Expectations have skyrocketed really quickly

Submitted by Amaizing Blue on January 8th, 2015 at 8:19 AM

I am totally OK with this, BTW.  It just struck me as I was going through a couple of coaching staff threads that so far, Harbaugh is exceeding even our most unrealistic expectations.  When I look back two weeks (!) and how I was feeling then, and what people were saying...what's happened since is truly unbelievable. 


1.  Harbaugh said yes.

2.  Our program's perception among recruits, analysts, fans, etc. has undergone a complete turnaround.  Without playing a game-hell, without having a practice-the perception is that Michigan is back, and a force to be reckoned with.

3.  We are already getting spoiled, to the point where a poster commented that JH "Finally" is completing his staff.  Dude, it's been 10 days, and he's put together an all-star group that I have to believe is one of the best in CFB.  

4.  I wake up every morning and say "Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh"...and smile.


I knew if he came here, it was going to be great.  Just didn't realize it would be this great.  I know, we haven't won a game yet.  I know, only 6 recruits signed for this year.  Don't care, so looking forward to watching this team play and once again arranging my other life commitments around Michigan football games rather than watching 5 minutes and then checking the score 3 hours later.



January 8th, 2015 at 8:24 AM ^

We are kind of blessed for the next three years. This year, the team may not win any trophies, but they'll fight. And for that reason, Saturday will be fun again. And 2016, I really feel we'll be competing for the big ten, and results in November games will matter again for the first time in five years, and in 2017, I think we are watching on Tuesday nights to see if we show up in that little bracket on a weekly basis.

Either way, win or lose, Michigan fans will always bitch and moan. At least now, we get to bitch and moan about competent football.

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January 8th, 2015 at 8:44 AM ^

"Either way, win or lose, Michigan fans will always bitch and moan. At least now, we get to bitch and moan about competent football."

Why do people always say this, as if we have had a bunch of great football teams that we have still bitched about over the past decade?  Since this blog came into existence, we have gone 7-21 against MSU and OSU + bowl games.  In that time, we have had three losing seasons versus two double digit win seasons, the most embarrassing loss in the history of college football, and countless games where we have been run off the rield by 20+ points.  As fans we have been miserable and bitchy with good reason. 


January 8th, 2015 at 9:58 AM ^

Bama fans want to fire Nick Saban everytime he loses. Richrod sucked. Brady sucked. Brandon sucked. Were any of those firings unjustified?

And the "4 coaches in 8 seasons" is misleading. Lloyd retired and we got Harbaugh. We've really only had two failures / firings


January 8th, 2015 at 10:21 AM ^

I mean, one of those four coaches retired of his own choosing, and he was largely given strong support from the fanbase despite some disappointing results in the last 6 years of his career.  He was given a huge cheer at the Illinois basketball game when Harbaugh was introduced.  You think a school like OSU would give a coach like Cooper (whose results are pretty comperable to Lloyd's) a cheer like that?

Two of the four were massive failures for a school of almost any standard of athletic success.  I think not giving RR a fourth year is perhaps the best example of the fanbase not being forgiving, and a decent chunk of the fanbase vigorously supported him for that fourth year.

The fourth coach you refer to is now being hailed as the savior himself, and he'll be given an incredibly long leash, even if results don't come immediately.  

So yeah, I think we're pretty forgiving.


January 8th, 2015 at 11:06 AM ^

Carr went 122-40 (75% winning percentage).  Yeah, he probably should have been closer to 80%, but after Rich Rod and Hoke, you have to admit that you have to be a good coach to win.  Lloyd  was in the top 10  five times out of twelve years and was in the top 20 every year but 2005.  He also won us a national championship.   Lloyd bashing put us in this mess.  


John cooper was 111-43-4 at Ohio State.  Not as good as Lloyd, but he had some amazing teams including three one loss teams.  The Eddie George team was insanely good and other than Biakabatuka having one of the best single game performances in the history of college football.  After our game they fell apart against Tennessee in their bowl game because they were still having Touchdown Tim flashbacks.  

Unfortunately Cooper had some lousy seasons at the beginning of his OSU career and the last two seasons.  


January 8th, 2015 at 10:35 AM ^

I've been following Michigan football since 1982.  And yes, we bitched about the teams even when they were good.

