Eight Reasons You Should Be Optimistic About The 2018 Wolverines

Eight Reasons You Should Be Optimistic About The 2018 Wolverines

Football

Eight Reasons You Should Be Optimistic About The 2018 Wolverines


Fan enthusiasm for Michigan football seems down from previous years. Here’s why you, as a fan, should be crazy excited about the upcoming season.


Eight Reasons You Should Be Optimistic About The 2018 Wolverines

It makes sense why, you, as a Michigan fan, aren’t as hyped up about this season as you have been in the past.

You’ve been hurt before. You’ve been through the gauntlet. You’ve heard “This Michigan team will be special!” just before the bottom fell out.


Michigan fans were understandably disappointed at the culmination of the 2017 football season. The maize and blue whimpered to an 8-5 season after back-to-back 10-win seasons – including a 2016 season where the Wolverines were quite literally inches away from a Big Ten Championship Game berth and potential College Football Playoff appearance in head coach Jim Harbaugh’s second year.

And though 2017 didn’t go as many had hoped, it shouldn’t sour fans on Michigan’s potential under Harbaugh. There are multiple reasons, looking forward, why the Wolverines could – and should – continue to ascend back towards the perennial powerhouse status that those in Ann Arbor believe should be the norm for this Michigan football program.

Before we take a look at why 2018 should be a significantly better year, let’s take a look back at how things played out since Jim Harbaugh arrived in 2015. The idea, at the time, was that whatever he got in year one would be gravy. Pundits exclaimed that bowl eligibility after 2014’s 5-7 debacle wasn’t even the floor – it was a sign that Harbaugh did, indeed, have magic powers. Well, the team superseded that in grand fashion, winning its tenth game with a rousing victory in the Citrus Bowl over then-SEC East Champion Florida.

The next year, 2016, was “the shot,” a year in which everything should come together. And it nearly did. An inexplicable loss to Iowa – which proved to be more costly with starting quarterback Wilton Speight’s unspecified injury – and an overtime loss on the road to archrival Ohio State put the Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl over a Florida State team that Michigan likely should have beat. But, that game was a consolation prize, and the maize and blue weren’t keen on walking home with hardware that didn’t bare the College Football Playoff insignia.

2017 was looked at in 2015 as a potential down year, as it was. Significant personnel losses were expected, and, in fact, that’s one of the reasons why the Wolverines faltered. With eleven NFL Draftees emerging from the 2016 senior class, the team was bereft of veteran leadership. Yet, many of us – myself included – predicted a 10-2 regular season record if everything went right, with the thought that quarterback Wilton Speight’s return would be the difference, along with a defense – while young – we had heard hadn’t taken a step back from the previous season’s top-rated unit.

However, everything did not go right. Quite the opposite. Speight’s experience didn’t seem to do much when it came to having inexperienced freshmen receivers, and the offensive line took a massive step in the wrong direction when it came to pass protection. In Week Four, Speight went down with three broken vertebrae, and Michigan found itself unable to put away any teams with a winning record.

But 2018’s outlook shouldn’t hinge too strongly on the mistakes of the past. While optimism was through the roof heading from 2015 to 2016, fans have taken a more moribund, wait-and-see approach heading into this upcoming season.

Here’s eight reasons why you should be thinking more about 2016 than 2017 looking forward.

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