Based on the first 3 games, the season looks brighter than I ever anticipated.
However, I suspect that in 2010, I think we are only looking at an improvement to 9-3 or 10-2. Why? Because our offense can't win all our games, and it will probably take at least two years for our defense to improve significantly. The problem is I don't see sufficient stud defensive recruits, at least so far. The caveat is that the jury is still out. But TomVH has suggested that even with the improvement this year, it will have a limited affect in bringing in better recruits this season. Our secondary recruits look possibly decent, depending on what happens at corner. I'm not as optimistic at linebacker. And even if supposed studs come in, they will still be freshman.
2011 is where I see us playing close to the top tier. By that time, the offense should be fearsome, firing on all cylinders. The Oline will be solid, the QB and receiver corps feared, the RB's continue to be great. By 2011, our defense still won't be great, but it will be adequate and much improved, keeping us in almost every game. 2011 could be the mirror image of 1997: the offense will be awesome (just as the 97 defense was awesome,) and the defense won't lose games, (just as the 97 offense didn't lose games.)
2012 is when we begin to really compete regularly for the MNC. By then, Forcier is a senior and the offense is unstoppable, and the defense is good to great.
Of course, this crystal ball stuff gives you plenty of opportunity to look really stupid. But my point is that Michigan Koolaid will NOT massively improve the defense in just a year. It will take sev. years to restock the cupboard and to develop good defensive starters and plenty of depth.