The unfortunate events of September 1st are seven months and 27 days ago. But the University of Michiganâ€™s defeat at the hands of Division 1-AA Appalachian State still stings. This weekendâ€™s NFL draft only helped to make that pain even more vivid.
You see, Michiganâ€™s 2007 season wasnâ€™t supposed to be so bad. After the surprisingly awesome 2006 season, hopes were high in Ann Arbor. Offensive studs Chad Henne, Mike Hart, and Jake Long were coming back to school, just to win a championship. Along with standout receivers Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, the Wolverines were ranked as high as #5 in the preseason. Then It happened.
Sometimes itâ€™s good to be first, like in a race or through the buffet line. But sometimes, it sucks. For instance, you wouldnâ€™t want to be the first top 5 team to lose to a Division 1-AA opponent, but thatâ€™s exactly what happened. Another humiliating defeat by the Oregon Ducks (also in Ann Arbor) took the 2007 season from promising to haunting in 8 days time.
Eventually the soon-to-be-retired Lloyd Carr righted the Wolverinesâ€™ ship, but it was all for naught. Season ending losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State left Michigan in third place in the slumping Big Ten. Only a Capitol One Bowl win brought any joy to the Michigan faithful. And truthfully, just being in the Capitol One Bowl is depressing.
Unfortunately for Michigan fans (such as myself), 2007 will be the year that never dies. I expect to see graphics for years about how only one team top 5 team has ever lost to such an unheralded foe. I expect to hear announcers reference That Game any time a big school is struggling with a little one. I did not, however, expect to be saddened by the Universityâ€™s success on draft day.
As the Michigan players (6 in all) dropped off the board, I couldnâ€™t help but think of all the promise that was wasted and how many opportunities were missed. Sure, itâ€™s a great accomplishment to produce a number one draft pick, but itâ€™s impossible to see Jake Long and not wonder what could have been.