In a word: everything. Having gone to games at the Big House since I was in the womb, I have seen the highs and the lows of UM football firsthand. Being in the student section last fall was almost insufferable, the energy that was characteristic of the Big House had seemed to be a memory of the past. Then everything changed. Even the rumors of Jim Harbaugh coming back to Ann Arbor electrified the community. Once he committed, the city went nuts, and khakis were sold out everywhere. I mean, shortly after committing, he became even more of a hero by being a first responder and attending to the injured in a car accident. In the community he was seen as the epitome of a "Michigan Man" and was coming to save us from the dreary post-Lloyd Carr days.
However, while there was most definitely Harbaugh-Mania, I tried to go into this season with more realistic hopes. I was fully expecting Coach to take at least 2-3 seasons to fully turn this program around, but he has CERTAINLY revitalized this program faster than expected. He recruited players and coaching staff phenomenally well, has unlocked potential that we never would have dreamed of, and while constantly trying to keep the mantra of his mentor "The Team, The Team, The Team," making all of us who see Bo as essentially a demigod proud. After all, they aren't calling it Ann Arbaugh for nothing.
The PSU-UM game was always a family matter in my household. My Grandma is an INCREDIBLY proud Nittany Lion alum (and has the roaring mug to prove it), so for most of my childhood my grandparents and their friends would come in from PA to heckle our family and then go to the game. Even if the game is in State College, we can always rely on Grandma to call and either cry about how her poor boys were robbed or rubbing their victory in our faces. Those family dynamics are probably my favorite memories associated with the game. But, I will always remember my devastated Grandmother after our Wolverines went on to defeat the higher ranked Nittany Lions in 1997... and then marched on to get a National Championship. Ah, the glory days and the beast that is Charles Woodson.
Don't get me wrong, Iowa has been STELLAR this season. However, their schedule isn't as challenging as that of the B1G East. I think seeing how they do against Nebraska (given what they just did to MSU) will be an important indicator, and then I will take it from there. So slow your roll, Coop.
I'm not going to lie, being a Michigan fan last season had a slight hint of a "soul-sucking" vibe. But, Michiganders (as a whole) are gritty, perseverant, and all around tenacious. At the end of the day, I'd be a Michigander and a Wolverine fan any day of the week over any other team, even if everyday I was stuck in the purgatory that was the Rich Rod/Hoke era (Thank the Lord we made it through that). And for the record I would only use "soul-sucking" when describing Urban Meyer (and consequently any and all OSU coaches) or Nick Saban, just how my father raised me.
I always have faith in my Team. But, having the PSU game the WEEK before the OSU game gives me pause. PSU could benefit from the attention being focused more on the 28th rather than the 21st and catch UM off guard. Also, PSU will likely be hungry after falling to Northwestern just before their bye week. Furthermore, Michigan's performance against Indiana left a lot to be desired defensively, in special teams, and in the running game - if those are not improved dramatically this week, there could be even more trouble. In other words, this could be dangerous for the maize and blue.
But don't get it twisted, I have full confidence that UM will be beating PSU. If Jake Rudock plays like he has in the past two games, I fully anticipate a high scoring and high-yardage game. Ever since the Rutgers game, Rudock has shown precision, confidence, and strong play reading; and it has lit a fire in the offense. I certainly wouldn't want to bet against Rudock, fellow B1G co-offensive player of the week Jehu Chesson or Jake Butt. I also fully anticipate to see PSU on the board given Hackenberg's arm and because the Wolverine defense is still hurting from Ryan Glasgow being out (perhaps for the rest of the season) due to a pectoral injury and Mario Ojemudia's Achilles injury. Yet, I still expect to see strong performances from Wormley, Peppers (obviously), and Lewis to help secure the W for the Wolverines. Also, Coach will throw his clipboard at least once, aggressively yank off his headset approximately 221 times, and Brian Cooper will shed at least two tears. Don't worry, I will proudly wear my maize and blue on game day, even though I will actually be in PA for the day.