When do we start counting?

Submitted by Blazefire on October 4th, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Does anybody remember when Michigan was unquestionably good? When a fast start didn't lead to questions of when we would fail, but how long we would succeed? It was not that long ago. Why, in 2006, on a different forum I was a member of, started creating a record signature image at 3-0, fully expecting to see it reach at least 9-0 or 10-0 before I had to add a 1 to the other column. And guess what? It got to 11-0 before I had to do so!

It has only been three full seasons since then. And now, like then, we are undefeated, and my signature should read 5-0. But I won't do it. I'm afraid to jinx it. It's like uttering anything that even sounds like no-hitter before the 7th inning of a baseball game. You just don't do it. But in 2006, I wasn't afraid to do it.

So my question is, when can we all stop holding our collective breaths, and finally begin to believe that Michigan is no longer pretending, but is once again Michigan and can be reasonably assumed to have a good, if not great chance to win any game on the schedule?

Comments

uniqenam

October 4th, 2010 at 8:46 AM ^

I really think that if we beat MSU, we can start actually believing that an undefeated season is possible (not necessarily likely, but possible).

mgoblue0970

October 4th, 2010 at 10:33 AM ^

agreed... we can go over all the scenarios and going undefeated is certainly possible.  It give us pause though because we know how horrid the defense is.  But Michigan could certainly go 42 - 35 the rest of the way.

The Rose Bowl would certainly be a nice surprise (and reward)... I cannot see the pollsters voting Michigan any higher with a defense ranked not only at the bottom of the conference but at the bottom of all of 1-A football.

imdeng

October 4th, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

Greatness is not permanent (ask the Romans, English, Mugals...) - everything sooner or later reaches a lean time. What matters then is whether you have the institutional strength to pull yourself out of the hole you are in. Are you willing to make the needed changes and go through the associated pain so as to emerge better - or - are you in favor of status quo - steady decline/stagnation.

If you lost faith in Michigan, that is a shortcoming of your convictions. What you really need to ask is: is the University, the Institution, as strong as it always was. Will the administration put the resources behind the program for the long term. Do we have capable people in decision making ranks. I think the answer to all the questions is yes - so there is really nothing to worry about - let the storm pass and let our inherent strengths assert themselves.

We are going through a transition and I am convinced that it was a required and beneficial one. We will come out of it stronger. However, transitions take time - but we can already see the light at the end of the tunnel (maturity of the offense) - so sit back, and enjoy the ride.

PeterKlima

October 4th, 2010 at 8:56 AM ^

I don't remember it the same way as you. Aside from the anomoly of 2006, the team used to always lose a game in September. The counting toward an undefeated season never begun with those teams....

tlh908

October 4th, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

At least it gave us something to work towards, lose a game early and then claw back up in the polls until almost reaching the top.  Back then losing one game early was better since you had time to make it up in the polls.

st barth

October 4th, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

5-0 for Michigan football actually seems pretty special to me.  It used to always feel like we'd open the season with either a loss to Notre Dame or in a game out west against the Pac Ten.

From my perspective, it seemed like Michigan football was always the highest ranked team with however many losses we had.   That is, if we had one loss we might be ranked  #8 but with seven undefeated team in front of us.  Or if we had two losses them maybe we were #15 but everybody in front would have at most one loss.  And so on...

saveferris

October 4th, 2010 at 9:02 AM ^

So my question is, when can we all stop holding our collective breaths, and finally begin to believe that Michigan is no longer pretending, but is once again Michigan and can be reasonably assumed to have a good, if not great chance to win any game on the schedule?

When Woolfolk's ankle heals, Cullen Christian replaces JT Floyd, Thomas Gordon is playing a position suited to his skills, and somebody finally steps up to dominate the MLB position.  Until then, we have a good chance to beat everybody we face, but the uncertainty level will remain high each week.

The 2010 season has started about as good as anyone could have hoped, let's enjoy the ride.

Mr. Robot

October 4th, 2010 at 9:14 AM ^

If we beat MSU and Iowa, I will start to get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I felt like Indiana-MSU-Iowa was going to be an upward test climb, and if we reach the top of it undefeated still, the PSU-Illinois-Purdue slope down the other side looks mighty nice. Nice enough that I would be confident that we get to Wisconsin 10-0. Now once we get to Wisconsin, I will feel satisfied that our coaching staff is here to stay and that we are on the verge of competeing every year for the Big Ten and even the national championship every year once again, regardless of what happens the rest of the year. My thoughts on Wisconsin will depend on how they do up until then.

If we actually do make it to 11-0, then look out Ohio State. Michigan is back, so get out of dour way because we're coming through.

oakapple

October 4th, 2010 at 9:18 AM ^

Sure, I’m happy about 5–0. What Michigan fan wouldn’t be? But Michigan still has four remaining games on its schedule that are basically toss-ups (MSU, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin), and the Wolverines will likely be a huge underdog to Ohio State. In addition, UMass and Indiana proved that Michigan’s defense can keep just about any opponent in the game.

I don’t expect a repeat of last year’s collapse, but defense and special teams will probably lose some games this year, and Michigan is decidedly vulnerable if Denard goes down, which we have seen is distinctly possible.

acs236

October 4th, 2010 at 9:19 AM ^

I agree with the other posters who say that the lack of comfort is because of the defense.  Against teams with a pulse, Michigan will be walking on a razor's edge all year.  There is just so little margin for error on offense.  Amazingly, the defense seems to step up when the offense is sputtering, but what happens if Michigan gets behind by a score and needs the defense to make a few stops.   The worst part is that--right now--I don't see how it's going to get better.

