Poplin: Never mind that
brainiac stuff: Football’s on

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The University of Michigan is one of the greatest learning institutions on the planet, with a dizzying laundry list of achievements — like being the first university to create a program in human genetics. But it’s also home to the winningest college football team in history, and that fact, in the eyes  of many (and to the everlasting astonishment of many others), trumps all the other good stuff.

I get it. I grew up in the Deep South in Athens, Ga., home of the University of Georgia By God Bulldogs. There are basically three college sports down there: football, spring football and football conditioning. I bought in, brother. Growing up, I sold Coca-Colas (“ko-kolers”) at UGA home games. I can still tell you who kicked field goals on the ’68 squad. So I’ve got your back, U-M football fanatics.

Which means I’m into the Jim Harbaugh thing. He’s got the outsized personality, the ego and the quirkiness to be the perfect college football coach. And, oh yeah, he’s what fans and pundits call a “winner.” So good times are ahead for U-M football: wins on the field and some fun quotes to stock the shelves which have been notably bare since Bo Schembechler walked the sidelines.

Speaking of quotes, Elbert Hubbard supposedly once said, “College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture.” He’s got a point. My brain totally comprehends the out-of-whack values in our society, where so much emphasis is placed on training young men to crash into each other on the football field. Still, my heart knows what I’ll be doing on Saturday afternoons this fall.

The editor, Kyle Poplin, says the Wolverines will go 7-5 this fall, including a hugely satisfying win over that Team That Shall Not Be Named. What’s your prediction?

Kyle Poplin

Kyle Poplin is co-founder and editor of The Ann magazine.