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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh (center) aims for a third 10-win season in his fourth year at the helm of the Wolverines.

Don’t accept middle-of-the-road record for Michigan football

Rachel Lenzi

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.

Do we accept an 8-4 record in football every year? — George Felekides, via Facebook

A middle-of-the-pack finish is unacceptable if you are a Michigan fan. And George Felekides is one of the more passionate Michigan fans whom I’ve engaged with.

Michigan finished 8-5 in 2017, a disappointment for a fan base that has extremely high standards. Jim Harbaugh’s hire brought about a program renaissance in 2015 and 2016. Harbaugh injected energy into the program and into the Michigan community, as Michigan notched back-to-back 10-win seasons and came within inches of making the College Football Playoff.

That’s the Michigan we know, right?

Then came 2017. Last fall was not an easy season for anyone, especially after 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016 and berths in the Citrus Bowl and the Orange Bowl. But even as the Wolverines started 4-0 last season, it was easy to spot the cracks: The number of young personnel (especially at wide receiver) and an offensive line that never really found its fit.

The challenge of being competitive became that much heavier when you consider the Wolverines play in the Big Ten East Division, which is arguably one of the toughest divisions in college football.

But finishing fourth place in the East? That’s also unacceptable.

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Wolverines fan, you have no room to tolerate what some call “Michigan Mediocre” effort. It’s not in your makeup as someone who supports this program. You know the standard and have a right to hold the program to one, especially if you’re paying money to watch the Wolverines on a weekly basis.

Jim Harbaugh is the same way. This program is a reflection of who he is. An 8-win season certainly didn’t sit well with him. The number of personnel changes on Michigan’s staff, including the departure of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno and the addition of offensive line coach Ed Warinner, sends a strong message the football program did not accept the status quo.

If you’re a season-ticket holder or a longtime fan, or have any investment in the program, neither should you.

Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here