December 29, 2005

Bowl week begins...Alamo Bowl.

Yup, I pretty much view the Bowl season as the Alamo-Holiday-Peach-then everything after Jan. 1 as the Bowl Season.

So lets talk about the Alamo: Nebraska 32, Michigan 28.

You gotta love your cable going out and no resolution in sight from the provider, which is my current situation now. I get a week off work every six months and I plan for it to be this week, and the cable company plans to lose their satellite service this very week. Lovely.

Anyhoo, lets talk about this game. Going in, Michigan was the favorite. You bought into their hype just like everyone does every year. Breaston! Hart! Henne! These guys are great and young, and now they are healthy; Michigan is a force! Sure enough, everyone feels vindication when UM starts to take over this game, building a 28-17 mid-fourth quarter lead. The Wolves even get the ball back with 9 minutes and some change left.


Nebraska forces a fumble by Jason Avant after a catch and takes it in for a score. 28-25 after the subsequent two-point conversion. Then Henne fumbles the ball on a pass and Nebraska later scores on that, 32-28 Nebraska.

Then things got ultimately weird. Michigan drives down the field as the Huskers forget to bring the D that got them to this point. But Manningham drops a third down catch and on fourth down, the Huskers basically commit pass interference that wasn't called.

So Nebraska runs the time down to :18 before they have to punt the ball back. Michigan does nothing except an eight-lateral flea flicker before Tyler Ecker starts running down the field with half of the Nebraska team pouring onto the field. The funny part is that Ecker gets stopped at the 13. Michigan fans say the tackle was made by a player coming off the sidelines. (Uh-huh, Titus Brothers, #21, was their starting strong safety. Good time to leave him out.)

The bigger point to make is that Ecker, he of the turn inside with no timeouts vs. Ohio State, fame, had Steve Breaston right behind him to lateral the ball to with presumably the only two Nebraska defenders legally involved heading right for him. Pitch, touchdown Michigan and now the refs would have to call something.

Oh and yes, they will point out the 50+ Nebraska guys on the field. Take a look at that play again too, Michigan fans, and notice the throng (four or so) guys getting escorted off the field when Ecker starts barreling down the sideline towards his ultimate 13-yard line destination. That would constitute a game ending offsetting penalty.

Funny part too is to watch the ESPN highlights and see Chad Henne walking off the field as the greatest play in Michigan history is going down...head down...agony of defeat perhaps setting in...I tend to follow the players reactions on that sort of thing. If I am Henne I would be running, selling that play that we're still alive. Unless I didnt believe it because I saw my guy on the ground with his knee while I am touching the ball...ahem, Mike Hart around his own 26.

Michigan fans are a sight to see now. Just head over to any of their message boards and watch the various acts of hari-kari being committed. The worst team in 21 years. "Thank God this season is over." LLLLLoyd needs to go now... are just some of the comments and I LOVE IT.

Let someone else deal with mediocrity for a while, been there and done that. I can't believe my eyes as I read some Michigan fans even calling for Carr's job. (Maybe the luster off that 1997 title is gone, huh? Otherwise you get about 3 or 4 losses a year.)

The scary part is that this 7-4 before the bowl team could have been 4-7 and sitting their ass at home. OT win at Iowa, OT again over Michigan State and they needed time put back on the clock against Penn State. (I bet the refs were completely justified doing that, right UM fans?)

Oh but don't worry, UM will land a great recruiting class, Henne will become a god by spring ball, someone will talk about team focus. Carr will hunker down and be even more stodgy in his approach and somehow when you grab that preseason mag in late summer, the lazy sports columnists will have Michigan in the Top 10 because they always seem to get there.

I liken it to the Irish in the late 90's. Somehow the boys from South Bend were getting ranked and Davie was pulling in great classes, but you knew better if you scratched the surface and lifted a few rocks. The same should now exist for Ann Arbor (Knoxville, too). Take a closer look, friends, because Michigan isn't the ol' Michigan you remember.

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.