Michigan Football: 10 Things Michigan Fans Wish For in 2012

Brad ThomasContributor IIIFebruary 11, 2012

Michigan Football: 10 Things Michigan Fans Wish For in 2012

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    The excitement level in Ann Arbor for the 2012 football season is at an all time high and there are many reasons for this. 

    Prior to the 2011 season, the Michigan Wolverines football program was once again under new leadership as Brady Hoke was hired to replace current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.  

    Coach Hoke immediately went to work by hiring a great staff, implementing new schemes to fit the current talent level, and assembling a top 10 national recruiting class.

    Most college football experts including a majority of Michigan fans believed that the program would once again be subject to a readjustment period.

    In other words, no one expected the Wolverines to post an 11-2 record which included wins over Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

    Therefore, the high expectations have been set for the 2012 season which begins in Dallas against National Champion Alabama and ends in Columbus against the Urban Meyer's led Buckeyes.

    The following slideshow depicts 10 items that Michigan fans would like to see happen during the 2012 season.  

Beat National Champion Alabama in Dallas Sept 1, 2012.

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    The 2012 Michigan football schedule begins with a monumental task. The Wolverines will face off against the 2011 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide in Dallas on September 1, 2012.  Under the leadership of Coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide has won two national championships.

    Michigan fans do not have to be reminded that the SEC has won the last five national championships. SEC fans, however, should take note that Michigan has a winning record against the SEC and they have played some great games against Alabama in the past.  

Beat Notre Dame Again in 2012.

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    It has been three years and three close wins. The first ever night game in Ann Arbor in 2011 witnessed the Irish dominate the Wolverines through three quarters only to collapse in the fourth quarter. Once again, the Wolverines found a way to sneak by the Irish. Look for the game in South Bend this year to be another close classic.  

The Wolverine Defense to Continue to Improve

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    The hiring of Defensive Coordinator, Greg Mattison by Brady Hoke proved to be one of the best hires in college football. Mattison implemented the 4-3 scheme and the Michigan defense went from the 109th ranked defense to the 17th ranked defense in 2011. Replacing Mike Martin on the defensive line is a huge task, however, Mattison and staff have proven that they can teach the fundamentals and implement schemes. The Michigan defense will continue to improve and the good thing is that they are very young.      

Use Denard and Devin Gardner More on Offense.

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    The best attribute about Offensive Coordinator Al Borges is that he is open minded enough to recognize what is working and what is not working. Michigan's offense was much more threatening when Denard Robinson was utilizing his legs.

    What a headache it must be with Gardner at Quarterback and Robinson lined up at receiver. Gardner did play some in 2011 and moves into his third year at Michigan. Gardner has a strong arm and the ability to run. This can be a deadly combination in 2012 leaving Gardner with much needed experience coming into 2013.

Beat Michigan State This Year and Close Dantonio's Mouth.

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    It has been painful watching the Spartans beat the Wolverines over the past few years. On the other hand, listening to Head Coach Mark Dantonio's mouth has been even more painful. It is obvious that you don't like the Wolverines and that is expected since you are a disciple of Jim Tressle. The recent outburst over a Michigan coach at a coaching seminar and the whining over Urban Meyer's inability to recruit like a "gentleman" is a bit ridiculous. Likewise, the Spartans displayed "gentlemen" behavior when playing the Wolverines in 2011.The Wolverines will welcome you into Ann Arbor this year without your fifth year quarterback. 

Continue with a Great 2013 Recruiting Class

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    Coach Hoke did a phenomenal job with his first recruiting class at Michigan. He has proven that he can recruit nationally which will continually keep the Wolverines competing at the top levels. Coach Hoke and his staff recruited the Midwest very well by dominating the state of Michigan and picking some great recruits in the state of Ohio. The class of 2013 has already picked up two 4-star commitments including quarterback Shane Morris from Warren, Michigan. 

Continue the Improvement in the Running Game

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    It was great to see the Michigan running game produce a 1,000 yard rusher once again. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint  emerged late in the season. However, his development really added to the Michigan offense and this will hopefully continue in 2012. 

Can Michigan Beat Iowa in 2012?

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    It seems that the Iowa Hawkeyes have the number of the Michigan Wolverines over the last few years. Well, they have and we need it to change in 2012. The Wolverines face off against the Hawkeyes the week before making the trip to Columbus in 2012 making it a crucial game. This is a game the Wolverines must win in 2012. 

Denard Robinson to Have Great Senior Year.

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    Michigan fans hope that Denard Robinson has a great injury free season. Denard decided to stay after the dismissal of Rich Rodriguez and put his trust in incoming coach Brady Hoke. The result was an 11-2 finish culminated by a Sugar Bowl victory. It has been exciting to watch him and the Michigan offense in 2012. He should be one of the best in the country. 

Beat Ohio State Once Again with Urban Meyer as the Head Coach

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    Yes, it can be done and it can be done in Columbus. It was not a shock when Urban Meyer left ESPN to take over the Ohio State Buckeyes program that faltered in 2011. Meyer is a great coach and has won every where he has been. He has already made a significant impact on the recruiting trail. His arrival in Columbus followed by an amazing resurgence in the Michigan program under Hoke is going to bring some classic games for many years to come.

    Meyer will be good in Columbus, however, Ohio State is not Florida so Buckeye fans with visions of national championship trophies floating in their heads will have to wait awhile. It will be a much harder task with Hoke in Ann Arbor.