When All That's Left...
All the games have been played. People whose careers center around the phrase "Jim in Tuscaloooosa, You're on the air with Jimbo and Opie, tell us why the Big Ten sucks," for some reason were chosen as qualified, impartial experts on college football. As should have been predicted, their biases provided us with the National Championship matchup that no one save SEC fans wanted to see. The result of this arbitrary shit flinging contest was to leave Michigan, my Michigan, out of the Championship Game.
The rationales don't matter anymore. Decisions were made and nothing can be done about them. We still complain, piss and moan about the fairness, rationality or voracity of those choices. But deep down we know there's nothing that will change.
Nothing is left for us now but bowl games and irrational hope. Hope that OSU and Florida play in such a horrendous turnover filled disaster that it scorches the retinas of anyone watching. Hope that Florida, despite all it does to donate the game to charity or bury itself in it's own endzone, somehow wins by a point or two. Hope that Michigan blows out USC in the Rose Bowl in convincing, dominating fashion. Hope that despite Florida being awarded the crystal BCS trophy, the AP rewards Michigan with its National title. Hope that in some strange way, justice will finally be served to two University of Michigan football teams, the 2006 squad and its elder brother 1997, nearly a decade later.
I love irrational hope. It drives us in such creative ways as to defy imagination. Irrational hope had me belive UCLA could beat USC. Irrational hope had Gator fans believe they would end up in the National Championship game if they won the SEC. All those things came true.
This kind of hope has its cost. When UCLA won, and despite that Florida was awarded the spot in the National Championship game, I knew what it must feel like to have made a deal with the Devil. If you'll grant me this one wish, all will be right in my life. Please, grant me this one wish and I'll give anything. The wish is granted yet nothing changes. You are still left empty, with only a shadow where your soul once was as evidence of your bargain. That one wish was granted, but what you desire is still a whisper away from your grasp.
Looking at the polls, that is all that can be said. 3 points separate Michigan and Florida for second place. Michigan trails Florida by a scant 26 points in the Coaches Poll. Of course there is controversy which leads you to believe something is wrong, that you were cheated, that this can't be right. Yet, nothing changes despite your pleas. And you are left with the deal you made, delivered what you asked for but not what you wanted.
I will cling to irrational hope nevertheless. It got me to 11-1. It delivered me a season of redemption when all that laid before it was disappointment. It gave me a quarterback when all that existed before was a scared young man. It gave me a monster, a bone devouring defense that shed its former self to become a force once more. It gave me a healthy Mike Hart and the redemption of Steve Breaston.
Why hold on to it so desperately? It builds you up only to disappoint you. You had it all and it was taken away so easily. You should know better.
I do. But I also know my faith, hope and love have been rewarded. So much that was wrong is now right. Perhaps my irrational hope is not so irrational. It doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.*
My hope has brought me this far. It rejoices in the truth that there is a chance for victory. It endures, despite the hurdles before it.
If all that is left is hope, I will cling to it. And win or lose, it is rewarding in its own right.