Resolute and devout Michigan fans have been asking themselves the same question all week.
Will 2011 be 2010/9?
From talking to other entrenched fans and the general dismay of this board, it seems we truly feel we might be standing on the abyss of enduring another soul crushing collapse. This would entail another off-season of "What ifs", "What nows" and "Who's to blame".
The underlying issue we have as a Michigan fanbase, and one that defines us above most other programs is simple.
- We have won.
- We know we can win.
- We expect to win.
- We expect to win championships.
Nothing is more undermining than having expectations dashed to pieces on the rocks of reality in such dramatic fashion. The echoes from that initial season of transition has revereberated through the program, a constant reminder that hope stands alone on tenous support.
Assertions of "This time will be different" were the rally cries of yesteryear, fallen silent on the death throes of six contests that were at best pedestrian.
For the first time in nearly a half decade, the Michigan fan has stood up against adversity and seen what it is to fail. They have seen what darkness stands beyond the of light of hope and, rightly so, are a tentative fanbase. A colleague of mine voiced my feelings best:
"It is difficult to hope when it seems we are constantly a minor misstep away from swirling around the drain. It is much harder to say 'We will win' than to say ' We wont ' and be suprised when we do".
The Michigan fan has started to accept that winning is not inevitable. That mediocrity is the norm.
Shame on you. This is Michigan Fergodsakes.
I challenge all of you to hope.
For Martin, for Woolfolk, for Koger, for Van Bergen.
They have sacrificed blood sweat and years for the program and each and every one of you.
For an 11-1 season.
For a first of many BTC.
For Brady Hoke to get his first win of seven in a row against Ohio.
For Mattison's Marauders to show people a thing or two about Michigan Swagger.
For Michigan to show Nebraska who really was the better program in '97.
For Danny Hope to realize that Snake Oil has restocked.
For Ferentz to see that Michigan will take your best shot and hit you in the mouth.
For Zook to keep on Zookin'.
Finally, I challenge each and every one of you to this.
Remember what it was like to be a kid
Stand in awe again of Michigan Stadium and the titans that defend it.
Celebrate the wins, forget the losses.
Mostly, remember that a day of Michigan Wolverines standing toe to toe on the gridiron is a day worth celebrating.
Hail. To. The Victors.