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Michigan Will Never Live Down Losing To TCU

I was strangely numb after Michigan's loss to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. It was just such a headscratcher. I said, "Did that really just happen?" About six times after the game was over. TCU played great, Michigan didn't. I believed Michigan was a more talented team, and they played their worst game of the season. It was a loss that upset me, but it didn't really make me angry....until I watched last night's National Championship game and realized that TCU had no business beating Michigan. 

That's not to say that Michigan was better than TCU when they played on New Year's Eve (they weren't), and it's not to say that TCU wasn't an incredible story (they were). It's me saying that at the most inopportune time, they laid an egg the size of the grand canyon, and they'll never live it down.

Before I go any further, I'm well aware that Michigan would've most likely been boat raced by Georgia had they played last night. Would Michigan have put up a better fight than TCU did? I think so, but a loss is a loss is a loss. But knowing Michigan saved itself from losing on the biggest stage in the sport provides me with no solace. And yes, I'm aware that there were several questionable calls in the Fiesta Bowl. I don't point fingers and blame officials for a loss become I'm not a loser (and least when it comes to this). The officials shouldn't have been a factor. 

Michigan should've run TCU off the field in the first half. And if it was one of those instances in which one team did everything right, I could almost forgive it. Had TCU gotten every single break, I could've chalked it up as an anomaly. That wasn't the case. TCU gave up 45 points. They turned the ball over three times. They played better than Michigan. They deserved to win, but it wasn't some 10 out of 10, unbeatable performance.

As I said yesterday, Michigan is still in the best shape it's been in in a long time. They're not going anywhere. I'd be surprised if they aren't back in the playoff next season. Because of the loss to TCU, there's this narrative (mainly on social media) that Michigan maybe wasn't that good to begin with. They were. I know they were. I watched every snap of the season. It was the best Michigan football team of my lifetime. They could've given the 1997 championship team a run on their best day. Ohio State, a playoff team that came within inches of beating Georgia (you could argue they deserved to win), got shit pumped by Michigan at home this season. Michigan WAS that good all year except for the 60 minutes in which it mattered most. 

It's not to take anything away from TCU and what they accomplished against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, and I also don't mean to diminish what Michigan did this year. 13-1 with a conference championship and a win over your biggest rival is something that almost any team in college football would love to have. But despite all of the success, something about this season feels like a missed opportunity. Nothing about the TCU performance was admirable except the fight they showed in the second half of a game that they should've never trailed in. And as confident as I am that Michigan football will continue to get back to the playoff, fate rarely calls upon us in a moment of our choosing (Optimus Prime taught me that). The day may come when Michigan is playing to be the last one standing. If that happens, the pain of that Fiesta Bowl upset loss will greatly subside. But until then, 2022 will feel like the one that got away.