Sunday, September 01, 2002

Uneventful beginning to the college football season, with the exception of the absolutely unfreaking believable finish to the Michigan-Washington game. Of course, any Saturday when Duke, CAL, and Navy all win has something to say for it. Notre Dame looked very impressive in blasting Maryland, and Georgia, Texas and Nebraska may be overrated. Illinois and Colorado are definitely overrated.

How on earth to explain Michigan's last-second win? Both teams pretty much moved the ball at will in the second half, but the Wolverines kept shooting themselves, literally, in the foot. Three missed field goals, of which two looked like my using a 3-wood after drinking a six-pack of PBR. Michigan gets the ball back in the final minute, no time outs left, and pick up a first down after Braylon Edwards dropped/fumbled a fourth down pass; for some reason, both he and the defender tried to sell the referee that it was an incompetion, which would have given the ball back to the Huskies on downs. Two plays later, Washington calls a time-out, and my old law school compadre Rick Neuheisel apparently drew up a defensive scheme that included an extra player. Not surprisingly, John Navarre failed to find an open receiver, and the officials called a 15-yard penalty for too many men on the field. At the place I was watching the game, Over/Under in Santa Monica, which is the Michigan alumni bar, the overwhelming sentiment was that the Wolverines had a better chance of winning if they ran the ball up the middle and tried to score from the Washington 27, rather than attempt another field goal (incidentally, most of the morning I spent in a maddened haze, dumbstruck by a brunette who sat at the far corner of the bar, wearing a Michigan Athletic Department t-shirt, and a body that looked like it had been chiseled from stone; like many of the other patrons of that establishment, I took in the game from the TV monitor located directly over her head, so that we could steal a glimpse of that 20-something sorority goddess between breaks in the action). Instead, on the fourth and easily the most difficult attempt of the day, Phillip Brabbs entered Michigan lore with a dead-solid-perfect 44 yard field goal.


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