Today was obviously painful, but it’s important on days like this to take a step back and look at the state of the program. The future is bright. After sweating out bowl eligibility the past two years (and not making it in 2009), Michigan is already there. Mattison has taken one of the worst defenses in the country and turned it into a respectable unit in seven games. Borges had his troubles today but has generally shown a broad knowledge of offensive football and a large amount of flexibility. Coach Hoke has already shown himself to be a great bearer of the combination of toughness and class that makes Michigan what it is. More, the staff already has one top-notch recruiting class of verbal commits and a head start on 2013 in the person of Shane Morris.
The team is obviously a year or more away from being the Michigan of old, but that’s okay. Remember that Bo’s 1969 team didn’t dominate. It took Bo some time to get the Wolverines to their rightful place. The current staff will have to have a couple of years of recruiting to fill in the defense and offense with the kind of players that will fit the current systems. Once they do – and there’s every reason to think that they will – Michigan will be back. Remember that SDSU Coach Rocky Long said that it’s not if but when Coach Hoke will win a national championship at Michigan.
If you’re not convinced that it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine right now, think about Michigan State: Their fans just emerged from their garbage-strewn stadium, having watched their team make a mockery of themselves, and they’re on cloud nine about a season that isn’t going any farther than a bad loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. MSU supporters are thrilled about at a team that would make Michigan fans embarrassed. MSU gained a victory today, but the arc of college football history bends back toward Michigan as of right now. MSU will not be able to compete with the realities that I mentioned above.
In summation of this somewhat jumbled collection of thoughts: Michigan has a top coaching staff, great recruits are on the way, and the Michigan emphasis on winning the right way endures. Today was just one small stumble on the long road to Michigan football being Michigan football again. In the grand scheme of things, even today is a great day.