in the air, and give a standing ovation.
Now why would they do that? Obviously, there is not a lot of critical thinking going on in that crowd—but that is not news. The larger issue, which speaks to what Ohio State is all about is that Tressel’s winning is much more important to them than honesty or ethics. That is the culture of Ohio State football. Woody Hayes slugged an opposing player who he never apologized to. He tore up sideline markers in a temper tantrum after a loss at Michigan Stadium. Yet, at Ohio State, they have a street named after him. Why? Because he won a lot of football games. That is the problem with Ohio State.
At Ohio State all you have to do to be a winner is win a lot of football games. That makes sense to the less intelligent. So it is completely understandable that the Ohio State faithful would think like that.
The University of Michigan on the other hand is populated by the more intelligent. Hence, the definition of winner is more insightful. There in lies the difference between the Ohio State Buckeye and the Michigan Wolverine.
The Ohio State Buckeye wants to be remembered as the team who scored the most touchdowns and won the most games. The Michigan Wolverines want to be remembered as a team of individuals who win on and off the field, in what they do, how they behave, what they stand for and who they are. As Abraham Lincoln said, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
By virtue of the fact that Ohio State lifted Jim Tressel in the air, and gave him a standing ovation is why at the end of day, I would rather be Michigan than Ohio State no matter what the outcome of a given game. The truth is, by virtue of the culture of Ohio State football, and the lack of integrity at Ohio State compared to that of Michigan football and The University of Michigan, Michigan has always been and will always be the real winner.