Ok, let's go the other way. Let's pretend I don't pine for a Rich Rodriguez offense, a pipeline to Pehokee, and never huddling...ever. Let's pretend I hated the basketball scores put up in that one Illinois game, and that I didn't jump up and down with glee with the thought of what we might do with that offense when the alumni eventually came around (still waiting) and the defense became serviceable (it didn't).
I've preached patience even in the face of the perceived immediate success of Brady Hoke. But the truth is, we like the class that is arriving in a few weeks. And the fact that most of them would be in the bottom (recruiting rankings wise) of the class that is supposed to arrive after that...well that means that our paper future is as bright as it has ever been. The question mark remains whether or not Brady Hoke can coach players with great talent. Can he manage a team full of blue chip athletes, their egos, their behavior on and off the field? Can he build a gameplan that takes advantage of that talent? Brady has never done that before. Rich Rod hadn't either.
But if Brady, Borges, and Mattison CAN put it together...and I believe they can...the college football world is aligning well for Michigan. College Football's Final Four will begin in the 2014 season, just two years from now. It will be the biggest thing, well, EVER. It's something they should have done 15 years ago instead of installing a system that routinely resulted in more questions than answers. And if I'm to believe in the program in place here at Michigan, in all the grandiose NFL marketing circus-style bullshit that I'm fed by Dave Brandon, in the continuously rising ticket prices and the seemingly endless crap rotation of schedule that makes every other year's home season a steaming pile of shit...then I have to believe that when they select those four teams, Michigan will be there. We should expect to be there. I don't want to hear about the low-balling of team goals like winning the conference, or the handing out of motivational trinkets. I don't want to think about Notre Dame, MSU, or OSU.
I want to see four blue-gloved fingers in the air in every practice, every pre-game, every post-game. Final Four. It's a realistic three-year plan. That's where we want to be. That's where we should be.
Michigan shared a National Championship in 1997. A year later the powers that be installed a system to eradicate the indecisions that always seemed to pop up at season's end. It failed, but more importantly, so did we. Only once (2006) were we ever in the conversation (and we shouldn't have been). It's tough to meet a goal when you never set it. It's tough to see things in a national perspective when you can't see west of the Mississippi River or south of Columbus, and when you never concede to a home-at-home with a power team because you are afraid to skip a paycheck, instead relying on a forever crumbling Notre Dame program to bolster your schedule and excite your fans (yawn).
You think your Michigan is back? Maybe you're right. But THE Michigan is certainly not. THE Michigan fears no one, takes on all comers without worrying about whether or not we can jam in eight home games. THE Michigan has a 7-point lead before they take the field, just because they're Michigan. Feared. Respected. Nationally.
We've got a resumé builder of a season ahead. Lot's of prime time, a marquis opening weekend, and perhaps the toughest road slate ever. Forget 11-2. This year we need to start planning for a Denard-less offense. We need to beat Michigan State. We need to develop our recruits. And that's it. Next year, we can talk about dominating the Big Ten. The following year, we can talk about dominating college football.
And I'm all for it. Fuck the Rose Bowl.