Thursday, January 1, 2009

A hard lesson for a Michigan fan

It's New Year's Day, a day that always is circled for Michigan football fans. Too much drinking the night before is not advised, because you would not be in the proper condition. The Wolverines almost always had a bowl game on New Year's Day. Until this year's debacle, they had appeared in 30-some straight post-season games. But this year, they are sitting at home and some fans may be hoping they see a good prospect announce he will head to Ann Arbor in the High School All-American Game this weekend.

For me, and all Indiana football fans, watching New Year's Day football without the Hoosiers is common, and frankly, expected. But I remain interested in most of the games, particularly those involving Big Ten teams. Like now, I'm watching Iowa dominate South Carolina early in the Outback Bowl. I'm interested not because I'm an Iowa fan, but because I'm a Big Ten fan. If our conference does well in the bowl season, we all gain a little more respect. And in my mind, maybe I can rationalize some of the Hoosiers' 9 losses. Like now ... Iowa thumped IU 45-9 in Bloomington and now they're beating an above-average South Carolina team, maybe we weren't as bad as I thought.

If Penn State can upset USC later today in the Rose Bowl, then the IU 34-7 loss to the Nittany Lions appears justified and their first half performance in that game looks all the more impressive. The Hoosiers trailed 10-7 at halftime.

This is a new concept for my wife, who is a Michigan alum. She is used to looking forward to a big bowl game, the last few years the Rose Bowl, on New Year's Day. I had to explain why I root for the Big Ten during bowl season and I think it's starting to rub off. When the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown, I heard a "Go Big Ten" from the couch next to me.

She won't root for Ohio State during the Fiesta Bowl, however. I guess I can allow that.

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