At Michigan, the expectation for a successful season is always competing for the Big Ten Championship, participate in Rose Bowls (and winning them, hopefully), and beating Ohio State. Some unreasonable Michigan fans expect Michigan to go 12-0 every season, running the likes of Alabama out of the stadium, and dominate Ohio State every year. Though these thoughts make them all warm and fuzzy inside, especially beating Ohio State, it’s not just realistic.
So, with the foundation that Brady Hoke is laying, when does everything combine to make Michigan yearly contenders for National Championships, no-brainer selections to be conference champs, and victors over Ohio State more than every once in awhile? When does it all mesh?
This isn’t an open blast to Hoke and what he has done so far at Michigan. After experiencing the Rich Rodriguez experiment go awry, Hoke has done a wonderful job picking up the pieces and changing the public mindset of laughing stock, to recovering powerhouse. Michigan football is what it is, you can’t deny it.
When does the proverbial “Honeymoon Period” end? Or does it ever end? Sure, beating Ohio State your first year as head coach en route to a 11-2 season and BCS victory surely cements your place amongst the good graces of your superiors, but when does the success of conference championships and beyond start to become a necessity to keep those good graces?
Personally, I give Hoke one more offseason to pull together another stellar recruiting class (which, by all means, sure looks like it will happen) and get “his guys” into the fold before I can really judge the Michigan football product Hoke and his excellent staff of coaches will bring to the table. It’s obvious that Ohio State will be a huge roadblock and damper on these big plans each year. But, no matter how much they reload, Michigan needs to beat them. Even if it seems impossible, find a way. Urban Meyer will have his Buckeyes ready every year, and I expect them to compete amongst the juggernauts in college football every season, much like Michigan will. No matter how lofty the chances may be, Michigan needs to start pulling together some wins against Ohio State.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a plea for Michigan fans to start judging Hoke’s performance. I’m also not calling for Hoke’s head if he does not succeed. I am merely discussing timelines as to when Michigan fans should expect Big Ten Championships (realistically) and see them win it like years of old.
Eight or nine win seasons won’t cut it. The days of Lloyd ball are long gone, and I expect big things to come for the Wolverines. Only time will tell if Michigan pulls it all together and returns to it’s rightful place as a football powerhouse, just like Ohio State already has. Michigan and Ohio State together again fighting for national prominence, like the good old days. Just how it should be, and how it always should be until the end of time.