Look - I've taken some flack for this year's optimism. I understand that we've had two of the worst years - EVER - for Michigan football. Worst records. Horrible Play. Bottom of the Big 10 in most categories.
Those are the facts. But the fact also remains that bad teams get better and I believe that Rich Rod was hired because he succeeded where others had not. Is it all going to come together this year? In the past, his third year has traditionally been his best year. Not to mention that the Wolverines were close to two more victories last year (MSU and Iowa) that would have gotten them to 7 wins. So that's two sides of the argument - Worst ever records and you can always get better.
There's also the game by game analysis for the 2010 season. I am borrowing some content from something I read from Rob White that supported my case. He ranked the games as the "must" wins, or easy games, followed by the middle games and finally, the hard games. Ranked, not precisely in that order, but you'll get the gist of the idea is the season.
So, suffice it to say, we need to win the 4 easy games. And I think that's achievable. Indiana was a scare last year and the Illini had their way with us, but I'm optimistic that we're better than those teams, period. Chalk them up as W's.
The middle 4 games were where Rob and I differed in our opinion. The reason being is that he believed that we should win 3 out of 4 games in the middle. And when you consider that MSU - a critical in conference rivalry game is in your "middle" game rank, well, you know you have a pretty tough schedule. And while I understand the reasoning, I don't think he took into account one cricital thing - Momentum.
Momentum, as everyone knows, in the college game is huge. Building on wins is important. The hardest 4 games are luckily in the last half of the season. IF (That's a big IF) we haven't stumbled and are possibly 6-0 after beating MSU, I believe Iowa is winnable in the Big House for Homecoming. This assumes we have escaped from South Bend with a W and UConn hasn't upset us in the opener. Now, your 7-0 heading into Happy Valley where not only the Wolverines have had some good luck, but Rich Rod has some memories from there as well. (And he led that team in Happy Valley two years ago, so he knows how to make things happen). Given that we're on the roll and PSU (based on their schedule) may already have a blemish, it's going to be a big game. But winnable none the less.
Now, it's a 4 game schedule with 1 must win (Illini) and a middle game (Purdue) with two tough games. 0.500 in the last 4 would make most fans pretty happy. But I think we can do better. Wisconsin has trouble in the Big House. And we're due at OSU.
Can we get there unscathed? That's unknown, but I like the way the schedule unfolds as far as building the big Mo' and getting some confidence.