As we are past one of the worst experiences ever for the Michigan football team, and looking forward to a renewed season of hope, albeit warily (freshman QB, lack of experience on Defense, etc.), I thought it would be interesting to get people's takes on an issue that periodically comes up between my friends and I, namely: is there a standard of excellence or achievement that our football program should consistently meet?
Speaking for myself, this has come up in the recent past, not with the new coaching staff (changing the program fairly radically requires patience) but very often in the last few years of the Carr administration, most often after a disappointing loss to a team we "should" have beaten IMO. We used to have debates over what constituted a consistent standard of excellence. Some would say that maintaining a clean program, adhering to our standards, graduating players, and maintaining a winning program (e.g. 8 wins and above) meets that standard. Others would say that with our resources, recruiting, facilities, and tradition, that only a consistent BCS presence---not necessarily national title games, but being consistently in the BCS mix, which typically identifies the top 8-10 teams on the country, is the true standard. Lastly, others might say that with the changing landscape of college football, the diffusion of talent more evenly distributed throughout the country, etc., that expectations are a fool's game, and that we should be grateful to compete for Big Ten titles periodically, and accept that things are so different from the Bo era, and that that time will not return again.
You know the drill: Michigan should "never" lose to Toledo, App. State, blah blah. "We are Michigan" and so on. For me, that sentiment is mistaken given the changes in the landscape mentioned above. My greatest frustrations in the past were not necessarily those losses, but rather the one game seemingly every/most years of Carr that we had in the bag but blew (you can all name the particular game). The year's of Capital One or Outback Bowls, where we thought we had the talent to go to the BCS, but didn't.
So, what do you think? Is there a standard that the program should meet? For purposes of the argument I'll define "meeting" as 4 out of every 5 years--there will always be an outlier year, where injuries and other things contribute to not meeting the standard--if there is one.
I will start by saying where I come out on the issue. I am in the camp that says we have advantages that should add up to consistent excellence on the field. My definition of excellence is simple: consistent Top Ten finishes in end of year polls. No looking for the title game, or even necessarily the BCS --though I think we should be in that mix consistently-- but rather after all the games are played, M is considered a top ten team that season.
So, your thoughts: unrealistic? About right? Don't even have the conversation because it appeals to yahoo sentiments that say we should never lose a game?
Remember that this definition allows for a weird year that does not meet this. I'm also, for the purposes of the argument, exempting last year and this one due to RR and the great amount of change the program is in.
I'm very interested in the discussion if you have time. Let's hear it..