I have returned. In the past nine days, I have traveled the world, searching for enlightenment, helping the less fortunate, and solving ancient mysteries (like "how does Lou Holtz keep getting work?").
Or, I was doing the Christmas thing, then doing the New Year's thing, and spending all the time in between playing Guitar Hero. And really, isn't playing Guitar Hero a lot like a search for enlightenment? I sure hope so, because otherwise, I've wasted an awful lot of time.
But I also watched quite a bit of football, and I have a few thoughts and crackpot ideas to share. Since discussion of all the games would be boring and a lot of work, I've decided to focus on the BCS games. First up is the Rose Bowl, which, as you are likely already aware, was won by USC, 32-18. Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to cheer for Michigan in their bowl game, that I'm going to support the Big Ten. And every year, I end up cheering the other team's touchdowns and cackling madly at everything the Wolverines do wrong and every call that goes against them. I just can't help cheering against them. We're like Pavlov's dog and a bell, me and the Wolverines.
Now, as far as the actual game, a buddy of mine suggested that this was a bad matchup for the Wolverines. In particular, he thought a big receiver like Dwayne Jarrett would be trouble for Michigan. I figured Michigan was just so much better than those pansy Pac-10'ers that individual matchups like that wouldn't matter. 205 yards and two touchdowns later, it's looking like I may have been mistaken. Jarrett kinda sorta totally dominated the Michigan secondary. In particular, he went out of his way to own safety Willis Barringer, taunting him into a personal foul penalty on one touchdown, then flipping the ball to him after a big catch on another play, just to name two examples. It was entertaining, though how Jarrett didn't get flagged on any of that, I'll never know.
Of course, this outcome provides a pretty good rebuttal to any argument about Michigan deserving to be in the national championship game. We have evidence now that Michigan is not as good as Ohio State or USC, so they have a little trouble claiming to be one of the two best teams in the country. But that doesn't mean that the decision-making process that kept them out of the game wasn't flawed. If you open up a bear cub-kidnapping business, and on Day One some mother bear doesn't rip your arms off, that doesn't mean that you have a good business plan; it means that you got lucky. Similarly, the BCS got lucky. Michigan could have blown out USC, then we'd be halfway to yet another championship controversy.
But they didn't, and we aren't. For now, we can sit back and bask in a third-straight Michigan bowl loss. Even if it's bad for the Big Ten's reputation, even if you were actually cheering for the Wolverines, you can still take some pleasure in their misfortune. Schadenfreude, the kids call it.