Friday, November 17, 2006

The Tie

Jim Tressel showed up for his Monday press conference as a sly mafioso of sorts, his glasses perched midway down his nose, his jacket crisp, his red tie shining in the spotlights – an ironic (a devil hidden beneath a Biff Loman’s clothing) and yet all too inevitable wardrobe. “We’ve got to be spotless,” he said. “But that’s not a concern; that’s just something you always know. I don’t think there’s anything that concerns me about this game.” Of course, he made sure to tell us that it wasn’t a concern; that Ohio State had no flaws, so Michigan might as well not bother looking for them. He looked professional, he looked prepared; he was detestable, for the very fact that he was, as he always is when a camera is on, the flawlessly arranged alter-ego of the devious Jim Tressel we know exists.

Lloyd was flustered and disoriented, his shoulders hunched to the right; the bags under his eyes only slightly concealed by his glasses (nowhere near as debonairly positioned as Tressel’s); and he was wearing the kind of tie you might pull out of the bottom of a closet to wear to your younger brother’s communion. He rocked back and forth, as he always does, as if his Monday press conference was merely a stop on the way to Barnes & Noble. “It’s not a game of perfect; there’s going to be some mistakes,” Lloyd said. “You just have to keep playing, play from the whistle… to the time the ball snaps to the time the whistle blows…to the, uh, time the clock reads zero.” It was vintage Lloyd; a bouquet of sports clichés (none of which making much sense at all) and a somewhat endearing carelessness – as if he was so disinterested in the whole process that it must have been on purpose, part of some premeditated display of self deprecation to lull the opponents into a false sense of security.

The point in all this is that making sense, that doing things the way you’re supposed to, isn’t the only way to win 11 games and lose zero. There was Tressel, a whore to the media, postured perfectly with all the right answers, and maddeningly polite. And there Lloyd was, confused (and never really giving a shit that he was), bored, grouchy, and shortly after his conference had concluded, chewing the face off of some poor interviewer for (reportedly) asking him how close he came to retiring last year. How strange that two men so completely different stand before each other today, the Day of days, identical in the only place that matters?

So if you're curious what I think will happen today, don't bother. I could tell you that Mike Hart’s never let any of us down; that when he sways side to side in the huddle, as if the play Chad was calling was some voice coming from a jukebox in a rundown diner, I’ve never felt more at ease.

I could tell you that bamboo shoots are no match for elephants and rhinos, and offensive guards are no match for Alan Branch.

I could tell you that the seniors on Michigan’s defense who’ve never beaten Ohio State in their prime will stomp the piss out of the glamour boys on Ohio State’s offense.

I could tell you that, goddam it, if Bo was so worried about them he would have stuck around for another day.

I could tell you that English has inspired barbarians like William Wallace while DeBord has crafted strategies like Cornwallis.

I could tell you that when they tell tales of vengeance with karmic conclusions, they do it with Steve Breaston in mind.

I could tell you that while Braylon was always the vile of water from the Styx River, Mario is the scotch that hits you bluntly and sits in your stomach, until you can do nothing but sit motionless on the sofa, letting him do his work.

I could tell you that at some point all these tears have to be wept for different reasons; “ ‘I’ve never in all my years played against a team like that one,” said Troy Smith after the loss’ ” reasons.

But what matters is that Michigan has had every reason to not go 11-0 this year, and yet they have. And I’m not one to bet against a man who doesn’t mind looking foolish in a bad tie; that much I will tell you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I will remind you the score:


Maybe Lloyd Carr should have worn a nicer tie.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am brutus, I think you meant "omg llllloyd carr," but you were probably in a hurry to reach for some more Skoal.

Thank you for demonstrating the mouth-breathing drivel we've come to consistently and repeatedly expect from the mullet-clad Buckeye faithful.

How dare you profane this place with your presence.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NCAA D1-A Football over the last 10 years:

1.Ohio St. 97-27 .7823
2.Michigan 96-27 .7805
3.Texas 96-29 .7680
4.Miami FL 93-29 .7623
5.Va Tech 95-30 .7600
6.Fla St. 95-31 .7540
7.Tenn 93-31 .7500
8.Oklahoma 94-32 .7460
9.Florida 92-32 .7419
10.USC 90-34 .7258

Yes, that's right Lloyd Carr has the most wins and best winning percentage for ANY coach who's been at the same school the last 10 years. AND, if he wins his bowl game and OSU loses theirs, he will have guided Michigan to the MOST wins and BEST winning percentage of any school in the nation the last 10 years, bar none!
Yeah, hot seat.

8:36 AM  

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