We bitched about Bo and his 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense and his Bowl record.  We bitched about Mo and his consecutive 4-loss seasons.  We even bitched when he went undefeated, but had 3 "bad" ties.  We bitched about Lloyd and his punting on the opponents 36 yard line and "The Year of Infinite Pain" (7-5 *snort*).

Rich people problems.

II's just human nature to bitch.  Even Alabama fans do it, and that was before they had to watch the National Championship games on TV like everyone else.

Take it with a grain of salt, weed out what's legit, and ignore most of it.


January 8th, 2015 at 10:56 AM ^

I don't feel like most of those examples are just finding excuses to bitch though.  Those 8-4 Moeller seasons were really disappointing and it looked for all the world like he had the program headed in the wrong direction.  Those 1993 and 1994 teams had national championship talent and they were very poorly coached.  Bo's tendency to choke away two games a year with terrible game management, stubbornness, and that infuriating "bend but don't break" defense was also really frustrating in the moment.  My memory of Bo starts in the early 80s, when he averaged about 3 losses per year.  That was back when we played tough OOC schedules but it was also back before the 85 scholarship limit made teams like NW and Wisconsin competitive.  You are right that people bitched after the losses in that era but there was good reason to do so.  With that said, I think that people always maintained their perspective that Bo was a great coach that we could trust to be in the race for the Big Ten almost every year.  If Harbaugh goes 12-1 next year with a close loss to OSU, I don't think people will bitch about that. 

We bitched about Lloyd punting from the 36 yard line because it was a terrible decision that cost us a big win in 2005.  We have since learned that 7-5 is not the bottom, but I don't think that makes the complaints about that season  less valid.

Mmmm Hmmm

January 8th, 2015 at 8:25 AM ^

Even when mulling a purchase from Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork, I am guessing fans tend to be optimistic and hopeful when they see their team is improving. When it happens so rapidly with one event (IT'S HAPPENING!!!!), expectations get a bit out of whack and fan optimism can eventually breed unrealistic expectations (every five-star recruit will flip to Michigan!!! Top assistants will walk to Ann Arbor!!!) nevertheless, even if the unrealistic expectations eventually become too unrealistic to lead anywhere but disappointment, by that time hopefully Harbaugh will have won some games--i.e. produced exactly the result he was hired for..

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January 8th, 2015 at 8:26 AM ^

When a man emerges from the desert after a long period, he is naturally enthusiastic about that first glass of cool water.

The last 7 years is the desert, Harbaugh is our tall glass of water.

His Dudeness

January 8th, 2015 at 8:30 AM ^

My expectations are still at 8 wins next season.

New OC, new DC, new QB. I think 8 wins is kind of optimistic really.

I just want to see signs of the players getting better and the team moving upward.


January 8th, 2015 at 9:17 AM ^

Very informative diaries by WMUKirk.  As well as he analized those 2 games, I cannot wait until part 3, 4, 5, 6 and infinity.  I think I've read them both twice.  Probably will read them again soon.  Dude knows his defensive football.  I wonder if he knows offense as well.  I'd like to see him so the same for Harbaugh/Drevno offenses.

Harbaugh should hire him as a GA.  I kid, I kid....but seriously.

Sauce Castillo

January 8th, 2015 at 8:36 AM ^

I think 8 wins at the least.  I obviously don't want to make guesses at how far Harbaugh can take us in year one but history has shown he's good for at least a 3 win improvement in year 1.  Why are we to think that should be any different especially with as many returning starters and in the 2 deep.  And the fact we will actually have a coaching advantage heading into games.


January 8th, 2015 at 8:49 AM ^

"Not so fast my friend..."  I'll agree that the bowl season has proved that the B1G isn't as bad as everyone thought it was three months ago and the ESSS EEE SEEE isn't as good as everyone thought they were.  The conf has gotten better, but the 'good' that we are looking for is still a few years away, I think.  The kind of change and dominance over OOC opponents we should be enjoying conference wide takes time.


January 8th, 2015 at 8:47 AM ^

Having returning starters is great, the problem is we don't have a returning starter in the most important position on the field, QB.  I mean maybe JH can turn Morris into a QB again, or maybe Malzone has what it takes to step in as a freshman, either way it's going to be extremely hard to win 8+ with our current QB situation unless there is vast improvement over what we have seen so far.  JH is a great coach, but he's not a miracle worker.


