The End of An Era: Saying Goodbye to Lloyd Carr
In Memphis, the Doc Hancock era began at Crichton College with a convincing win over Blue Mountain College to open up the conference portion of the basketball season.
And in Ann Arbor, in the 22nd meeting between Michigan and Ohio State to determine the Big 10 champion, the Wolverine faithful said farewell to Lloyd Carr after 28 seasons with the Michigan football program.
Unlike the start of my brand-new job as manager of the basketball team, which was probably the biggest thing to hit Crichton in a long time, the departure of Coach Carr was a long time coming.
Early on in his career, Carr owned John Cooper and Ohio State in their annual showdown the same way I owned one of my lady friends on the pool table, winning six of his first seven against the Buckeyes.
In the middle of that run, Carr would win conference championships in 1997, 1998, and 2000 plus a national championship in 1997, Michigan's first since 1948.
Then, as we all know after Cooper left Columbus, Ohio State brings in Tressel, who promised the Buckeye faithful that they would again have success against the Wolverines.
Which is exactly what happened.
From 2001 to 2007, the Wolverines have only one win against Ohio State, a win coming in 2003 to clinch the Big 10 championship.
And while in the period between 1995 and 2000, the Wolverines won four bowl games, they would only win one in the period after Tressel took over in Columbus, a win in the 2003 Outback Bowl against Florida.
Not to mention a heartbreaking loss to Nebraska in the 2005 Alamo Bowl that started the grumbles around Ann Arbor about Carr's future.
The grumbles, in my honest opinion, got louder when the Wolverines lost to USC in the Rose Bowl in January, when the old "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense that has been the standard for Michigan's offense for as long as anyone could remember backfired along with the defensive schemes of Ron English, who seemed to be the man most likely to be fired had Carr not decided to retire.
And when Michigan lost to App. State, which brought us to this point in the Lloyd Carr era, the grumbles started to turn into flaming blasts of criticism on blogs, message boards, and God knows what else.
A loss, that will be without any question, a big part of Carr's legacy in Ann Arbor as his numerous conference championships and national title team.
The thing about this whole deal with Carr is that it will probably mark the end of the Bo Schembechler era once and for all a year after Schembechler died.
Because chances are, whoever the person may be to replace Carr, the Michigan that I as well as your father and grandfather grew up with, will not be the same Michigan when the 2008 season rolls around.
It's going to be a Michigan that may or may not be better than it was under Carr or a Michigan that will be dealing with the Charlie Weis syndrome.
But as the old saying goes, we'll see.
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