What can you say? It sucks.

Michigan Football
Defensive tackle Gabe Watson (78) hurdles a teammate to chase down Notre Dame running back Darius Walker (3).
Michigan Football

I could try to put it poetically; but I think that’s the perfect way to describe Saturday’s game. The hype leading up the game was pretty ridiculous – it was even able to keep people’s minds off Ohio State and Texas’s battle. The Big House was supposed to host a shootout of epic proportions, but like so many times, the prognosticators were wrong.

Before the game had even begun, I had a little talk with my dad. I had heard through the grapevine that Mike Hart may have hurt his hamstring, that Tim Massaquoi was out with an injury and that Mike Kolodziej was also out. I had a feeling that the injuries could really hurt Michigan’s chances for a victory, and then my Dad made a good point.

“Don’t let a potential loss ruin the day for you, Matt.”

He was right, but at the same time, no one wants to lose that early in the season – especially to a rival like Notre Dame.

So when the Irish marched down the field on their opening drive and made the Wolverines’ defense look like a high school team, I was a little worried. When the Michigan offense came out and didn’t pick up a first down, I was even more worried. Lloyd’s boys just didn’t look sharp early on, or ever.

The crowd, hyped up early, was already out of the game. Chad Henne and the rest of the offense were out of sync and definitely were not looking like the offensive juggernaut that everyone thought we would be. By the time the bottles had been thrown, everyone knew the game was over. After the game, it was like every one of my friends had become an instant alcoholic.

“Drowning my sorrows.”

“Out, suppressing the feeling of utter disappointment that comes from a loss in the Big House.”

“I still need cheering up.”

To me, even though the loss was a big, sad letdown, it was hardly shocking. Our expectations are so high at Michigan that any time we lose (Yeah, I’m using “we” even though I don’t suit up for the Wolverines.), the winds are taken out of our collective sails.

It got me thinking – being a Michigan fan is like owning a bus. This may seem like a stretch of a comparison but hear me out. My buddy Rick owns a city bus, the size of one of those blue buses here in Ann Arbor. My friends and I dedicated a good portion of a summer to making it street legal and ready for road trips. All the friends chipped in money, time, sweat and all that good stuff. It was a glorious day when we finally took it out for a little trip; we gassed it up and were gone. It was fun, but the expectations were too high. The bus had such high prospects, when people hear about it, they are sometimes let down because we don’t take it to too many places. (Kind of like Michigan – it tends to let people down, too.)

You see, gas is expensive, buses are difficult to drive and are people magnets. And people includes the police. So many times, it just sits at Rick’s house. Even though it’s now nothing more than a glorified trailer at times, I still love it. I wouldn’t change any part of it. It can aggravate, but it’s the best, even if it’s just a place to chill and not the ultimate RV.

What does this have to do with Michigan football? Well, most of the student body pours its heart and soul into the team. Before each of the season since I’ve been here, everyone talks about this being the year.

The past three years weren’t “the year,” and it doesn’t look like this year will be “the year” either.

But it’s not the end of the world, or even the season. It’s frustrating to devote time and be heartbroken, but hey, it’s just football, right?

They may not win the national title this season, but that doesn’t change our loyalty, right?

And now comes some optimism from me. If you had to pick one game to lose before the season, what would it have been? I would take this loss over any other one. Yeah, the Irish are a huge rival, and their fans can be a bit obnoxious. But it’s a nonconference game and Michigan can still win the Big Ten. That’s always the main goal of the season, for better or worse. If Michigan wins the Big Ten, then it was a successful season. And as painful as the loss was, there is a bright spot to take out of it.

The defense with the exception of the first drive looked pretty good. Players on the defense admitted that the quasi-no huddle was surprising, but after the first touchdown, the defense locked in a little more and looked much improved. And the offense shouldn’t play that poorly again, Henne is still an All Big Ten performer as is Hart. I’m going to stay on the bandwagon, both Michigan’s and the bus’s.


If you want to know how the bus came to fruition, or want to be an optimistic Oliver with Venegoni, he can be reached at mvgoni@umich.edu

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