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Discussing Michigan Football with the Family

At Thanksgiving Dinner this year the talk flowed into Michigan's disappointing football season. Almost all the siblings on my dad's side went to Michigan for some amount of time (only one graduated). My aunt brought up how East Grand Rapids coach Peter Stuursma inherited nothing and is now going to the state championships every other year (for the sake of this story, we'll overlook how Kevin Grady's dad finds "housing" in the district for some talented athletes).

When my uncle brought up the fact that he lost 6 games his first season (that's a 2-6 season which is the same winning percentage as 3-9 fyi...), she said "Yes, but after that they won a lot of games every year." At that point my hand was firmly attached to my forehead. When I said what the difference was between Peter Stuursma's first year and Rich Rodriguez's, she said that something was, but she couldn't explain it to me.

Then I explained how Rich Rodriguez generally had a rough first year followed by a fairly good second year and then BECOMES A MACHINE. I told them how at WVU he had one bad year followed by four years of 8+ wins and 3 years of 10+ wins*. After I said that, another uncle said "10 wins won't cut it at Michigan." At this point I'm trying to resist the urge to fly over the table with a butter knife. Lloyd Carr was a great coach and only had 5 of 12 years with double digit wins. Bo Schembechler, THE Michigan coach in the modern era was only slightly better at 10 of 20 seasons of 10+ wins**.

I'm hoping he just doesn't really know football. If Michigan fans think 10 wins is unacceptable, we're worse off than I expected. 10 wins is a great season. 8 wins is a good season. Sure we're Michigan and our team should always be in contention for a championship, but you can't expect to be a game or two away every year. With limited scholarships, you don't have hegemonic powers. There is more ebb and flow. It's time Michigan fans learn to appreciate what we've had, have and will soon have.

*People are mature. From Rich Rodriguez's Wikpedia entry:

**It' s a little hard to compare the to eras given Bo only had 10 games with a much harder to reach bowl up until 1975, but Lloyd's whole tenure was within the era of limited scholarship era. I'm not sure if the factors balance out or not.

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“Discussing Michigan Football with the Family”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I agree with you on most points and I actually had the same type of discussion with my family about the time the pumpkin pie came out. I do however believe that Michigan can and has the potential to become a consistent 10 win program again. OSU, since 2002, has had only 1 non 10 win season. I am not saying next year they need to win 10 or that RR is a failure if he ever has a sub 10 win season. Michigan has all the pieces to become a consistent 10 win team especially with today's scheduling. Michigan has the potential to challenge year in and year out with OSU, USC, OU, Texas, and whoever else you want to call the top tier in college football. Oh and to me what made Bo's accomplishments so much more impressive were that they played less games and with tougher non conference oppostion.

  2. Anonymous Rosey Says:

    Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their own level and beat you with experience.

  3. Anonymous Obes Says:

    i'm pretty sure bo had 11 games