Benchmark for Successful 2012 season

Submitted by Allin4Blue on July 3rd, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Well the board is slow and there really has not been much talk about football lately so wanted to hear some thoughts about the upcoming season.

What will be the Benchmark for a great season as far as wins are concerned? 9 wins is what most believe to be considered a successful year for Michigan.…

An 11 win season will be tough this year considering the strength of schedule. With the potential to play 5 top 25 teams and 4 of those away from Ann Arbor, losses may be all but inevitable.  What do you believe to be the key factors in a successful season?  How would you rank the importance of goals listed below.

1) Win B1G championship

2) Beat sparty

3) Beat Ohio

4) Beat Alabama

5) Beat Notre Dame

I believe that regardless of wins/losses to our rivals and Alabama, a B1G championship has to be the big goal.  I feel that sparty is a must win game over all of the other games because of obvious implications and protecting our home-field. Beating Ohio in Urban's first year would be huge as well.  Would you be happy if we lost to Sparty, OSU, and Alabama and still won the big ten?



July 3rd, 2012 at 11:54 AM ^

M does not beat State this year, it is nearly irrational to still maintain that Ohio is the more important rivalry at this point.  If they beat M for 5 straight years, still maintaining that Ohio means more goes from self-confident truth to unsupportable elitist rhetoric that acts an excuse as to why State beats our ass every year if anything.  M is a true up and comer right now, with NC aspirations in its sight, but not this year.  This year is the year to win state even if you don't win much else.  That is a really important game this year.


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

I'd upvote you if I could. Beating Sparty is the most important single game objective this year. Over time, of course beating Ohio remains number one. But not this year, not with the way the schedule breaks down, not with the streak Sparty has on us, not when we're on the verge of putting them back in their recruiting place (weeds). I get that Hoke has to say Beat Ohio in his call-out meeting openers. That's the institutional rallying cry. But you've got to take care of the little things in order to have a shot at the big things, and Sparty is a little thing that must be taken care of before it becomes a big thing. Also, our B1G championship goal hinges much more on the Sparty game than any other game this year.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:52 AM ^

Seconded.  I always would rather beat Ohio than Sparty, but this year is different.  We've lost four years in a row to them, which is just unacceptable.  Also (for slightly more selfish reasons), This year being my senior year if we lost to them, we'd be winless against them in my tenure as a student at Michigan.


July 4th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

 Agree initiate Meyer right,… WITH A LOSS! Too much importance is being paid to lil’ brother. Hey, he won a few in off-years, big deal and let it go! It still isn’t the rivalry that OSU is or even ND in my book. They have national implications for recruiting and marketing. (Does anyone really care or even know most years if Okla State beat Oklahoma? But they do know who won the Oklahoma-Texas game and up until recently the Oklahoma-Nebraska game. Same with us.)

 I am not living MI area anymore so look at it more from a national view. (As in which games they will show out here on the west coast. /s)

 So my list is with 9 wins: 1) Beat Ohio, 2) B1G champs, 3) Beat Alabama, 4) Beat ND, 5) Beat MSU


July 3rd, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

Anything wrong with saying that beating Sparty is JUST as important as beating ohio?  I mean, we always put beating ohio as the primary goal, but obviously this year the stars should be aligned to start up the yearly dominance over Sparty and put them back in their place, as previously mentioned, in the weeds. 

Its really easy for us to tell other sparty fans that they're just not the rivalry they want to be, on the same level as ohio.  HOWEVA, its difficult over the span of a 4 yr losing streak.  I cannot and will not put a win over sparty as MORE important than over ohio, but saying that its just as important is fair...especially considering the court of public opinion.  Given that sparty went to the first B1G championship game over UM, I'd say a win over them helps enable one of the other main goals, winning a conference championship.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

Beat Ohio

Beat State

Beat Alabama

Beat Notre Dame


However, if we beat Alabama we should be able to beat ND.  If we beat Bama and lose to ND it might look like a fluke victory (which it might well be...but still. fuck the SEC)


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

I could accept 4 losses, but I want a beatdown on both ohio and sparty.    The future is so shockingly bright that the thought of 4 losses isn't even very painful.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

Beat Sparty (I know, I know - this will be the top for this year ONLY)


Win Big 10

Beat Ohio

Beat Notre Dame

Win at least 9 games

Hang with Bama - winning not a necessity for a successful season.