Webber's Pimp

October 4th, 2010 at 9:22 AM ^

The answer to your question is: As soon as we bring in enough quality personel on defense. This is a below average Michigan defense from a talent standpoint. There's not DC out there who can change that.

I've been a Michigan fan for about 35 years now and I can tell you this is the most exciting offense I've ever seen wearing the Maize and Blue. I would hope that the haters out there give Rich Rod credit where credit is due. We're very close now...

Blazefire

October 4th, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

I would hope that the haters out there give Rich Rod credit where credit is due. We're very close now...

That much is for sure. At this point, I sincerely hope that NOBODY would be calling for Rodriguez' job anymore, because seriously... do you really want to give up this O? I would sooner give up my left nut.

saveferris

October 4th, 2010 at 9:54 AM ^

At this point, I sincerely hope that NOBODY would be calling for Rodriguez' job anymore, because seriously...

I want to believe that's true, but if we lose to the Spartans this weekend, the doubters and haters will be out in full force.  Win this game and so much of the bullshit of the past two years (Rich Rod runs gimmick offense, won't compete against tough Big 10 defenses, Dantonio is building the better program, etc...) goes away.  Don't get me wrong, I want to see Rich back for Year Four and beyond, but losing Saturday will just give the guys invested in negative pressing Michigan more traction.

What I'm really waiting on is for Brandon to exercise his pimp hand and give Coach Rodriguez a vote of confidence by extending his contract another 2-3 years.  Let's turn down the gas to the "hot seat" and get all of our fence-sitting recruits a reason to jump off and commit.

M-Wolverine

October 4th, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

Bowl eligible, not setting up possibly losing two in a row, still have Ill and Indy for 7 and 8, with a PSU/Wisconsin/Iowa set up for a possible upset 9, and win two in a row in rivalry games, and turn the incessant MSU press in the state. (The Freep won't suddenly love us, but it'll be hard to say MSU owns the state if they haven't even won the last game).

There are a lot of scenarios that losing to MSU is highly painful, but survivable....but the quickest roads to quieting the masses all start with beating MSU.

Kilgore Trout

October 4th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

While I agree this offense is ridiculous and amazing to watch, they still need to win.  The defense was bad in '08 and is getting worse by the year.  There are two sides of the ball.  If Rodriguez can't show improvement on defense and UM continually loses 4-5 games a year because of a terrible defense, I wouldn't be satisfied.

The team is at a great place at this time, but there are still 7 games to go.  They've won all the games they won last year, now let's see that next step before we get too far ahead of ourselves.

Blazefire

October 4th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

simply because Rodriguez D's at WVU were generally exceptional. The fact that his offense has come through even better here than it did at WVU just shows me he knows what he's doing. When we get the guys on D, that side of the ball will have success, too.

saveferris

October 4th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

The deficiencies on defense and the root cause behind them have been covered ad nauseam on here by Misopogon and others.  The relevant question on this point though is whether we are getting the most out of what we have right now, and I think the answer to that is "yes".  That's patently unsatisfying, I realize.  I was watching the game on Saturday desperately wishing that GERG would blitz a fourth or fifth guy and sadly resigned to knowing why he couldn't.  Our personnel are dictating how we play defense this year.  When the personnel is better, the performance of the defense will elevate.  It's all up to whether you believe Rich Rod and his staff can scout and recruit defensive talent.  Craig Roh, Carvin Johnson, and Cullen Christian look like wins.  Turner and Vlad were not.  I choose to believe they will get the players, but it can't happen overnight.

Firstbase

October 4th, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

...is relative to how good or bad the competition is. Right now, there's more parity in B10 and D1 football (reference:  most of the games Saturday) than I can recall. 

The line between extreme success and utter failure this year will be razor thin, and lucky bounces and turnovers will be the difference makers, I think.

Dix

October 4th, 2010 at 9:34 AM ^

I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff at the moment.  I think that when we unquestionably have an overall personnel advantage over our opponent, I will be very confident that we will win.

In past years, even when we had better players, I was always worried that we would blow a close game to an inferior opponent.  Now, if we play an inferior opponent I think we'll destroy them as we should. 

The Punisher

October 4th, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

MSU will be huge. But even a win against them could be seen as getting up for a big rival.

If we beat Iowa also, back-to-back wins will get us national recognition and the opportunity to go 11-0 into OSU.

I dont see us beating Iowa, but if we do, that is when I will get comfortable.

IPKarma

October 4th, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

with the D and personell we have.  They are getting better, and will continue to do so.  Next two games are huge - after that you can put 7-0 in your signature.

cjm

October 4th, 2010 at 9:54 AM ^

I find it humorous how many of my friends (non michigan fans) are already picking us to beat OSU and win the Big Ten, THIS YEAR. All the while I hold my breath and seem a little less optimistic. They can compete with anyone but I just can't let myself get mymhopes up yet.

StephenRKass

October 4th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

I think in 2011 we have a good defense. This will be sufficient to compete in virtually every game, because of our explosive  offense.

In 2012, we have a Michigan defense. In combination with our lethal offense, we are competing at the highest levels, and for the MNC.

As an aside, I have talked to OSU students, and they are concerned. Tressel ball has a definite ceiling, and once Michigan is clicking on all cylinders, they won't be able to beat us.

bronxblue

October 4th, 2010 at 11:49 AM ^

I think the casual fans will believe when this team becomes bowl eligible.  Go 6-0 and beat State, and UM is back in most people's eyes.  Also, my sense is that the team will also relax because this season won't be viewed like last year, RR will have some job security (b/c this team is not going to lose the rest of the B10 slate and a bowl game), and a couple of big-name recruits could fall to UM.