Michigan Football: 10 Reasonable Goals for the 2012 Season
Without a doubt, the 2011 season exceeded every Michigan fan's goals.
However, it didn't exceed the players' and coaches' goals. In fact, it didn't even meet them.
Coming off of a Sugar Bowl victory, what are reasonable goals for 2012?
Here's a look at 10 reachable ones, with some very likely, and others a bit more challenging.
Head into the Nebraska Game Undefeated in Conference Play
There is no reason this goal shouldn't be met.
The home game against Illinois on Oct. 13 should be a blowout, and the trip to Purdue on Oct. 6 should also be a win, although it won't be as easy as people think.
That leaves the Michigan State game on Oct. 20. That game should, without a doubt, be won by Michigan, as it would be a bit of a surprise if they lost it at home.
The Nebraska game on Oct. 27 will be huge for both teams, as it will have Legends Division implications all over it.
Go Undefeated at Home
This is a goal that should definitely be met.
I think the first three home games are gimme games with Air Force, UMass and Illinois.
The Michigan State game should definitely be a win as well, and so should the next home game against Northwestern on Nov. 10.
The Iowa game on Senior Day does concern me a little bit, but only because it will be extremely emotional and because it is the week before The Game.
With that being said, it's a game they should still win, finishing off another undefeated season at home.
Win the Legends Division
Michigan will certainly be the favorites for the Legends Division in 2012, and probably the Big Ten as a whole.
When looking at the schedule, worst case scenario for the Wolverines looks to be 6-2 in conference play.
I think 7-1 is more likely, but 6-2 should be good enough to win the division and make the second ever Big Ten championship game.
Go to the Rose Bowl
As mentioned, Michigan should win a very strong Legends Division; however, the Leaders Division looks to be much, much weaker.
Wisconsin is heads and tails above everyone else, with no other team really even in sight.
People seem to be picking Purdue as a popular dark horse, but a tough schedule will prevent them from realistically contending for the division.
Who knows how Bill O'Brien will do in his first season at Penn State?
That basically only leaves Wisconsin, a team that won't be nearly as good as last year; however, it will still probably be enough to win the division.
Michigan should definitely be able to beat a team like Wisconsin in the championship, and lock up a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Have Two 1,000 Yard Rushers Again
It wasn't surprising to see Denard rush for 1,000 yards last season, but the fact that Toussaint did it as well was a bit surprising.
What's even more shocking is that he managed to do it after having a pretty bad first half to the season.
Michigan will have a confident, proven Toussaint for the entire 2012, and who knows how good he'll be for an entire season.
Honestly, I'd expect Toussaint to be much more likely to rush for 1,000 yards again in 2012 than Denard.
However, it would be very nice to have both of them accomplish the feat once again.
Establish a Young Receiver That Will Be Able to Be a Star in 2013
I think Roy Roundtree will definitely be the No.1 receiver in 2012, but he will be a senior and won't be around in 2013.
Who will possibly be the top receiver that year, seeing as how there is currently a lack of depth and production at the position?
I think Jeremy Gallon will be a solid option, but not a guy who will take over and win games for the team.
With that being said, I think someone will need to establish themselves as a force in 2012. Jerald Robinson would be a great option, as he has the kind of game-changing ability an offense needs. Plus, he'll be around for a few more years.
Amara Darboh is another guy that will hopefully see playing time and at least show potential for 2013.
It would be great if one of those two guys could either see crucial minutes, or show plenty of promise for 2013.
Prepare Devin Gardner to Be the Starting Quarterback in 2013
I really don't care if we see Gardner at quarterback or receiver in 2012, as long as he just simply sees the field. Preferably, it would be nice to get him some time at both.
Regardless of what people say, I think he will be the quarterback in 2013.
Shane Morris could use his freshman year to mature and learn the offense, setting it up perfectly for him to take over in 2014.
The offense obviously wouldn't be as exciting as it is with Denard, but I still think Gardner would do a fine job.
It is crucial that he sees plenty of playing time and is prepared to lead this team in 2013.
Win Every Home Game by at Least 10 Points
This is kind of an odd one, but I think it would be an interesting goal.
I actually don't think they'll have any trouble accomplishing this in the majority of their home games.
It will be the toughest to do it against Michigan State and Iowa, but they are more than capable of beating both of those teams by at least 10.
Finish Conference Play with One or Zero Losses
Going undefeated in conference play is extremely hard, and I don't think it will be done this season.
Going 7-1 in conference play would be a nice goal, but it won't be easy.
As mentioned earlier, I think the Wolverines will be undefeated in conference heading into the Nebraska game, and I think that game will have huge implications.
If Michigan wins that game, then they should definitely be undefeated in conference heading into the Ohio game.
Those two games are the hardest and biggest games in Big Ten play for the Wolverines.
I think a split is the most likely scenario, resulting in a 7-1 Big Ten record at the end of the year.
Win at Least 11 Games for a Second Straight Season
I think this is doable, but will be extremely hard to accomplish.
There's a good chance that it would take wins in either the Big Ten championship or a bowl game, if not both.
I think the Notre Dame game on Sep. 22 is absolutely crucial to the season; if they win that game, then I think this team is well on their way to another possible 11-win season.