All Hail! the mighty Wolverines … for now.

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Julian Gonzalez/DFP

Julian Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press

By H. Jose Bosch

I went to Michigan bar in the middle of the desert or Scottsdale, Arizona depending on your perspective, to watch Michigan’s home opener.

It was me, a friend and quite a few Michigan fans huddled around the many TVs throughout the top floor of the bar. The Syracuse-Minnesota crapfest had just ended on ESPN 2 and all of us were waiting in anticipation for the first glimpse at our new team.

For five straight years I watched Michigan’s opening game in person — four years as an undergrad and once as an alum.

My record was 3-2, but the last two years included an epic fail against Appalachian State and a “good loss” to eventual undefeated Utah.

Needless to say I was ready to watch the opener from a remote location this year, especially after the “controversy” stirred up by the Detroit Free Press earlier in the week. What was going to happen on the field Saturday afternoon?

Would Rich Rodriguez’s thin hold on the team slip away after another embarrassing loss to a MAC school?

Or would the team rally behind its fearless leader and, for one week at least, make alumni proud of the football program again?

Whatever happened, I took comfort in the fact that I didn’t have to bake in the sun for two and a half hours to find out.

Then the image on the screen finally flickered to the Michigan game. It took a moment for anyone to register what was going on. Our first image of the 2009 season was … I didn’t know. I’m bad at matching numbers with players. Who the hell is No. 21? And why are a bunch of teammates surrounding him?

Wait.

Touchdown!

Julian Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press

Julian Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press

Yes, the first image of the 2009 season for some 80ish Michigan fans was the celebration following Tate Forcier’s first touchdown pass of the day. We’d later learn that he wisely stepped up in a well-formed pocket to avoid the rush, ran to his left and made sure not to cross the line of scrimmage before he hit Junior Hemmingway with a perfect pass. The rest didn’t matter, just the result.

It was 7-0 Michigan and we hadn’t even watched 30 seconds of the game.

The rest of the afternoon was just a blur of giddiness. Part of it was Michigan’s first-half performance and part of it was the Blue Moon. At the end of the day I was on cloud 12, ready to call this season a success after just one week.

Screw the anti-Rich Rodriguez faction. This team is for real.

I’ve had a day to sober up literally and figuratively. The excitement is still there. Even after just one week I’m convinced this team is heads and shoulders better than last year’s abomination. But that won’t necessarily translate into a much better season.

Before the game I was willing to say that just about every game was predictable one way or the other with the exception of the game against Purdue. Now I will say that the Wolverines have a chance against Notre Dame (since the game is in Ann Arbor) and a chance at Illinois (because the Illini crapped the bed this weekend against Missouri).

That’s a possible two-game swing that makes them 7-5 rather than my predicted 5-7. I’m probably getting ahead of myself. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. The second half wasn’t particularly inspiring and we don’t know if the special teams will be clutch when we need it.

But for one week I’d like to bask in the greatness of Michigan football, believe that the Wolverines are back and that Rich Rodriguez is moving in the right direction.

For one week the Wolverines won’t be the butt of every joke in the college football world.

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Comments

  1. uggh. hard to disagree with anything you wrote here. I hope the Wolverines aren’t really back. Who would have thought they would look a million times better than Illinois in week one? and if mch played ill next weekend, UM would be a 2 TD favorite

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