July 3rd, 2012 at 11:38 AM ^

1. Beat Ohio

2. Beat State

3. Win the B10


5. Alabama and ND


I'll be happy if we take care of the first 3. Beating Alabama and ND, while important, would just be the icing on a very delicious cake.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

1. Have fun

2. Make new friends

3. Learn life lessons

Seriously, though, beating OSU is always the number one priority, and there is no such thing as a truly successful year at Michigan that doesn't include that.  That point made, I want to see Michigan's returning players continue to improve.  This schedule this year is too tough to match last year's record given the loses of Martin, Molk, RVB, Hemingway, etc.  The team is also a couple of years away from not having any holes (knock on wood).  The most we can realistically hope for, in a general sense, is to see evidence of hard work, pride, and great coaching on the field.  Sounds corny, but we havn't always seen that in the last four years (as much as it pains me to say that)...Winning all of the home games is also a realistic goal, IMO, and Michigan should always be a tough out. 

Mr. Rager

July 3rd, 2012 at 11:42 AM ^

To think that the MSU game is a bigger game than THE GAME shows what type of fan you really are, either:

A) New

B) In a family full of sparty's

The Game is The Game, man.  Although the Sparty game is big this year, it will NEVER hold more importance than The Game.  


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Disagree.  The Game is always important.  The Game is huge.  But that doesn't mean that another game on the schedule in a certain year can't reach the same level of importance or even surpass it.  The fact that Ohio is in the other division facilitates this. 

Which is preferable? Beat Ohio and lose to Sparty for 5th year in a row and miss the BiG Championship, or beat Sparty, win BiG, but lose to Ohio.

I'll take the BiG championship and ending a 4 game skid.  Last year, since we had lost so many in a row to Ohio, I'd take the Ohio win over a BiG championship, just to end the skid in The Game.

Unlike Sparty, who obsesses about UM and only UM, I'd like to think that, as big as The Game is, it is not our only obsession.  Championships are.

Mr. Rager

July 3rd, 2012 at 1:46 PM ^

I follow your first two paragraphs but the last two are much weaker arguments.

Your first two paragraphs are also based on the assumption that "If Sparty beats us, that means they are good enough to not lose more than 1 B1G game, and represent our division in the Championship".  While that is a valid assumption, that is not 100% fact.

The game is the game and that will never change.   If both games were in Ann Arbor this year - The Game would have much higher ticket prices on the secondary market - because more people care about that game than Sparty.  



July 3rd, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

Disagree with your disagreement.  Winning The Game is the obsession.  Saying that "it is not our only obsession" is absurd  - look up the meaning of "obse4ssion" before arguing for multiple obsessions.

The Big Ten title is goal #1 for the team, and so it is goal #1 for me as well.  If we can do that and beat Sparty as well, then fine.  If we have to lose to Sparty to win the Big Ten, then I'll take that.  If the choice comes down to winning the Big Ten and then either beating Sparty or Ohio, I'll take beating Ohio.

The only reason I even care all that much about the MSU game is because it is part of the path to the Big Ten Championship.  If I lived in Michigan, I might care more (though I grew up there and didn't care much then, either).


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

9 regular season wins is a good benchmark. 8-4 with a bowl win over a crummy team would be a bit of a disappointment. I agree that of the 5 goals you listed, winning the conference is most important but I would change the order of the games. If I could guarantee a win in just one of those, I would pick Alabama because beating them would make the whole country sit up and take notice, and possibly be a big boost to our national recruiting, especially in the south. Next I would pick OSU only because it's Meyer's first year and we don't want him to pick up the "inevitable winner" aura that Tressel had. Next, MSU because of the losing streak although we are already outrecruiting them and should be getting the better of them in a year or two in any case. Losing on the road to ND would not be a big deal at this point unless it's a blowout.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

In order of importance

Beat Ohio

Beat Sparty

Beat Nebraska

Beat all other Legend division opponents

Beat Notre Dame and Alabama.


I think that whoever wins the game against State will be representing the Legends in Indy.  


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:45 AM ^

In the spirit of considering a B1G championship the goal of the season, the Michigan State game is pretty obviously the most important this year. It's at home and a win puts us in great position in our division, not to mention the need to end this unprecedented 4-year run of theirs. I don't think Iowa or Nebraska will be able to get up to 6 or 7 B1G wins to challenge for the division, so the head-to-head tiebraker between us and Sparty may very well come into play.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Beat Sparty far and away would be my #1 hope this season. I f-ing hate those bastards. /jk

The schedule is rediculously hard and I think 9 wins will be difficult but doable. 

