â†µToday at TSB, we're each giving our personal moment of the decade in sports. â†µâ†µ
â†µI think these are usually happy or something, but if we're really â†µlooking for my defining moment of the decade, it's not the Oilers' â†µremarkable run to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals or watching the â†µPistons obliterate the Lakers for an unexpected third NBA title. I loved both â†µof those teams for their oddness, loved how energized Edmonton and â†µDetroit were during the brief window when everything was just terrific â†µfun without attached expectations. Sports has bestowed on me some fun â†µmoments in the last 10 years. â†µâ†µ
â†µBut from a Michigan fan's perspective the story of the aughts is one â†µof decline. Michigan literally started the decade off with a win over â†µAlabama in the Orange Bowl. They ended it with two consecutive bowlless â†µyears and an NCAA investigation. They haven't beaten Ohio State since â†µ2003. To top things off, the basketball team has resumed the â†µincompetence that's been its watchword since 1998, and the hockey program â†µis on pace to miss its first NCAA tournament in 20 years. Decline and â†µfall. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe defining moment, then, is the fall, the moment when violence â†µspilled into the streets and the buildings caught on fire. The â†µHorror is that moment. That's the half-joking lingo I use on â†µMGoBlog whenever this particular game is â†µbrought up. I probably don't even have to explain it further, but, yes, â†µwe are referring to the 2007 season opener against Appalachian State. â†µâ†µ
â†µMichigan's expectations that year were no less than a national title. â†µChad Henne and Mike Hart entered their senior years; Mario Manningham â†µand Adrian Arrington were at wideout; Jake Long would be the #1 pick in â†µthe NFL draft. Michigan was a top five team in the preseason. And they â†µlost to a I-AA team because the defensive coordinator never brought a â†µsafety into the box against a team that couldn't throw and a fifth-year â†µsenior screwed up his block on the game-salvaging field goal with no â†µtime on the clock. â†µâ†µ
â†µChaos reigned in the aftermath. I replaced my blog with a â†µ"please stand by" signal and on Monday -- Labor Day -- returned by â†µrecasting the blog in pink and putting up pictures of kittens. When â†µactual service resumed I posted the default mushroom cloud and declared â†µthat when Carr retired at the end of the season, Michigan must set off in â†µa different direction entirely since they'd clearly lost whatever it was â†µthat made the program good. â†µâ†µ
â†µThey did. It hasn't worked out so far. The last two years, and really â†µfour of the last five, have been hard to take, but nothing tops that one â†µday, the football equivalent of a hobbit walking into Mordor and â†µsticking a ring in the right fire. Sucks to be Sauron*. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.