Ugly. Putrid. Tough. Stomach-wrenching. Maddening. Sick. Horrible. Beyond comprehension. Learning experience. Difficult. Down and up and down and up and down and down and down and down and down and up and down again. Michigan's football season can be described in any of these ways, and it has come to this: The Game, the University of Michigan (3-8) vs. Ohio State University (9-2) at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
I have watched many rivalry games in my day, but none of them ever compares to Michigan-Ohio State. It literally sickens my stomach, grinds my teeth, slacks my jack to say the words 'Ohio' and 'State' together. There is nothing like it in all of sports.
But this year, everyone is saying that The Game lacks luster; it lacks competition. "This will just be a blowout, Michigan doesn't stand a chance," they say. And you know who 'they' is. It's everyone. It's Ohio State fans, experts, and anyone who takes a simple look at the numbers. Might as well not even play The Game right? Wrong.
Gun to my head, I'd admit that yes, if I was a betting man I'd put money on the assholes in devil-red playing in Satan's Horseshoe. But there is no such weapon; I'm free to hope and cling to any irrational ideas of Michigan's chances at victory.
The Wolverines have shown signs of promise: their comeback against Wisconsin early in the season was incredible to watch and their domination of a superior Minnesota team on the road a couple games ago was also surprising. They definitely have talent and they know how to play football, it all depends on if they can string four solid quarters together, stay in the game, and take the victory at the end. I think they can do it, and I hope they will.
I didn't put as much time into this post as I would have liked, since this Game always exemplifies the best rivalry in college football every year, but you can safely bet that I will be on that couch watching Michigan today. I still feel somewhat sickened by the fact that the only game that Michigan has won in this rivalry in recent memory was one I was unable to watch, in 2003, when I was flying back from California for Thanksgiving. Maybe that's my karma; maybe that's why they keep losing. But there's nothing I can do other than hope that streak ends today.
So, root for Hope, root for Change, root for Michigan. Go. Blue.