Somewhere, George Parks is smiling.
Yes, folks, October is just around the corner, but if I wasn’t already on the football bandwagon this year, today’s near-upset of Michigan in the Big House has me drinking the Kevin Morris kool-aid. If this kind of game happened to our other teams – the early lead blown in a one-minute span closing out the first half, the almost-but-not-quite rally at the end, the 300+ yard performance by Vince Young’s reincarnation Denard Robinson – we’d be lamenting what might have been. Instead, we revel in what is undoubtedly the most impressive loss in program history, a tremendous effort that nearly shocked the college football world.
It’s easy to sit around and mope about how our boys came ><thisclose to pulling it off, giving UMass bragging rights over Michigan, giving me something to boast about to my coworkers for the rest of the year (and trust me, I would), and making the Globe’s so-bad-it’s-hilarious UMass attack article even more hilarious in retrospect. But facts are facts: our humble FCS football team, that of the one singular national championship, whose star running back is from my high school (and trust me, central Mass. isn’t exactly a high school football hotbed) just marched into the revered home field of the winningest program in all of college football, a field ten times the size of our own, and went toe-to-toe with this year’s Heisman shoo-in for four quarters. If UMass is ever going to take the next step and move to FBS, up to the “next tier” according to the Globe’s standards, it will have the respect, at the very least, of the college football world. If UMass can do this against Michigan, there is no doubt in my mind that they can compete for a national FCS title this year.
Hockey and basketball are just around the corner, and you better believe we’re gearing up here for year 2 of Fight Mass’s coverage. But the beginning of this year has me prouder than ever of UMass football, and you bet your ass we’ll be following those guys as well over the coming months.
October’s almost here. Y’all up there can feel it coming; it’s a little more subtle down here (we’re getting down into the 80s for crying out loud!), but it’s in the air nonetheless. Here’s hoping there’s lots more to come in the realm of “UMass competing with powerhouses” (ahem, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Here’s also hoping that this fires up the fanbase. Folks, you don’t need to go to a Really Good State School(TM) to have a great experience rooting for your athletic teams. It’s up to the administration and the state to get/provide the funding to make this program into what it should be, and it’s up to the teams to win, but it’s just as important that we, the students and alumni, get properly fired up and proud about our school, in good times and in bad.
Oh, and one more thing we all agree on: Maggie Davis is still a bitch.