Incidentally, I went to Ann Arbor last weekend for my ten year law school reunion. Aside from the other festivities, there was a football game against Illinois.
Michigan looked awful. That's not true. After the first quarter, Michigan was ahead 14-3. The vibe was positive, happy, relaxed. Life was good.
Then it all went awry, and Michigan played three quarters of truly awful football. Everything went wrong. The offensive line couldn't block, Threet couldn't throw, and the defensive secondary thought it would be a good idea to soak in gasoline and light themselves on fire.
Michigan's defense, the "strength" of the team before the season, gave up 402 yards in the final three quarters (yes, I am enough of a loser to add it up).
We Michigan fans are in unchartered territory. Michigan presently has the longest bowl streak in NCAA history, 33 years. The last time Michigan did NOT go to a bowl game was after the 1974 season. It's worth noting that before 1975, only one Big Ten team was allowed to go to a bowl--the champion went to the Rose Bowl. If more than one team from the conference had been allowed to go to a bowl, Michigan's bowl streak would date to the 1968 season, or 40 years.
I think this is the year it ends, which would be jarring. I have no living memory of Michigan not going to a bowl, and I distinctly remember Michigan losing the 1978 Rose Bowl to Washington, because we were terrible in the first half and dominated the second half (this is why I never liked Warren Moon growing up).
So this whole situation is bizarre. Michigan has had its ups and downs, but the concept of completely throwing a season away is foreign to us. I certainly hope it's only for one year.
As a sidenote, it seems someone was dropping a whole lot of acid in Pasadena in the fall of 1977.