Threat level delivers on the table, shouts “THE GAME” to every passing person


I was there.

In 2006, I was there at Ohio Stadium as a high school student at the peak of my ability to really soak up what, at the time, was considered the greatest game in regular-season college football in history.

Ohio State won that titanic game against Michigan, 42-39, and after storming the field (and stealing a piece of said field and then losing it in a Wendy’s toilet), I decided that everything everyone had said in the run-up to The Game was correct: it was epic, dramatic, historical, and emotional in a way that other games just aren’t. All adjectives applied.

This edition of The Game was a celebration of college football and life. Before the match, there were concerts, barbecues, blood drives and raffles. It started with a solemn tribute to a guy who probably didn’t deserve it, and ended with over a hundred thousand people all convinced that life would be good, forever.

2022 looks different than that. Ohio State and Michigan again enter the final week of the season as Top 3 teams, but there is an advantage this year. And I think that’s because it could be a turning point. In 2006, there was still the assumption that these two powers would be inexorably, eternally linked at the top of the Big Ten, no matter what happened on the ground.

Now we realize that perhaps the Big Ten, whose name is becoming more and more imprecise, is still really only big enough for a single hegemon. This state of Ohio, for the first time in decades, is in real danger of letting that happen. And that this may be Michigan’s best and last chance to regain national relevance in college football under Jim Harbaugh.

So it’s not a party. It’s Defcon 1.


Oh, that’s right, Michigan beat Illinois 19-17.

I debated how much ink I really needed to spill on Michigan’s offensive performance on Saturday. Last week I pointed out that the Wolverines couldn’t throw the ball and that continued to be the case against the Illini. JJ McCarthy may have had 208 passing yards, but it was his least efficient performance of the season, taking 34 passing attempts to get there for just 6.1 yards per attempt. It’s not the worst thing in the world if you have the Michigan kind of racing game, but hey, we’ll get to that.

I gave up trying to figure out what Harbaugh and company are trying to do with McCarthy. He has the arm to stretch defenses, but the Wolverines adamantly refuse to let him try. The most notable pass McCarthy attempted of the entire game was a bomb to Andrel Anthony, thrown only because McCarthy thought Illinois had jumped offside and had free play. It was a beautifully thrown lob around the corner of the end zone, perfectly placed between two defenders…and hit Anthony right in the face, bouncing off his maw and into another dimension. Other than that, dinks and dunks and half-zero screens are what you’re going to get.

Maybe it’s Michigan rightfully has no faith in their wide receivers, or maybe safety valve tight end Luke Schoonmaker was out, but either way the Wolverines are going up or die with running game.

That’s why when Blake Corum got injured, it all went downhill for Michigan.

Corum seems “good” in this game week definition of “good” where you’re going to play no matter how stoned you actually are, but now we’ve taken a look at the Michigan offense without the dude and that’s not is not pretty. Kept out for most of the second half, Corum had to watch substitutes CJ Stokes and Isaiah Gash struggle for him, going just 42 yards on 14 carries between them.

Two things happened when Michigan had the ball that won them that game: Ronnie Bell had a critical 40-yard punt return in the 3rd quarter to save the Wolverines from being trapped in their side of the field, and Jake Moody continued to be an absolutely cold-blooded field goal kicker. Three of his four came in the final 15 minutes, but the fact remains if Illinois gets even one of their own in the same amount of time, they win the game.


Containing running back Chase Brown is no simple feat, so Michigan’s defensive line and linebackers deserve at least decent credit for keeping the guy to just 4.8 yards per carry. It’s even more impressive considering defensive lineman Mike Morris was ruled out of the game as a medical precaution, although Wolverines’ near-total lack of pass rush came very, very close to biting them. in the ass.

Here’s the thing: we joke a lot about Bret Bielema, because he’s a big stupid weirdo who likes to start jamming. He’s also pretty smart, and I think before the game against Michigan he noticed that their corners hadn’t really been tested since…basically the Maryland game in September?

So he tried. And no, Tommy DeVito’s 178 yards on 21 for 30 passes won’t earn him Heisman votes, but Michigan’s defensive backs were often out of position and chasing after Illinois wides they’d given an amount strangely generous cushion. It was a poor performance where a lot of the blame can be placed on the coaching staff, but the unspoken implication (okay, I’m saying it) here is that this type of play will cause the Michigan high school to be absolutely devoured by the likes of Marvin Harrison, Emeka Egbuka and probably Cade Stover.


I loved, and still love, Where in the world is Carmen Sandeigo?

Everything about this show (which itself was based on an educational video game) was shamelessly weird and weird, but what’s great is that she had the courage to go out there and have it done sketches to an a cappella group with a guy in a blue blazer while his boss gave cryptic clues to tweens about capturing henchmen with names like ‘Patty Larceny’ and ‘Wonder Rat’ after stealing Mount Rushmore. Everything to win a plane ticket to anywhere in the contiguous United States and the ugliest jacket in the history of jackets.

The show exuded confidence, that’s what I’m saying. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? let its weird flag fly, and as a geographically-minded kid, I could only sit and watch in awe (and then play my official Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? cassette for the five thousandth time).

It’s who wins on Saturday: after all the injuries and doubts of the past week, the team that wins is the one that is able to have the confidence to know who they are and impose their will in a game that means everything . Michigan has the belief and the confidence, but on Saturday I think they’ll be surprised to see a team standing on the other side of Ohio Stadium even more prepared than they are to regain control of the rivalry.

The threat level is STRICT, because it’s better.


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