I can't wait!


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

I really want Denard to go out on a high note his senior year.

Winning at ND, MSU and at Ohio would be a great storybook ending for that kid.




July 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

I have to put beating sparty at #1

Winning the B1G should be #1 but I want so bad to beat sparty (this year only) - #2

Then you have to beat your arch rival - OSU #3

Then setting the tone for the season by having a good showing at Jerryworld being #4

ND #5 - to hell with Notre Dame



July 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

IMO all the games are winnable save Alabama. We lose 1 B1G game while beating Sparty and Ohio. Therefore we make it to 10-2. Win the B1G and lose a close BCS game.

11-3. Not to shabby.


July 3rd, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

I think beating Ohio is bigger than beating MSU because beating Ohio will cement the fact that Michigan is atop the Big Ten. If MSU beats us, nothing will happen. No one takes MSU seriously outside of MSU and if they beat us...they'll still only get a lot of 3* recruits from the midwest and they'll continue to be infinitely annoying.

If Ohio beats us, then everyone will declare Urban the King Of The Big Ten and will declare us to be second rate to them and that will probably have a large effect on our national perception for the next few years

So always, beat Ohio. (But shutting State up would sure be nice too)


July 3rd, 2012 at 8:01 PM ^

It is not set in stone that M>Sparty in football. 4 years is a long time. It's already historically significant. If we want to keep these four years a historically significant anomaly rather than a historically significant turning of the tide, we need to beat Sparty. People who take things for granted because "that's the way it's always been" end up getting crushed. Despite the doucheness, Dantonio is a very good football coach. He's not as good as Hoke, and I do think he'll eventually leave MSU as a loser in this rivalry. But it's not a given, and if we lose this year, that will give Dantonio a recruiting boost, and that in turn will keep him around for at least a few more years, during which anything can happen.

Urban, on the other hand, is going to struggle in his first year in the B1G, just like Pelini and Paterno before him in their first years. Remember last year pre-season there were many (a plurality of the media, it seemed to me) who picked Nebraska to win or at least be in the B1G championship. This year, if not for the ban, I'm sure they'd be doing the same thing with Ohio. But they won't/wouldn't come close. Even if he does beat us, the B1G championship will be far more influenced by the M-Sparty game.


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

Prioritizing the division would be my approach on this topic, because as Hoke emphasizes--the Big Ten title is THE GOAL for every season.  We don't get to the BTCG w/o beating Sparty this year in 2012.  I suppose beating Nebraska is important by the logic also, but I'm cautiously optimistic (based on the suprising way in which we won that game in 2011) about the game there.

In the more long-term future, I think Hoke will field a much more dominant team over Sparty.  When we start to regularly win the division, I'll probably put tOSU higher. Until that time, my two cents on 2012 priorities are:

Big Ten title

Beat Sparty

Beat Nebraska

Beat tOSU (also, isn't Ohio banned from the BTCG this season?)

 Beat ND

Beat Alabama


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

Win the B1G Championship. A loss to Ohio is never savory, but I think if you ask Hoke, he'll say winning the B1G is always priority number one. It's very concievable that we could lose to 'bama and ND, beat Sparty, lose to Ohio, and find ourselves in the B1G against Penn State or Wisconsin (head to head win v Sparty giving us the Legends division edge). Win that and we'd be 10-3 and headed to the Rose bowl. 

That's a far more likely scenario than beating Ohio and losing to Sparty, and I'd lock it in today if I could.


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

I would put "Beat Nebraska" on the list. I see Nebraska becoming our #2 conference rival in the coming years behind OSU. They're a comparable program to us in terms of success, prestige, the type of players they recruit, etc., and the fact that we're in the same division is huge, which isn't the case with OSU. I envision many UM-Nebraska battles for the legends division over the course of the next decade.


July 3rd, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

MSU will forever be Michigan's second biggest non-conference rival.  It is even ranked as the number 2 biggest rivalry in the B1G according to the BTN.  Our fans just don't get along.  And lets be honest, (hate saying this) Dantonio appears to be building a consistant solid program up there in East Lansing.  While I expect a drop in level of play for MSU in the near future with Hoke and Meyer cleaning up in recruiting, he has just put together back to back solid seasons for MSU.  Something a Sparty coach hasn't done for decades.