Walking to the Crisler Center, you could feel it. Anybody could.
The two feelings were spread throughout the air like humidity on a steamy summer’s day.
Michigan had just given Ohio State the fight of its life, shocking many in the process. The Wolverines valiantly lost to the No. 3 Buckeyes 42-41 in the latest rendition of The Game.
Though there were many tears, many cheers, and of course, many jeers on the field, it was anything but on the concourse.
At least for Michigan fans.
There was no sorrow by the Wolverines faithful heading towards the Michigan Stadium gates. Complaining nor repugnance didn’t exist Saturday, either. The feeling was rather mellow. Michigan gave its fans plenty of things to cheer about, thought they had lost.
But for Ohio State’s fan base, it sure must’ve felt like a loss. “That team up north” gave Ohio State a run for it’s BCS money throughout. If not for Devin Gardner losing mobility as the game progressed, the Buckeyes would probably have experience a monumental defeat with just seconds remaining. The once joyous and overbearing Ohio State fans soaked in scarlet were awfully speechless while making their post-game voyage to their vehicles.
The Wolverines had just stunned a team that had widely been expected to massacre them (except for myself, who picked Michigan to win, 24-21). No, it wasn’t the type of stunning performance that comes in a win — they had lost by just a mere point on a failed two-point conversion attempt.
But for a Michigan team that put up 41 points, 603 yards, and six touchdowns on a team in contention for a bid to play in the BCS national championship game, it speaks volumes.
For one, any doubt of uncertainty surrounding Brady Hoke and his coaching staff has vanished. Unless the Wolverines suffer an immense regression in the bowl game, things will stay intact in Ann Arbor.
The future wellbeing of the Michigan football program is in stability, also. Several classes of recruits and commits attended The Game Saturday. With Michigan putting on an offensive fireworks show against one of the top teams in the nation, high school football players will notice that the future is bright for Team 135 and so forth.
And although Michigan couldn’t defeat Ohio State, in a way, it did manage to salvage its season. A 1-point loss is much greater compared to an anguishing 40-point defeat. The fact that it took just one point for the Buckeyes to slither out of Ann Arbor with a win is a huge moral victory for the Wolverines.
However, like with any loss, there are questions surrounding the Wolverines.
One that begs the question is an obvious choice: why did it take 12 games for Michigan’s offense to finally flow with fluidity and ease?
In just one game, The Game for that matter, the Wolverines totaled 603 yards, a number greater than that in their three November losses combined.
Where has this been all season?
The anemic-ness of Michigan’s offense has held the team back for most of the season, resulting in a 7-5 record. Now, the season is filled with “what ifs”?
What if the Wolverines’ offense never experienced hiccups in the midst of their September and November schedule? What if Devin Gardner was never injured? Would this be a different team? Could Michigan be in Michigan State’s spot in the Big Ten championship?
Of course, we can’t answer these hypothetical questions now. Nobody can. They’ll just continue to be what ifs.
Even though Michigan lost to its bitter rival Ohio State, the Wolverines managed to salvage a piece of their season on Saturday.
But Wolverines sure make you think about what could’ve been.