With a win this Saturday against Eastern Michigan, Michigan has already matched their win total from the 2008 season. They did this in the first three games of the season.
Flashback to last year, Michigan lost their season opener to Utah and lost to Notre Dame, to start out 0-2. Now fast forward, new freshman quarterbacks, a new defensive coordinator, and a new attitude. The Wolverines are 3-0 and are ranked in the top 25 going into conference play.
This great start has a lot of analysts wondering, how good are the Wolverines? Well, I wouldn't get carried away, not yet. Yes, Michigan is looking great, they are 3-0 and beat a ranked opponent (no. 18 Notre Dame), and have Indiana next on their schedule. This team can't be judged, until they play Big Ten opponents.
It is safe to say that Michigan is a much improved team, it is also safe to say that Rodriguez's system is now working in Ann Arbor, but is Michigan really back?
The "normal" Michigan team goes to a Rose Bowl, contends for a Big Ten championship, and has a chance at a National Championship. I don't think it is safe, emphasize the word safe, to say that they are back.
Do I think at the end of the season Michigan will be "back?" Yes, but as of right now, without playing a few Big Ten games, I don't feel confident saying this team is back to normal.
One thing is sure, they are on their way to becoming a very strong team. The most impressive thing about this 3-0 start is the quarterback situation. The worst part of the 2008 team, is the best part of the 2009 team.
The future of the Wolverines lies strong. They are 3-0 and they have a freshman quarterback, which means; Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson can only get better.
Tate and Denard didn't look strong (passing) in the 45-17 win over EMU, but the running game took over. Carlos Brown had 187 yards rushing, including a 90 yard touchdown run. Brown showed that the running game can still be positive even if RB Brandon Minor doesn't play (due to injury). We also learned Denard Robinson needs to work on his passing (throwing 2 interceptions), but looked great running the ball (2 rushing touchdowns). Forcier (68 yards passing, TD) didn't look great, but got the job done. You could tell Forcier has already won over the fans, when getting the wind knocked out of him in the third quarter. The fans chanted "Forcier," showing the early love and emotion for the freshman qb.
Like I said, it isn't "safe" to say Michigan is back, but they are definitely on their way, and we shouldn't see another 3-9 season in the near future.