Posted by: Tricia | Wednesday, September 5, 2007

All college football, all the time

One week into the 2007 college football season, Michigan and Texas have something in common. They both played presumably puffy-fluffy teams (Michigan vs. Appalachian St., who are the Div I-AA champs for the last two years, and Texas vs. Arkansas St., who were basically just looking for the paycheck), the plan being to start off the season with their own individual routs. Nothing new there. But they both failed to get said routs. Michigan didn’t even win. And Texas only won with an 8-point advantage. I have to admit, I was expecting something more like 80 points. OK, maybe not 80, but something definitely around the 50-point-advantage range.

I know what you’re thinking. “Come on, Trish…isn’t even a 50-point differential still a little unrealistic? Don’t you think you might have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to how good the Longhorns are?” Let me offer you a statistic that I researched myself. In the previous nine season openers the Longhorns have played with Mack Brown at the helm, their average final score differential is +40.8. And that’s even with a -3 point advantage factored in for their loss against North Carolina St. in 1999. Their biggest season opening rout was in 2004 when they beat North Texas 65-0. So I think my expectations this past weekend were quite realistic.

Yeah….but who’s fluffy now?

And now, as far as the national rankings go, Michigan and Texas both took hits. My experience in watching the AP poll, USA Today coaches’ poll, etc., is that teams really don’t suffer that much as long as there’s a new mark in their ‘W’ column. But this week proved that wrong. Texas fell from #4 down to #7. And since Michigan’s little chalk mark didn’t even go in the ‘W’ column, they fell completely out of the Top 25.

Ouch.

As far as Michigan is concerned, I’m so disappointed for them. I’m developing quite an affection for the Maize & Blue, given that my son was born in their world-renowned hospital, and even spent five days in their intensive care unit where they took very good of him. The RK is becoming a big Michigan fan, and if we’re still here when he graduates from high school, I’ll be more than happy to have him go to college less than ten miles from home. In relation to the Longhorns, buried deep down in my soul is the little bit of hope that someday I will have the opportunity to see these two teams play each other again. I have two scenarios for this meeting. First, I’d love for the Longhorns to travel to Ann Arbor and play the Wolverines right down the road from my house in Michigan Stadium. I would be completely decked out in my burnt orange, and I promise you I’d be screaming louder than all 109,000+ UofM fans combined. Scenario #2, of course, is the two teams playing for the National Championship in early January. After the 2005 Rose Bowl, which until the 2006 Rose Bowl was the most exciting football game I had ever watched in my life, I know that any time these two teams get together to battle it out again would be nothing less.

The RK only had a half-day yesterday for the first day of school, so the IB and I took him out to lunch after he got home yesterday. We went to his favorite little sub shop not too far from Michigan Stadium. All over the restaurant, they have U of M’s season schedule posted. When I was paying for our lunch, I made a comment to the cashier about the copy of the schedule posted there at the register: “This should say, ‘Game 1, Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian St.,’ then below that, WHO CARES?” The town of Ann Arbor is utterly deflated. It’s really quite sad. The guy who lives down the street from me works in Lloyd Carr’s (UofM’s head coach) office. I haven’t talked to him since last Saturday, and I don’t think I want to. I might want to give that a little more time.

Now as far as my feelings about the Longhorns go, I’m just SOOOOOOOO relieved that I’m not experiencing that heartbreaking deflation for them that has blanketed my neighborhood for the Wolverines. However, I am a little nervous. This weekend UT plays #19 TCU for the first time since the dissolution of the Southwest Conference. Hopefully I’ll be breathing a little easier after that.

Michigan is up against the Oregon Ducks, who are just out of the Top 25 rankings as well.

I’m sooooooooooooo hoping that both the Wolverines and the Longhorns are able to dust themselves off and start fresh this weekend. Given that these were the first games of the season, there’s still a lot of time and opportunity left for redemption. Michigan won’t be competing for the National Championship this year, but they can still save a lot of face if they can remain undefeated for the rest of the season. The Longhorns are still on track in their mission to reclaim their sparkly crystal football, and as history has taught us, there are many one-loss teams to be revealed throughout the course of the season. And with every one, Texas gets a bump in the polls.

That is, as long as Texas doesn’t join their ranks. I’m a little freaked after this past weekend. The vibes aren’t good.

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