This space would normally contain a made-up, falsified, HATER'S GUIDE of half truths about Ann Arbor. The attempts at humor are cheap and the wounds aren't all that cutting. There's some made up junk about the origin of your town, we make fun of your food, and your obvious lack of tourist attractions, because #B1G. We do this because sports are fun. In all likelihood, you derive far too much of your own self-worth from the results of a children's game. I can be included in this group, and in turn, I often appraise myself as I would a pair of dirty socks found in a dumpster on fall Saturdays -- because Indiana football.
This week is different. There is no HATER'S GUIDE that needs to be written, as it is writing itself day-by-day, week-by-week in the offices of Michigan's football facility and athletic department. See, exhibit one:
With injuries, Indiana football is on the brink of a lost season. Kevin Wilson's very young program has one stud player, a very okay-at-best defense, and nothing resembling a quarterback. Nate Sudfeld and Chris Covington have combined for more surgeries in the last two weeks than the Hoosiers have had passing yards. Despite all that, the Hoosiers are a touchdown underdog in The Big House.
Against Michigan. The Michigan football team. Not the JV team. Not the Club team. The all-time winningest program in the history of college football. The one of which Indiana has register exactly one win against since 1968.
That, in and of itself, is a far better ROTFLMFAO fact than anything I could make up in a Hater's Guide. So we're not writing one. We feel bad for you, Michigan football. You are sad as hell to watch. With the history of our series, actually beating Michigan should mean something at Indiana. But if it happens Saturday, it won't. It will simply be an aberration, one that is a byproduct of a abhorrent decision-making by the grown MICHIGAN MEN responsible for the well-being of your program.
And with every passing year, those bygone championships and tradition only gravitate further from present-day. They are rendered dusty, musty and meaningless by losses as may happen Saturday -- ones that only may grow more familiar in the future. There is no magic pill for your recovery, especially when it has been well-established that your prestigious institution has struggled to make quality decisions regarding your football program. To high-school players, Brian Griese is "I think that's the guy that works with Pam Ward, right?". To those kids, the phrase "Michigan Football" elicits more visions of Yackety-Saxed Vines than of Rose Bowls, and Heismans, and Henne & Hart. Changing program administrators isn't a no-doubt fix for that. In a world where nearly half-a-million people follow Darren Rovell on Twitter, your #brand is, very realistically, irreparably damaged. The only proper response to one referring to himself as a "Michigan Man" is back-spasm-inducing laughter.
I, an Indiana football fan, feel bad for you.
Welcome to the Big Ten Underworld, Wolverine fans. The days are long, the nights are filled with six-touchdown losses to Ohio State, and one in every 5-7 seasons ends in a post-Christmas bowl in Detroit. Your program is now on a comparable level to a partly-incapacitated Indiana.
This is your Waterloo. A Hoosier win on Saturday should, and very well might, signal the end for the Brandon-Hoke era in Ann Arbor. Zander Diamont is the Duke of Wellington, we are the Seventh Coalition, and Brady Hoke is a taller, chubbier Napoleon.
Never in my lifetime has an Indiana football beaten a team wearing Maize and Blue.
But if that win happens this season, I won't even care.