The 2013 season, for all intents and purposes, can be no more than simply a failure based on the standard set by Brady Hoke on his first day on the job. For Michigan Football, anything less than a Big Ten championship is unacceptable. Yet here we are, 4 weeks left to play and pretty much a zero percent chance at winning the final year of the Legends division. Michigan fans have bought into that idea, so it stands a reason why the overall mood of the fan base has been steadily plummeting since Saturday evening.
I've always been a bit of an optimist when it comes to Michigan Football. Despite the frustration of 3 years of watching someone else play for the Big Ten title, I still like to think that the program is not a "failure", at least not in the true sense of the word. But while I do think the program is going in the right direction with Hoke, I'll admit that it is difficult to see this coaching staff and this program as a whole struggle to keep up with the Joneses lately.
If you've spent any time on the internet or listening to radio shows the last couple of days, you know what the temperature of the fan base is right now. Everyone is pissed. And if their not pissed right now, it's probably because they're just tired of being pissed so many times before.
Fire Hoke. Fire Borges. Fire Funk. Fire everything!
I've watched Michigan Football through my blogger/media lens for the last 7 seasons. I've witnessed the fall of the Carr regime, a fumbled coaching search, the very short rise and dramatic implosion of the Rodriguez Experiment, another coaching search, and the first 3 years of the Great Hoke Redemption. Michigan fans desperately want to win. They want to cheer on a winner and celebrate all the glory that goes with it. We've become accustomed to a certain standard of living these last few decades. We want it back. We don't want to wait for it...we want it back right now.
But that's not how it works. This going to take some time. But it's coming. I swear to you it's coming.
Winning a lot is incredibly hard. As in, most programs with good players and good coaches, can't do it. Our vision gets clouded because all we see is Ohio State winning all of the time. And we're jealous...let's face it. Not of their program, of course, but the winning. All of the winning.
Brady Hoke has energized this program in a way that was so desperately needed when he arrived in 2011. He rejuvenated the recruiting trail and has consistently signed top classes in each of his first 3 years (even though in his first class, he only had 3 weeks to salvage something respectable...which he did). At some point very soon, those classes will start to pay off in the win column. But the truth is, these kids are still pretty young. Rich Rodriguez basically recruited 1 offensive lineman in his last 2 years at Michigan. That alone can serve as a reason why Michigan has lost twice this season. The talent is there, but it's too young. Too raw.
There's not enough upperclass talent/leadership like there should be at a place like Michigan. We saw/felt it after the Akron scare in week 3. We saw it a little bit more at UConn and then Penn State. And the nail was driven home against Michigan State. Good teams win most of their games...like Michigan does. Great teams win most of their games on the road. Great teams always have great leadership from their upperclassmen.
The quote in the video at the beginning of this post a rather well-known one. Essentially, it means that when the fall is all that's left, how a man falls matters a great deal. Because frankly, what else is there?
It's a metaphor of course. I like metaphors.
But it really just comes down to choice. As fans, we can pack it and say "oh well", or show up Saturday and get loud. I get it, it sucks. It's tough to know that Michigan won't have a shot at a Big Ten championship this season. I do. But I also know that how Team 134 finishes, will have a whole lot to do with how Team 135 begins.
It's a never-ending cycle...which is why I have a little bit of a problem of labeling any season a failure, regardless of whether Michigan is in the Big Ten title hunt or not. Michigan will learn from their losses this year. And before you know it, the bulk of the talent on this team that are underclassmen and inexperienced...will be upperclassmen and very experienced. All things considered, being 6-2 with a shot of going 10-2 isn't the end of the world most of the internet would have you believe.
It's still possible to have a successful 2013...for both players and fans. But really, it all comes down to choice. And if you need some extra incentive, there's one major shot at redemption left on the schedule...on November 30th.