If I had not watched any of the last 21 Michigan games and judged the state of the program solely on the reaction of the majority of fans after the Illinois loss, I would need buckshot to get the taste out of my mouth. Considering how I felt while watching the game, I can certainly understand the sentiment held by the aforementioned majority. The game was brutal. A PETA ad depicting the clubbing of baby seals would have been more pleasant to watch than the implosion after Illinois' goal-line stand.
This, of course, is an emotional reaction. So let's put away the pitchforks (for the pissed off out there) and the shotguns (for the depressed out there) and take a step back, and just look at this team's progress towards its goals.
Before the season, I openly predicted that we would go 6-6 in a diary.http://mgoblog.com/diaries/realistic-2009-prediction
Of the commenters that predicted, the breakdown went as such:
9+ wins (3)
8 wins (4)
6 wins or less (7)
Five of the seven commenters predicting 6 or less predicted 5 wins, nobody predicted 4 or less. So including myself, 8/23 or more than a 1/3 predicted a season to finish 6-6 at best. Over 2/3 predicted a best-case scenario of 7-5. Granted, 23 is a small sample size, but it's what I have.
Midway through the season we were 4-2 heading into a game against Delaware State, also known as the School for the Blind, so 5-2 was a given. It was at this point that I cautioned everyone to remain realistic about the team, and maintained that I felt 6-6 was likely. http://mgoblog.com/diaries/mid-season-analysis-how-are-we-doing
Far fewer member made predictions, but the general attitude in the comments was, "You're an idiot, Illinois is garbage, you're an idiot, we finish 8-4 at least, maybe 9-3, you're an idiot, neg-bang neg-bang neg-bang neg-bang neg-bang.... you're an idiot."
Again, this sentiment was based on emotion. Everyone was still high off the win over Notre Dame and the gutsy performance against Indiana. Nobody was taking into account that of 5 wins, two were against Michigan Directional, one was against Indiana, and the lone quality win was against Notre Dame.
'Lo and behold, after drubbing the blind kids from Delaware and losing to an Illinois team that either A.) finally played up to their potential, B) isn't very good but killed us anyway, or C) all of the above people are again reacting emotionally.
So, just for a moment, calm down everyone, and realize that our team is right where we thought we would be. If we beat Purdue next week,like I think we will, that will put us at 6-4 with two tough games against Wisconsin and Ohio State, teams that should beat us if they play well. So we end 6-6. Right about where 2/3 of us thought we would be.
As I said last June, "This [6-6] might seem bad, but considering a brand new scheme on defense and
a reliance on young players, it’s not too bad. Especially when a few
games could go our way (ND, Iowa, and MSU) and quickly change it to a
9-3 record. Realistic expectations are important."
Well, ND went our way, I was wrong on Penn State, and we almost pulled it off against Iowa and Michigan State. We have a new scheme on defense with limted talent, and our young players are playing like young players
. 6-6 is realistic, and let's not lose our shit if that happens. The nature of college football lends itself to highly emotional reactions, and that's okay. But if we slow down enough to use calm objectivity, we see that we're living up to expectations.