"...Under center is Wangler, he goes back, Carter has it, Carter is (inaudible), AHHHH...95 Wolverines are going in the endzone...Ufer is going out of his mind...Anthony Carter, the human torpedo...Will be heard until another 100 years of Michigan football...I've never been so happy in my 59 cotton picking years..."Who has ever been able to describe the excitement of Michigan football better than the immortal Bob Ufer? Ufer's website calls him "enthusiastic, optimistic, loyal, and hardworking," and anyone with a pulse can tell these characteristics are correct. So with a nod towards some of the most famous Bob Ufer quotes, I want to discuss the excitement and uncertainty that surrounds the Michigan Wolverine football team of 2008.
"I Have Never Seen Anything Like This!"
Ufer's famous call on the Anthony Carter touchdown against Indiana is exactly what many fans will say when the Wolverines come out in the Rich Rod spread. Michigan's I-form / Pro-Form offense of the Lloyd Carr era has given way to the spread and this Michigan fan couldn't be happier. Michigan's offense, full of NFL talent, was halted many times in big games during 2007. The Rich Rod spread will struggle during 2008, this is sure. But Rodriguez is following the national trend of building a varied, adaptable offense, and the 2008 Michigan offense is sure to wake a few fans who have been slumbering through the 7 step drops and 2 yard dives of 2007.
"Thank You Fielding Yost!"
After Carter miraculously scored against Indiana, Ufer offered up a prayer of gratefulness to the Michigan legend. Although I am sure Ufer was caught up in the moment and some misfiring neutron in his brain channeled the Michigan coach with an 83% winning percentage, Ufer's "thank you" is a constant reminder that, dammit, UM football is still UM football, full of legends, a storied history, and top recruits.
So no matter how bad Rich Rod's spread looks right off the bat and no matter how the Utah opener goes, let's not forget that the Meeeechigan football program still pulls top 10 recruiting classes and has one of the best defenses in the Big 10, with Brandon Graham and Terrance Taylor leading the way. Also, 40 straight winning seasons is nothing to laugh about.
"They Laid Woody Hayes Away"
The simple fact that Ufer wrote a poem about burying college footballs version of Bobby Knight is enough to make any Wolverine smile. Ufer's ode to a Michigan upset over the Buckeyes is especially relevant this year. Can the Wolverine's put up a fight against a Buckeyes team primed for a national title run? Will the offense run into a Buckeye brick wall and only spring for 3 points like 2007? Will the loss of Terrelle Pryor to Columbus haunt Michigan's precarious QB situation?
"Oh They Came to Bury Michigan, But Michigan Wasn't Dead"
The 2008 schedule does not look favorably on University of Michigan football. Games against Utah, Notre Dame, Illinois, Penn State, Michigan State, and Ohio State look like possible/probable losses. The offense will be tested instantly and Notre Dame and Michigan State are licking their chops to play this untested Wolverine team and avenge some embarrassing recent defeats. The blogosphere is lighting up with early news of the Wolverine's demise.
But Bob Ufer would support the old Lee Corso adage, "not so fast my friend." The Michigan Wolverines will always be a threat thanks to their tremendous recruiting and history. So if you would, turn the volume up of an old Bob Ufer clip and allow Mr. Ufer to convince you that hope springs eternal at the corner of Main and Stadium and that the 2008 Wolverine's can rise from their premature funereal proceedings.