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A Notre Dame Fan’s Review of Amazon’s “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” (Episode 1)

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Enjoy my biased review of the first episode about college football’s evilest program.

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NCAA Football: Air Force at Michigan Rick Osentoski-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, with time stamps just in case you do decide, “Yeah, maybe I can stand to listen to ‘Hail to the Victors’ eleventy billion times in 45 minutes.”

Here is the rundown of the inaugural episode, which covers the team’s trip to Italy and the first half of its game against the Florida Gators.

  • 0:22 Jim Harbaugh is a very strange man. He wants his players to “be nastier, be tougher, be meaner” this year and emphasizes that point with a story about...Dairy Queen.

There’s just got to be a dark hate, UGH! Whatever it is inside of you. It started for me at a young age, like nine years old, first year of playing football. We had a game. We won the game. So...go to the Dairy Queen. Looking at the menu, and I must’ve been just like, drool coming out of my mouth, you know, coming down the side, just kinda, huh...peanut puster parfait

YES JIM HARBAUGH CALLED IT A “PEANUT PUSTER PARFAIT.”

...and the banana split and the ice cream dipped in the chocolate. Kids are up there ordering. And I know, I got no money. I think it was my dad learned me...

WAIT WAIT HOLD UP. “I THINK IT WAS MY DAD LEARNED ME?” WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR EDUCATION, SON? OH RIGHT, MICHIGAN.

...to not take money from other people. Comes around to my turn. “No! I don’t like ice cream!”

“Oh, you don’t like ice cream? Well, I got some money here, if you need an ice cream, I’ll get you ice cream.”

“No sir. No thank you. I don’t like ice cream. So I started — a pattern was set. It became like a rallying cry, you know? ‘I don’t need no damn ice cream.’ It was just a feeling of, ‘Somebody is paying. I HATE ’EM!”

HUH. I BET YOU A LOT OF THESE MICHIGAN PLAYERS LIKE DAIRY QUEEN ICE CREAM. IT’S SOFT. JUST LIKE THEY ARE.

  • 2:11 Our first shot of a Notre Dame alum: Malik Zaire getting clocked by a Michigan defender.
  • 2:27 “Hail to the Victors” alert. This will be a constant problem.
  • 2:41 Mark Harmon, who you may know as an actor who willingly played a role where his character’s name was both Leroy and Jethro, is narrating. Harmon’s dad was a MICHIGAN MAN, although Harmon went to UCLA.
  • 3:20 ARE WE SERIOUSLY DOING A MINOR KEY VERSION OF “HAIL TO THE VICTORS”?
  • 3:35 First shot of Bo Schembechler. I’m not sure if my favorite Bo fact is that he never won a national title, that he only won the Rose Bowl twice in 10 tries or that he KICKED TO ROCKET ISMAIL TWICE.
  • 5:33 Harmon says:

“Harbaugh returned in 2015 with a goal. Bring the Wolverines their first national championship in 20 years.”

THAT WAS A HALF-CHAMPIONSHIP.

“In his first two seasons, Michigan won 20 games.”

AND FINISHED THIRD IN THE BIG TEN EAST BOTH TIMES!

  • 6:50 Jim Harbaugh is getting his picture taken in Vatican City, wearing a suit and tie AND CHEWING GUM.
  • 7:19 Harbaugh tosses a coin into the Trevi Fountain (which you may remember from “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”). He makes a wish — which is actually NOT HOW THIS WORKS. (You’re supposed to throw three coins in: the first supposedly guarantees a return trip to Rome, the second ensures a new romance and third ensures marriage.)

Students: “What did you wish?”

Harbaugh: “Championship.”

Addison Harbaugh, Jim’s daughter: “Don’t tell him!”

OH, ADDISON. DON’T FRET. DADDY WASN’T GOING TO WIN ANYTHING IF HE CAN’T BEAT URBAN MEYER EVEN ONCE.

  • 14:58 Jim, on a search for his sophomore dorm room, doesn’t seem to recognize one of his own players.

“Hey! How are we doing! Jim Harbaugh.”

“Hey, Coach Harbaugh. Evan Latham.”

“Hey, Evan, great to see you!”

To Harbaugh’s credit, Latham is a walk-on, so...NAH, NO CREDIT GIVEN. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON HARBAUGH’S TORTURED SOUL.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
  • 16:55 After a narration touting sophomore defensive end Rashan Gary’s commitment to academics in high school, we’re treated to a scene in which Gary explains his favorite seat in his most important college class:

Gary: “How entrepreneurship is going. It’s cool because I could stay focused in the class, and it’s a long class.”

Brittney Papadopoulos, academic coach: “Where do you sit?”

“I sit, like, third row up...in the back.”

“What about the second row?”

“I don’t got nothing to lean my head back on.”

“Oh.”

“So, it’d be a bore, so I just like, lean my head back.”

“Because isn’t this what you want to do? This is your entrepreneurship class.”

“Yeah.”

“Can’t get lazy like that. What you told me is that you can make a 4.0 this semester.”

“I could...if I wanted.”

“Right. What gets in the way?”

“I know I could, like, hit my goal of being academic, All-American, but I don’t know if like, I’m ready, like, honing in and like, you feel me? Because my mind be in other places.”

DEAR FOOTBALL GODS: PLEASE LET RASHAN GARY BRING THE SAME ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM HE OFFERS IN HIS ENTREPRENEURSHIP CLASS TO THE FOOTBALL FIELD ON SEPT. 1.

  • 19:34 Oh shit, coach wrote a poem.

“I’m obliged for the hard service you have laid down for me. It is was I expected. It is ordained from on high from the football gods that you should put this suffering in my path. To be tested by you is the making of my soul.”

  • 30:22 Gary’s mom asks him, “Would you please wear your retainer?” I’m sure he’s thrilled that made the final cut. He also self-identifies as a mama’s boy.
  • 36:40 It’s not exactly clear, but quarterbacks Wilton Speight and John O’Korn may have learned for the first time which of them was starting against the Florida Gators less than 24 hours before the game. (It was Speight, although O’Korn got one series.)
  • 40:33 In the huddle, Speight says, “Hey O-line: Hold your blocks, this is a touchdown. OK? We’ll get off the field and go relax.” The linemen do as instructed and Speight finds wide receiver Tariq Black 46 yards downfield for the score.