Some form of judgment: Saturday, 3:30 ET
|Explosions In The Sky - What Do You Go Home To? .mp3|
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What do you go home to?
For the majority of people, folks like you and me, life is, despite the drama we make of it, largely simple. We wake up in the morning, perform the tasks we have carved out for ourselves, eat at some point, socialize with colleagues at other points, and at the end of the day, at some point or another, we find our way back home, more often than not into a safe place where the world is simple and the sweet release of sleep undoes any type of stress we accumulated during the previous day. Life is a vicious circle in that the pattern of stress and agitation repeats itself; and life is cool in that there will always be that warm, cozy bed to collapse into when the day is long past and the sun is long set, and for hours, there is no trouble, no turmoil, no trepidation.
For an unlucky portion of us, the setting of the sun on the onset of fatigue offers no quarter. The soundless hours of night reserved for sleep sometimes offer a hauntingly lonesome silence, which some of us find ourselves trapped in, knowing the issues of one day are not erased by eight hours of unconsciousness. For some, what we do on any given day stays with us, no matter how terrible, and no matter how responsible we actually are for the circumstances. It's a cruel fact of life, I suppose, that even if you're a good, decent human being, sooner or later, you will find yourself awake at 3:00 AM, staring at the ceiling, unable to escape into the land of hope and dreams, trapped in the real world where there are people who despise you for what you've done and are intent on seeing your poor circumstances worsened, no matter what.
This is a situation Rich Rodriguez has found himself in for over two years now. The debate about how responsible he is for the given situation over the past 24+ months will never end, even long after he's dead and buried. But at some point, the time for debate passes, and the time for action arrives. Rarely is an opportunity presented to someone where they have the chance to exterminate a massive portion of the cancerous monkey that occupies your back, heart, and mind 24/7.
Tomorrow around 3:30, that opportunity will present itself to Rich Rodriguez.
It's been mentioned before, and has increased in frequency this week, but it's not hyperbole: This is the biggest game of Rich Rodriguez's Michigan tenure. But it's bigger than that. This is the biggest game for the winged helmets since that fateful, wretched day in Columbus in November 2006. Everything that has plagued the Rodriguez era in Ann Arbor, it all boils to the surface tomorrow afternoon at Michigan Stadium. Back to back losses to "Little Brother." Back to back seasons without a bowl game. A mythical perception of in-state dominance being lost, both in recruiting and in the eyes and minds of the public. The equally mythical perception that Rodriguez's offense is "finesse" and cannot succeed against physical Big Ten teams.
All of the above can be doused in gasoline and set ablaze in front of 110,000+ people tomorrow under the Ann Arbor sun. It will be difficult. It will be nerve-wracking, physically draining, and heart attack-inducing. With the defense being what it is, nothing is assured, no matter what. A shootout seems likely. And if I could pick only one coach in America to coach my team through an offensive explosion, I would pick Rich Rodriguez.
The moment he arrived in East Lansing as Michigan State head coach, Mark Dantonio had one priority in mind: Make the Michigan-Michigan State game matter again. Under John L, the game became a farce because MSU was so woefully coached. They could always be counted on to make the critical mistake and were just generally outclassed in essentially every aspect. It became an afterthought on Michigan's schedule. Dantonio vowed to change that, to make the Spartans tougher, to make them matter to everyone of the maize and blue persuasion; players, coaches, and fans alike.
Congratulations, Mark. You have our complete attention.
There will be no more underestimating. No more overlooking. No more dismissive waves from Michigan fans who can't be bothered to invest any time worrying about State. Since he opened his stupid, childish, hypocritical mouth three years ago, I've wanted to see Mark Dantonio suffer. He's made it abundantly clear how important this game is to him, black mark on the soul, all that theatrical nonsense like he's some kind of character in a dramatic football movie. When he had his heart attack last month, all that was set aside. That's not the kind of fate I wish upon the man. I want him to live a long and very healthy life. The kind of suffering I have in mind for that miserable wretch is the kind that Michigan can inflict on him tomorrow. I'd prefer to see 60 points and 700 yards and Sam the Eagle (Google it) trudging off the field with that same hateful look on his face like he just watched his dog get plowed by the mailman's truck in slow motion. Those extravagant numbers aren't realistic, so I'll settle for a small victory. One point more is all that's needed. A one point differential is all that's needed to extinguish the Big Lie, to push the mute button on the noise, to put the kids back in the crib.
I alluded to it last summer. The doomsday clock is ticking down once again. Around 6:30, 7:00 tomorrow evening, it will strike 0 for somebody. When that happens, what will we go home to?