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Friday, November 14, 2008

The existentialist's Big Ten

Posted By on 11.14.08 at 04:01 PM

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In my world, at least, there is but one truly serious philosophical problem this week, and my friend and fellow Northwestern fan Anna best articulated it in a message she sent me a few minutes ago: “If the ’Cats can’t beat them this year, then when?!”

Didn't someone say something once about life being absurd? And not giving up too many big plays on third down? 

For weeks my Michigan friends have been trying to make me believe the football gods will shine upon me this Saturday in the form of Northwestern routing the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. I officially maintained that the game would be close, even as I secretly—and giddily—imagined watching our guys run up and down the field in a three-touchdown win over an unusually bad MaizenBlue.

After all, Michigan was busy losing to, well, lots of teams, including Toledo, who’s lousy, and Purdue, who’s dispirited. The Wildcats, meanwhile, were mostly beating the lousy and dispirited teams on their schedule. When several key starters were injured, they even rallied behind a backup QB and captured a last-minute road victory at Minnesota, which was impressive, seeing that the Gophers had earned a top 25 ranking after whipping their own succession of underwhelming opponents.

But last Saturday changed the equation: while Michigan was shutting down Minnesota, Northwestern was busy missing tackles and giving up long third down conversions to Ohio State. The Wolverines are 3-7, the Wildcats 7-3, but it looks like Northwestern is now the lousier and more dispirited.

And it must be noted that history does not exactly favor NU, which trails in the series 52-14-2. True, three of those wins have come since 1995, including the classic 2000 game (still the best I’ve ever seen), but by my reckoning the Cats have only won in Ann Arbor once in my lifetime, and only five times ever.

The answer, Anna, is that while life sometimes feels like pushing a rock up a hill all day—or like watching Northwestern lose to Ohio State and Michigan year after year—you’re supposed to find meaning in the effort, in the struggle, in the world (or game) itself. One must imagine Northwestern fans happy.

But man, it would be great to see some ass kicked that isn’t my team’s. 

·        The Wolverines nip the Wildcats.

·        The Nittany Lions devour the Hoosiers.

·        The Illini choke on the Buckeyes.

·        The Hawkeyes smelt the Boilers.

·        The Badgers weasel past the Gophers.

·        The Irish sink the Midshipmen.

Last week: 4-3 (Though I smelled the Illinois loss to Western Michigan).

Season: 39-21. 

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