MADISON –

Michigan Football

Dear Michigan Football Doubters,

I can’t say we were on the same page after the Notre Dame loss two weeks ago. Sure, I was disappointed to see the Wolverines drop a home game to a team that was so obviously lacking in the talent department. Of course it hurt that Michigan took a hit in the loss column in just the second week of the season. And it would be an understatement to say that I was troubled by the offense – or, more appropriately, the lack thereof.

But like a loyal Michigan fan, I had hope. Rationalization was my defense mechanism. I reasoned that, since I didn’t actually expect the Wolverines to go undefeated in the first place, a loss at the hands of the Irish was actually the best possible scenario. After all, a single nonconference loss to a ranked opponent doesn’t sound so bad, does it? I figured, if that’s what it took to get the kinks out of this squad, I’d accept it and move on. A BCS berth was still eminently possible, and a Big Ten Championship was squarely in the crosshairs.

Needless to say, my world came crashing down around me in Wisconsin on Saturday. I watched – at times from high above the field in the press box, at others from the sideline in the game’s closing minutes – as Michigan blew a 10-point halftime lead, failed to mount any viable offensive attacks in the second half, dropped its Big Ten season opener and sent Wolverine Nation into despair. At this point, the Wolverines find themselves barred from the Rose Bowl beyond a shadow of a doubt. A bid to the Orange, Fiesta or Sugar bowls seems extremely unlikely. Central Florida is looking like an attractive New Year’s destination right now. Michigan tumbled out of the polls for the first time since 1998. And maybe worst of all, the Wolverines find themselves looking up at a heap of names in the young Big Ten standings.

As senior co-captain Jason Avant said, “Right now, we suck.”

So it is in this atmosphere, Michigan misanthropes, that I present to you my list of grievances in the hopes that you, with your long-standing pessimism, will lend a sympathetic ear. Here goes:

What’s the deal with road openers? It’s a stat that we’ve had shoved down our throats a million times, but the shock value remains: Six straight losses in road openers. Seven of the last eight. And every time, Michigan has entered with a higher ranking than its opponent. Why can’t these guys get their act together? Why can’t they ever get up for the first away game of the season? You would think the adrenaline would be flowing, that the Wolverines would relish their role as enemy. At least that’s how many other teams view traveling to a hostile environment, especially during conference play. But these letdowns are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. And the most disappointing part might be that, in each of the past six losses, Michigan has been just one score away from winning or tying when the clock ran out. This is officially something to be concerned about. I know I am.

No, it wasn’t Vince Young running wild for 192 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s Rose Bowl, but it gave me a case of dejA

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