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A Notre Dame Fan’s Review of “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” (Final Episode)

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It’s all over now, baby Blue.

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NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Michigan vs South Carolina Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After following the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams for its “Hard Knocks”-esque series, “All or Nothing,” Amazon expanded into the college ranks for an eight-episode run with the Michigan Wolverines.

Like most passionate Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans, I can’t stand the Wolverines. I hate their helmets, their fight song, their smug coach and their “Michigan man” nonsense.

I’m going to watch this series, so you don’t have to. These are my real-time reactions of the third episode, with time stamps just in case you do decide, “Yeah, maybe I want to watch some dumbass Michigan player run into a screen door.”

The episode includes the Outback Bowl loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks.

  • 3:58 Jim Harbaugh spent money on Fatheads to commemorate the highlights of this 8-4 season. “That came out nice. That came out real nice,” says Harbaugh of this picture.
Amazon

THE OPPONENT’S FREAKIN’ HEAD IS CUT OFF, JIM. AND SERIOUSLY, THERE WAS NO BETTER PICTURE OF THE KICKER? THEY WON THE STUPID AIR FORCE GAME BY 16. IT’S NOT LIKE THIS COMMEMORATES THE WINNING KICK OR SOMETHING. JIM, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

  • 8:23 Wilton Speight and his injured spine decide to use their final year of eligibility elsewhere.

“I made up my mind that, for my fifth year, that I was gonna go somewhere else. One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life. There’s no one real reason. I know people are always going to want a headliner that says, ‘WILTON LEAVES BECAUSE _____.’ I had a great talk with Coach Harbaugh. He wanted to make sure there was nothing that he did. And that was my focus on the whole conversation, was to make sure he knew how much I love him and respect him and loved being his quarterback. It’s just time to move on.”

Speight is going to the UCLA Bruins, who are looking for Josh Rosen’s replacement.

  • 10:52 Chase Winovich, senior defensive end:

“We almost feel like we have a duty to Michigan to, like, win these games. You know? We’re clinging to something. We want something to really hang our hats on. We lose this one. We’ve lost three in a row. I mean, it’s just not a good look.”

I DUNNO, CHASE. I LOVE THAT LOOK.

  • 13:09 Jim Harbaugh does a fairly decent Jon Gruden impression.
  • 15:00 The Wolverines’ and Gamecocks’ players get involved in the lamest dick-measuring contest at a bowling alley.
Amazon
  • 20:05 Winovich, defensive end Maurice Hurst and offensive lineman Grant Newsome dye their hair orange. Defensive coordinator Don Brown does his mustache. It’s for a good reason, but boy does it look idiotic.
Amazon
  • 21:19 Jim Harbaugh’s dad, Jack, tells stories that are almost as bizarre as his son’s.

“My favorite story. My father — he was a professional boxer. One thing we did on Monday night, Wednesday night and Friday night, we watched a boxing match. We watched a fight. Boxing gloves and he would tell me about, bang! The jab, bang! Bang, bang! Gotta keep that hand up. Yeah, yeah! Told me about all those things.

“It was about 1978. Guy by the name of Vito Antuofermo, he was out in New York CIty and he was not a great fighter. In fact, he was a bleeder. He’d been hit so often around the eyes that you just tapped him and the blood would come flowing. So he knew he had to win it fast, because he was gonna bleed, fight would be stopped, technical knockout.

“So he’s fighting a guy by the name of Cyclone Hart. Madison Square Garden. Putting on a big show. So in the first round ... what Cyclone did, he went, boom! And he drilled him right underneath the rib cage. And Vito heard something pop. Couldn’t breathe. And he thought to himself, dropped down to a knee, ‘Now, if I can just get through this round.’

“Come the third round, they’re in there again. ... What happened again was, boom! He drilled him in there again, now he heard another pop, but he felt the blood begin to fill up his mouth. The trainer says, ‘You’re in trouble.’ No, hold onto that towel! Give me one more round. Give me one more play. Sure enough, he let him go.

“Fifth round, Vito goes, ‘Boom!’ And pops him right on the tip of the jaw. Cyclone’s knee buckled. He went into the ropes. He’s quitting. He doesn’t want it anymore! He’s let go. This is my time. And he turned out a flurry of left and rights and body shots and chin shots and every shot he could do.

“This fight is over! And the winner is Vito Antuofermo. Wow.

“Why do I tell you that story? My experience over 50 some years, these kind of contests that you’re in tomorrow, against this kind of team, there’s going to be opportunities to knock those sons of pups out. You’re going to look in their eyes and they’re going to glaze over. And they don’t want it anymore! That’s the time that you go after ’em with a flurry of punches and knock their ass out. All contests that are even come down to that. One team, when it’s all over, is gonna sit in that locker room, and you’re gonna look back at the play that you could’ve made, or you could’ve made ... that would’ve brought this team to victory.

“Don’t sit in that locker room with your hands up to your face with the tears coming down your fingers because you didn’t make it. Sit in that locker room and know that you outlasted those guys. You persevered. Your persistence won in that particular case.”

The irony of this story is that it was Michigan that staked to the 19-3 lead in the Outback Bowl — just as Cyclone Hart won the first four rounds against Vito Antuofermo — and then South Carolina knocked their asses out. Basically, Jack Harbaugh’s story is of the lesser talented persevering over the quitters is the story of South Carolina beating Michigan, not vice versa.

Harbaugh — or perhaps the episode’s editor — leaves out the part that really drives home the story. I know this, because this is actually one of Bill Parcells’ favorite anecdotes. Jack Harbaugh probably read it in the New York Times...11 years ago.

From Michael Lewis’ profile of Parcells:

“When the fighters went back to their makeshift locker rooms, only a thin curtain was between them. Hart’s room was quiet, but on the other side he could hear Antuofermo’s cornermen talking about who would take the fighter to the hospital. Finally he heard Antuofermo say, ‘Every time he hit me with that left hook to the body, I was sure I was going to quit. After the second round, I thought if he hit me there again, I’d quit. I thought the same thing after the fourth round. Then he didn’t hit me no more.’

“At that moment, Hart began to weep. It was really soft at first. Then harder. He was crying because for the first time he understood that Antuofermo had felt the same way he had and worse. The only thing that separated the guy talking from the guy crying was what they had done. The coward and the hero feel the same emotions. They’re both human.”

Also: It wasn’t 1978. It wasn’t The Garden. And Vito was from Italy. And tell me why Jack can’t say “bitches” but can say “asses”?

  • 26:50 Seriously, WTF.
Amazon
  • 41:59

Previous recaps:

Episode 1: Bizarre Dairy Queen story, Trevi Fountain faux paus