On expectations...

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On expectations... Tuesday, May 06, 2014 11:56 AM (permalink)
So catching up on threads (I know it's been a while since I've been posting regularly), there seems to be this trend regarding expectations and a "HOW DARE WE" type of attitude that I simply do not understand.  It becomes unendingly tiresome to try to discuss issues on the team and the upcoming season only to have to wade into the same back and forth about how we have become "happy" with mediocrity because we don't "expect" X number of wins from this program and that Hoke should be fired with anything less than X.  I find few things more frustrating than debating with someone who wants the same thing we all do but refuses to acknowledges factors and circumstances of the situation that affect the way things occur.  We all want Michigan to win, lots, tons even, we are Michigan fans.  Losing sucks, it's frustrating, it's emotionally tiring.  I think we can all agree on that.  So why is it that every discussion of the offense, the defense, and the upcoming season always ends up centering on some debate regarding what "proper" expectations are because "This is Michigan"?
In essence, here's my stance:
1. We were in a cavernous hole from a program standpoint when we hired Hoke.  There are a great deal of metrics available that will make this point for me, so I will save space by not pasting them all here.  Quick easy one?  Take a look at the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes and see how many of those folks are on the roster still or have contributed meaningful time...
2. Progress matters, I don't think firing someone who's showing momentum for the program makes any sense, period.  This staff took over a defense that was one of the worst in history and made it a top 20 unit, then in 2012 turned it into a top 15 unit.  It took a step back last year to 41st with no presence on the defensive line and handcuffed to the offense that we all saw, but to think that because of the team's record that this team isn't making steps is just wrong.  Yes the offense was catastrophic last year.  If we wade through game threads I will guarantee that the "fire Borges" quotient of each loss was off the charts... we fired Borges, and yet the same people who clamoring for him to go act as if literally nothing has been done with this football team for three years except a staff intent on driving it into the ground.  I do not understand this view.
3. Strictly measuring by rivals makes no sense.  Yes I want to beat Ohio and Sparty and Notre Dame, etc.  Newsflash, they've been better football teams than us recently.  Ohio is coming off a 24 game winning streak.  Michigan State just won the Rose Bowl.  While I cheer my tail off for my team, objectively, it's not all that hard to take a look at our roster and where we are at then compare it to their rosters and understand why we've struggled over the past several years against these programs, again, see point #1.  Hoke is 2-4 against Sparty and Ohio, 4-5 when you toss in ND.  Not exactly the burning tire-fire that many proclaim given the situation of the program, which leads me to:
4. There needs to be an immediate realization of exactly where this program stands right now.  I'm as much of an enthusiast for the storied tradition and past glories and success of this program as anyone I assure you, but the simple fact is we are not those football teams right now, the "this is Michigan" argument doesn't mean JACK on the football field.  It takes more than just a coaching change to return to that level, it takes a process, it takes years of recruiting and development.  More on this in a minute.
5. Do NOT confuse "realistic expectations" with "pleased with reality as it stands today".  This is it in a nutshell.  Realistic expectations of a football team with no experience on the OL and no rushing game to speak of last year weren't close to what people wanted, realistic expectations of how a fatally flawed football team performs against more experienced rivals aren't what fans want either.  It doesn't make the person discussing them less of a fan or somehow "accepting" of a "lower standard".  I don't particularly care about the details of how we arrived here, they are relatively valueless in that we are here and this what we have to deal with: 3-9, 5-7, 7-6, 11-2, 8-5, and 7-6
That's six years with a record of 41-36 folks.  I hate that number, I hate that we aren't playing in the B1G title game and going out to Pasadena so I can complain endlessly about how stupid it is that USC gets to play in their own backyard for the Rose Bowl.  I desperately want us to be back in that position again, I want it to happen quickly, but that does NOT mean that I blind myself to the realities this team and this staff face, they are significant and they are not something that are fixed overnight with a change here or there.  
I don't know, have I lost it?  Let me know.
What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve; and those who stay will be Champions. 
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