A ‘Pep Talk’ For The Michigan Wolverines For Their Season Opener At Utah
The hype has reached its xenith as the Harbaugh era is set to begin tonight in Salt Lake City.
With Michigan about to open its season and next chapter at Utah, I figured it was the least I could do to give the Wolverines a bit of a motivational speech. I tried to emulate the great Lou Holtz (specifically "his" epic rallying cry for Alabama from 2010) in galvanizing the U-M fanbase.
You can listen to the full pep talk in the YouTube video embedded above. Below is a full transcript.
Men, it’s that time of year again--the time of year when the leaves turn. It’s the time of year when the Maize and Blue faithful don their finest sleeveless shirts and jorts, purchased at Wal Mart, and drive their homes to Ann Arbor. It’s tradition. It’s passion. It’s living in the past, and no one does this better than you, the Michigan Wolverines.
But this speech isn’t about winning. No, this speech is about going out there and giving your all for the University of Michigan and its millions of bandwagon fans who still vividly recall the school’s 10.5 national championships, 10 of which happened before color TV and all of which happened before college football even had a national title game. It’s about making proud your worldwide fanbase, largely comprised of Oakland Community College, Eastern Michigan and high school GED graduates—those fans who hold so dearly U-M’s 16 all-time wins versus Albion College, its 26 all-time wins versus Case Western, and most of all its all-time 1.000 winning percentage versus high schools. Yes, those die-hard devotees who without fail burst into verse with "Hail to the Victors"... and none of the other lyrics to the Michigan fight song.
Now here’s the deal: It’s not like losing this game to Utah will change how your fans feel or how they point to games played before the advent of the forward pass as proof of superiority over every other university. No men, they’ll still think you’re the best based on Michigan’s prestigious academic standing—though most of them couldn’t gain admission to the school. They’ll still say almost every other school (except for Appalachian State) is far behind them in their all-time series standing. They’ll still point to dusty trophies from a time when black people weren’t allowed to play. They’ll still say coaches like Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer have a long way to go before they enter the same strata as the legendary Bo Schembechler, whose mythical resume includes a 5-12 bowl record and 0 national championships. They'll still say Michigan is a preeminent college football program, even though they're tied for 21st on the list of most national titles since World War II.
This ain’t about bragging rights, because if history is any indicator, we know that current results don't change anything with how you brag about your team’s triumphs in eras long gone by. No, this game is about one thing and one thing only: Jim Harbaugh. The prodigal son has returned to his predestined home, and in just one offseason your messianic savior has already eclipsed the accomplishments of his championship-laden contemporaries. Forget Nick Saban’s four national championships, forget Urban Meyer’s three—Harbaugh has those iconic khakis…and have you heard he even dreams about football? It doesn’t matter that he’s never won a national championship—he might as well have already won 10. His 29-21 career record in the FBS is that impressive.
So men, in conclusion, I want you to think about the leaves falling off the trees when you’re out there on that field tonight. Think about the changing of the seasons, and how that means the holidays will soon be upon us. Think back to all the wonderful holiday memories you have with your family, because family is what it’s all about, and the Michigan family is counting on you to go out there and give it a reason to be insufferable again…or just a reason to make more excuses. Go get ‘em boys!