Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, September 18, 2015
Jim Harbaugh is off to a 1-1 start in his first season as Michigan's head football coach.
After a hard-fought 24-17 loss at Utah in Harbaugh's debut, the Wolverines bounced back with an impressive 35-7 blowout victory over Oregon State in Week 2.
UNLV comes to Ann Arbor this weekend. A win would put the Wolverines above .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2014, nearly a full year ago.
With that said, I proposed the following question to BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart: How many wins would it take to consider 2015 a "successful" year for Michigan?
We both gave our takes on that question in this edition of "debate it."
How many wins would it take to consider 2015 a "successful" year for Michigan?
Dienhart: If Michigan wins eight games in Jim Harbaugh?s debut, I think it will be a ?successful? season. Remember, the Wolverines? win total decreased in each of Brady Hoke?s four seasons, going from 11 wins, to eight, to seven to five in 2014. If this team can keep running the ball like it did vs. Oregon State while also playing tough defense, the Wolverines figure to be in every game. Michigan is off to a 1-1 start. And, looking at the remaining schedule, the Wolverines have a shot to reach eight victories-and maybe nine. Michigan has a shot to win home games vs. UNLV, BYU, Northwestern and Rutgers. And the Wolverines would seemingly have a good chance to win on the road at Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana and Penn State. Honestly, the only remaining games Michigan will be a heavy underdog is when Michigan State and Ohio State come to Ann Arbor.
Merriman: If I?m a Michigan fan who truly understands the landscape of college football and how it takes time to grow a program, I would be ecstatic with eight wins this season. I think if the Wolverines win seven games this year, that should be considered a ?successful? season. Let?s not forget, this is a team that won only five games last season, and then lost their best defensive player (Jake Ryan) and their best offensive weapon (Devin Funchess) to the NFL. Getting Jim Harbaugh is a huge score for this program, but don?t fool yourself to think he is going to come in and fix this thing overnight. This is a process. After a 5-7 campaign in 2014, the goal this year should be to improve your win total, make a bowl game, and win the games you are favored to win. Am I crazy to think that Wolverine fans should be pleased with seven victories this season?