September 17, 2006

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Two friends of mine are Tennessee and LSU fans respectively. We are all crying in our proverbial beer this weekend after a tough Saturday.

My boys will have to sit and ponder the numerous what ifs that come with a one point (21-20 Florida over Tennessee), one score (Auburn 7, LSU 3) loss. For me? I get to pick up the pieces after a rout. No second guessing here after Michigan completely killed the Irish on Saturday, 47-21.

I got to a television after my duties of my daytime job finished and saw the 20-7 deficit. No big deal, I thought, Michigan is playing well and the Irish are just starting slow. Let's get to half and then make some adjustments. Sure enough, here came a recap of the scoring and I see a defensive touchdown. Relax. D and ST touchdowns are random gifts that boost close games into ones with marginal leads. The teams can be standing toe-to-toe but the pendulum on such luck of TDs off turnovers generally balance themselves out.

Well, I am still waiting for the pendulum back the other way.

Book end defensive touchdowns by Michigan didn't even explain the story in South Bend on Saturday. The Wolverines were an absolute buzzsaw that circled this game from the moment they started lifting weights in the spring. Mike Hart, who had totaled merely 22 yards in two games against the Irish busted out for 124 yards on 31 carries. Chad Henne who had come under scrutiny from pundits and Weis-Guys like me, responded with three beautiful TD passes to WR Mario Manningham. The entire Michigan offense, criticized for being too conservative in 2005, answered with a brilliant game plan and execution and put on a display not seen from the winged helmets since 1997.

Simply put, get ready for a jump in the polls by Michigan and suddenly the Michigan - Ohio State game could be one for the ages if Michigan can use this game to catapult them like the Penn State win in 1997 did.

As for the Irish, the Weis Era takes its first hit. Big losses were our mantra about why the school was justified for removing Tyrone Willingham in 2004. Well, now Charlie has something to match Tyrone, in the form of a 26-point loss and the most points put on the board at Notre Dame Stadium since 1960. The key now as it was then is to prove this is an aberration. Detractors of Weis and Notre Dame will be cheering like mad for Michigan State where as fans like me simply want to see a quick rebound against the Spartans and a "righting of the ship".

They say your never as bad as your last loss. Let's hope this is the case.

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