In the pre-season, you predicted greatness despite the fact that no team in the history of college football that returned so few starters has ever finished that season in the top 25. And who could blame you? I mean, no team that returned so few starters has ever had a Harbaugh, amiright? After polishing off the Gators in Dallas you bought in to the fact that we are skipping the normal order of program building operations and moving right to the reload and win championships stage. This is year three fergodsakes. But then...
Two games perfect for building/rebuilding instead became battles into the 4th quarter. While the defense dominated, the offense decided that the 20-yard line is as far as they were willing to go. Speight is taking the brunt of the criticism, but it's a much bigger problem than just him. The O-Line isn't quite gelling, particularly that right side. Play-calling has had the occasional hint of DeBord. And while there have been some missed throws, there's been a nearly equal number of drops and tips. Perhaps most importantly, there has been no flair, no excitement. In fact, the most emotion we've seen when Michigan has the ball has been arms flailing in frustration. Outside of the slowly building historic consistency of Quinn Nordin and DPJ's punt return, scoring has been difficult and boring to watch.
But we're good, right?
This is where we try to sell ourselves on the purposely vanilla gameplan (we're hiding stuff, guys!) or on the yet unrecognized strength of the cupcakes (that Cincy/Air Force defense is going to wreak havoc in their respective non-Power 5 conferences!), but that doesn't negate or excuse the fact that Michigan has twice been just an asshair (albeit a thick one) away from a program debilitating setback.
Without improvement this path will certainly lead to defeat, and perhaps sooner than we once imagined. Purdue has decided to play football, and Sparty is already looking to tie their win total from last year (which was 3. They had 3 total wins last year. Seriously, 3.). So the plan to get by Florida and let everyone grow up for 7 weeks before the white out in Happy Valley isn't going to work out. Last year, Speight was a young guy being helped by a veteran receiving core of Butt, Darboh, and Chesson. This year, Speight is a young guy throwing to younger guys. Speight and the fresh crop of receivers need to get on the same page now. Michigan needs to improve now. Michigan needs to open up the playbook now.
Somewhere between "Michigan sucks" and "Michigan fans suck" I think there is a happy medium to be found. They need more time. We need more patience. And that's an alright place to be when you're 3-0.