Michigan Football is like a Bad Boyfriend

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve all heard of the bad boyfriend. He tells you he’s going to be better. He tells you that he’s improved and that he can make this work. You decide to get back together with him or stay with him despite your better judgment because you think maybe this time will be better. Maybe just maybe, he’ll live up to his promises. 

Michigan Football has acted much the same way over the past few years. Whether it’s hyping up new players like Joe Milton or raving about a new offensive style like speed in space, Michigan never runs out of ways to get the fans excited in spite of their many disappointing seasons. Many fans sign up, pay money for tickets and merchandise, donate to the athletic department, and expect greatness out of this football team because they believe this year will be “our year”. 

However, fans should stop kidding themselves. Going to a college football playoff is hard, and the Wolverines probably won’t make it this year. If that’s what’s being promised and year after year they fail to deliver, should we really be surprised when they disappoint us? Should we hold the same beliefs and expectations that they will succeed? 

And yet the Michigan Wolverines, like the bad boyfriend, not only fail to deliver on their promises but finds new ways to disappoint you. With a loss to an upstart Michigan State team, the Wolverines have outdone themselves. After a promising win against a good Minnesota team, the Wolverines couldn’t hold their own against a team that lost to Rutgers the previous week. It is a new low for the Harbaugh era. 

There is still a long-ish season left, and Michigan could win the rest of their games and live up to their expectations. But most likely, that won’t happen. Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State once under Jim Harbaugh and assuming that doesn’t happen, none of the lofty expectations Michigan fans hoped for will come true. 

Now after having our expectations and feelings crushed again, we must decide what to do with this team or with the boyfriend. Giving up Michigan Football, like the boyfriend, is hard. So maybe you continue to date the boyfriend, maybe you continue to buy season tickets. It’s understandable. 

However, fans should stop kidding themselves. Going to a college football playoff is hard, and the Wolverines probably won’t make it this year. If that’s what’s being promised and year after year they fail to deliver, should we really be surprised when they disappoint us? Should we hold the same beliefs and expectations that they will succeed? 

Try to enjoy the game rather than live vicariously through their outcome. If fans can begin to do that, at least they are being honest with themselves about what Michigan Football is really about.

Perhaps it’s time to adjust our expectations, to live with the failure and pain that is Michigan Football. It’s time to recognize that Michigan Football probably won’t be good enough to win a championship anytime soon. Instead, fans should try and enjoy football and be proud of your school without looking toward your football team for the validation that your school is great. And if it’s really too much to handle, maybe it’s time to stop following Michigan Football and dump the boyfriend once and for all. 

I understand that it can be hard to adjust your expectations and put your thoughts into something else other than your football team. You only have one school, and it can be hard to “dump” your football team. However, loving your school’s football team is separate from loving your school, and for some, it might be helpful for Michigan Football fans to focus attention on something else. 

With that being said, this relationship can be healthy if fans are willing. Instead of hyping up the team endlessly, watch with muted expectations and understand that it is really hard to be one of the best teams in the country. Try to enjoy the game rather than live vicariously through their outcome. If fans can begin to do that, at least they are being honest with themselves about what Michigan Football is really about.

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About Noah Garfinkel

Noah is a Senior with a major in History and a minor in Chinese. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the Michigan Review and a member of the AEI Executive Council at Michigan. He is also a sprinter for The Michigan Running Club. In his free time he loves to read and play basketball.