There was a small discussion in another forum regarding where we can go by 2011. Someone made a comment about M winning a MNC by then, some agreed and some disagreed. I had a lengthy response written out, but in the interest of keeping this argument out of an unrelated thread, I decided to start a new topic. Here is my reply to a comment saying we needed to well this year to even have hopes for a MNC in 2011:
I'm not saying "National Title or Bust" by any means, but to say definitively that we will not be competing for one isn't giving the team enough credit. We could go 5-7 this year and it wouldn't change my mind. I don't think that will happen, though.
USC went 6-6 in (I believe) 2001. We can compare this to our 2009, I think we agree 6-6 is doable, if not likely. That was PC's first year in the program and it's RR's second, but I think the point remains, the coach was new to the program. In 2002, USC went 11-2, and won a BCS bowl against a very good Iowa team. This is very possible for the 2010 version of Michigan; much more talented and experienced than the 2009 version. In 2003 (2011 for us, if you're following the parallel) USC won a national championship (albeit a shared championship, but they were the best team that year).
Now, are we USC? Maybe, maybe not. RR did big things before coming to UM with a lot less than he has here, so there's no saying he can't. Let me reiterate that I'm not counting on a MNC by 2011, but a similar situation has happened elsewhere, so don't write it off just yet.