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Westsider Rider

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Michigan Roundtable from Conquest Chronicles

I've seen this roundtable floating around on various other Michigan blogs and thought I'd reply as well since I believe I'm the only Michigan blogger that's originally from and am now back on the West Coast, so I am force fed a lot of USC coverage out here. So on with the questions from the Conquest Chronicles.

1. Have you recovered from Michigan's exclusion from the National Championship Game? We've heard the "experts" give us their opinion on why Michigan dropped from 2nd to 3rd without snapping the ball. What do you think really happened here?

Yeah, I've definitely recovered from it, I was actually bracing for this possibility as soon as the UCLA-USC game ended. My brother came up with this exact scenario when he came home for Thanksgiving break so the seeds were planted then. Because of this I wasn't really as upset as most Michigan fans when the announcement came down. The night that the Bruins came through with the victory I met up with my friends, some of who are alums, some who are just fans and they did not believe me when I said I was concerned that Florida was going to jump us.

What really happened? Pretty much the same media that was pushing for a rematch the day after it occurred changed their minds two weeks later after not seeing Michigan. Maybe if there was another game afterwards and we came out and dominated our opposition then the voters would have been reminded of how good this team really is. The voters did not want to see a rematch and voted accordingly, no matter how wrong it was, they did it and we just have to move on. All this complaining means nothing if Michigan goes out and lays an egg at the Rose Bowl.

2. We admire Lloyd Carr for having enough dignity to refrain from campaigning for BCS positioning. Pete Carroll has the same approach. Still, it was nice to hear Carr call out Urban Meyer for his whiny Tuberville impression. What's your take on the "southern inferiority complex?" What do you think about this season's conventional wisdom, which is that the Big 10 is weak...despite having arguably the two best teams in the country?

I have no idea about this "southern inferiority complex" maybe it has something to do with the Civil War and the South versus the North? I love watching SEC Football as there is always a great matchup on any given week. But at the same time there are a lot of bad teams at the bottom, as is the case with every conference, but it is overlooked because it is the SEC.

I've had to answer this question a lot this year, especially out here since people know I'm the Michigan guy and want to hear my defense for why Michigan deserves to be #2. The main problem is people only watch the quick highlights on SportsCenter as opposed to going deeper and studying teams. I point to a 17-10 win at Penn State and people blow it off like that's nothing not realizing that we dominated that game pretty much the whole way through minus the long TD by Tony Hunt. I say look at the win over Wisconsin by 14, a team who's only lost to Michigan, then I hear, well who did they play? In most years the Big Ten is considered a great conference because there are so many good teams that they end up beating up on each other. In those seasons the media points to how the Big Ten is good but not great because there are no unbeaten teams. Then this year when the two best teams in the nation are in the Big Ten the media asks well who else in the Big Ten is good? They fail to realize how many very good teams there are when Michigan and Ohio State end up beating them both because they are head and shoulders above the competition. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

3. After losing to Ohio State and now seeing Michigan's remaining hopes dashed while other teams made their case on the field, what is your assessment of the Wolverines' psyche going into preparations for the Rose Bowl? How will Carr get them ready?

There is always a chance that Michigan could come out flat after the diappointment to end the season but I don't believe that will be the case for a number of reasons. First is this team is still hungry from the disappointment from last season and also now the Ohio State loss. Lamarr Woodley and Leon Hall have made statements that demonstrate how this team will react. Next, I believe they know what is on the line still. With a win, they can finish #2 in the country, with even a slight outside shot at #1, albeit highly unlikely in the AP, if Florida somehow pulls off the upset. Finally, this senior class will not allow this team to go into this game unprepared. Remember this group of seniors started their freshman year with a trip to the Rose Bowl and loss to USC. They know that, and will use that as motivation as well to end up on top this time around avenging the loss and going out with a bowl win, something Michigan has not done since the 2003 Outback Bowl.

Lloyd Carr will have this team ready, especially facing a team he lost to the last time around. If you look at last year's season Michigan was able to avenge 4 of their 5 losses and this is the case the majority of the time. If you beat Michigan once, you're usually not going to do it 2-3 times in a row. I'm sure the bowl losing streak weighs on him as well

4. What is the general impression of Tressel abstaining from his poll vote, his vote for UM would have surely put you guys in the title game. Some have commended him for staying neutral others have hammered him for not having the guts to take a stand. How do you feel?

I don't think it was that big of a deal, probably partially because I was already resigned to the fact that we were going to get jumped. His one vote wouldn't have made the difference between the Rose Bowl or the National Championship game. On the other hand as a voter he has a responsibility to vote in the poll. There are only 60 votes, or around there, out there and there are others that probably would like a vote but don't have one so he did not live up to his responsibilities.

I'm already getting trash talk from numerous people out here, I cannot wait for this game to take place. I get so fired up just thinking about it, the game cannot get here soon enough. I am ready for the Maize and Blue to come out on January 1st and send this group of seniors with a victory.

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