Think back to 2007. The Michigan Wolverines were coming off a nearly perfect run the previous year, falling short to Ohio State in the regular season finale and then again in the Rose Bowl to USC. Head coach Lloyd Carr was going into his 13th season with the Wolverines, and the sky was the limit. Then the unthinkable happened. Appalachian State traveled to Ann Arbor for a noon game to kick off the new season, but three hours and 37 minutes later, the Mountaineers stormed The Big House as they defeated the Wolverines by a score of 34-32.
Seven years later, we’re due for a rematch. Appalachian State will again travel to The Big House and seek to shatter the hearts of the Wolverine faithful just as it did in 2007. You would be pretty foolish to think Michigan fans aren’t secretly worried about this one.
As sports fans, we’re naturally superstitious. If you trip going up the steps because of a loose board on the same day your favorite team’s quarterback throws for 350 yards and five touchdowns, you’re inclined to leave that loose step just the way it is for the rest of the season. It’s how we operate.
There has to be an uneasy feeling among Wolverine fans. That 2007 game was easily one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football, and I’m sure many true fans will tell you they’re still not completely over that loss. It’s one of those things that co-workers can jab at you during your lunch break, or, in this specific case, Ohio State fans easily allow this into their arsenal. It truly haunts you as a fan.
Even if fans are viewing this game as an opportunity to get revenge for one of the most embarrassing moments in this program’s history, there’s still a nervous buzz.
Why? Well, for example: Let’s say Michigan severely struggled against teams like Akron and Connecticut a season ago (which they did); wouldn’t that warrant some uneasy nerves for a similar opponent? The trend certainly isn’t a very positive one when it comes to squaring off against teams the Wolverines should be blowing out of the water.
Quite honestly, if you’re a fan of Michigan who’s reading this and saying, “No way! Bring it,” I think you may be flirting with unhealthy doses of denial. It’s really nothing to be ashamed of, though.
As a fan of the Wolverines myself, I will admit this game has me a little nervous. The what-if question is a daunting one. I want to believe this is just another game coming up, but I know what’s on the line, and I also know Michigan has struggled against teams like this recently.
Fans are secretly, rationally fearing a rematch with Appalachian State this season, and it’s completely understandable. This game cannot come and leave quickly enough.