Saturday, September 8, 2007

It Must Be So Because It's Always Been So

So apparently preseason football rankings are kind of like figure skating seeding - the judges decide who's going to win and then do just about everything in their power to make their predictions come true. All a devoted Michigan fan can say today is that it's too bad football outcomes aren't as subjective as figure skating outcomes. To win a game, we obviously need the same kind of help that robbed figure skater Paul Wylie of his much deserved gold medal a decade or so ago (the last time I paid much attention to figure skating).

The real question isn't how a Division 1-A powerhouse could have lost to Appalachian State last week (a team, by the way, I don't want to take anything away from; I love it when underdogs win so long as it's not Michigan they're beating). The real question is how this particular Division 1-A powerhouse could ever have been ranked #5 in the nation. Was the defense that's been completely absent in the last 5 games (don't forget that Ball State game we nearly lost just before the OSU game last year) somehow in evidence during the practices viewed by the rankings voters? Or, more likely, did they put the hapless Wolverines up top in the preseason poll because that's where they always reside preseason?

No wonder change is so hard to come by. Here's yet another example of "let's ignore the facts and go with the status quo" thinking. Michigan must be a powerhouse because it's always a powerhouse, right? Well, these "stunning losses" are going to prove pretty hard to ignore - or are they? If there's one thing I've learned from my years in the business world and as a sports fan, it's that the status quo wields inexplicable and virtually (but, fortunately, not totally) unstoppable power.

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