I have read a good part of the posts and threads on being dead right and dead wrong on 2010 football. Interesting, and some good points.
I believe we will have a winning season. The experience, seasoning, and continuity with Gerg as the DC will make a difference.
However, there are at least two variable factors that make it impossible to predict whether we have six wins or nine.
First, it is impossible to predict injuries. As we saw with Molk last year, and with the running backs to some degree, critical injuries are especially bad for Michigan, because of our lack of depth. If we largely remain healthy through the season, I believe we will be on the upper end (eight or nine wins.) On the other hand, if we have significant line injuries, if Tate & Denard go down, if our fastest receivers go down, we could be sunk. Of course, our opponents will have to deal with their own injuries, another variable affecting the W-L column.
Second, it is impossible to predict the ability of the incoming freshman class, and even to some degree the red-shirt freshman and early enrollees now going through Spring Practice. We will have a clue after the next month of practice, but only a clue. You just don't know for sure until guys are on the field. For instance, I remember criticism when Mike Hart was recruited and given a scholarship. He definitely proved the naysayers wrong.
If we can survive this year, each subsequent year should improve. The reason is that our depth will improve, and we will be able to bring solid players in off the bench. In fact, even this coming season, if we can make it to at least the half-way point with few injuries, the incoming freshman will be better prepared to step in and contribute. In our secondary last year, the lack of depth was disastrous.
My best guess is 7 or 8 wins. However, if we stay healthy at all the critical positions, if we have a higher success rate among freshman then is typical, if turnovers go down, if one or two of our critical rivals have a devastating injury (or crime spree, etc.) we could go as high as 9 wins, even 10 with miracles. If we have terrible injuries ourself, we could go down to six wins. My hope, even if this happens, is that RR still gets another year. I have felt consistently that 2011 will be the critical year.
After two years with RR, I believe more strongly that the program was not in good health when he arrived. I think it is comparing apples to oranges to compare RR's record at WVa and Tulane to UofM. Because those programs didn't have the high expectations present at Michigan, he was able to make a much larger impact in a shorter amount of time.