January 8th, 2015 at 9:28 AM ^

Morris showed his talent in his first bowl appearance. Other than a few freshman blunders he showed the cannon arm and has good footwork/scramble ability. He's no Harbaugh yet, but a guy like Jim will take QB play very personally and you will see a DRAMATIC performance difference in my opinion...I would gues qb will have the biggest change of all positions year one.


January 8th, 2015 at 10:43 AM ^

He has all the physical tools.  He has a great arm, and his mobility is highly underrated.

He weakness is in his head.  Harbaugh can certainly help there.  

Is it too late?  Who knows?  But if you were looking for a situation where everything that could be done to improve Morris is being done, you've got it now.

Expect no miracles at the start of the season.  But we'll know by November if Morris is on the trajectory to be the answer.

Sauce Castillo

January 8th, 2015 at 10:06 AM ^

I keep hearing this argument from people, and if our coach were just about anyone else I'd agree, but look at what Harbaugh has done with QB's when he's gone to a new program, especially the 49ers and Alex Smith.  He instills a confidence in QBs and puts them in situations to succeed.  Obviously we don’t know if this will happen immediately with our QBs or how it will translate but at this point what has he done to make us think it won’t be the same way.


January 8th, 2015 at 8:40 AM ^

If you consider that not a single down of football has been played, the upgrade in HC and staff could translate to 3 more wins.  I'd say that's a conservative and realistic expectation at this very moment.  Things can change between now and the start of the season and/or three to four games into the season which is typically when expectations based on tangible evidence evolve. 

The Baughz

January 8th, 2015 at 10:23 AM ^

I think 8 wins is good estimate. Even though it's a favorbale schedule, there is still going to be a huge transition taking place. One thing we know for sure, is that Harbaugh will weed out the guys who are not going to give maximum effort at all times. One of the most disappointing things the last couple of years was seeing guys not give a 100%. 


January 8th, 2015 at 8:41 AM ^

Your crazy, we are goimg to compete for the playoffs without Hogan. Our offense is going to be so basic it will be glorious. I wish we still had a Damon's with the QB1 game. Run left Run right Run Middle, first down, and repeat. My 2 year daughter will be able to call the plays before they happen, and defenses won't be able to do anything about it.


January 8th, 2015 at 8:45 AM ^

actually what i love about this offense is that it is so simple, yet so complicated.


it is simple at its core. we will run power/iso, inside/outside zone, counter....draw, playaction, base passes...


pretty simple stuff..


but it will be run out of so many different formations with so much shifting and motion that will make it so much more difficult to defend..


January 8th, 2015 at 9:16 AM ^

Do you find heart attacks serious?

I don't care what the play is. Cole isn't Jake Long, but the Oline ended the year pretty Fing good. Plus most defenses have a pretty good idea what an offense is going to run because of down and distance. So when an O is good they run whatever play they want and still beat the D.


January 8th, 2015 at 9:22 AM ^

That's just not true.  Regardless of talent level, you have an advantage if the opponent doesn't know what's coming.  That's why Harbuagh, and every other coach at every level of football, runs play action, counters, draws, etc.

Plays are precious things in football.  You only get 70ish of them per game.  Why would you want to throw one away at the start of the game by letting the defense know what play you're going to run?


January 8th, 2015 at 9:33 AM ^

perfect execution is is important if not more important than at times even fooling yourself with trickeration. Adrian High used to run such a vanilla offense you'd swear the qb was telling you the play verbally presnap. Yet they executed blocks and traps so well and hit the holes with such precision they were often unstoppable. Years after its inception we used the a
Delaware wing T. kids all ran to the same hole every play you just had to figure out which one had the ball by the time it went past you. Averaged 49 points a game...KISS...keep it simple stupid.


January 8th, 2015 at 9:40 AM ^

I never said execution wasn't important.  Of course it is.  But you want to execute AND be unpredictable--being unpredictable makes execution easier by slowing the defense down.  I mean, it's right there in your post when you talk about trap blocking--the point of a trap block is to get a guy out of position by initially leaving him unblocked and then block him with a player he's not expecting.

That's why I think telegraphing the first play of the game is a bad idea.