In spite of having one of the highest paid head coaches, one of the top athletic facilities in all of college football and a recruiting class that traditionally finishes ranked as one of the best in the nation, many Michigan fans have completely given up on the idea that the Wolverines will ever compete with the likes of Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State on a regular basis.
There’s a growing acceptance within the Michigan fan base that this is what the Michigan Football program is: a seven to ten win program, an annual third place finisher within its own division and a program that might beat Ohio State once every ten years or so.
For those within the fan base who still hold the Michigan Football program to a much higher standard, the suggestion of accepting this “new normal” feels like some terrifying episode of The Twilight Zone where up is down, down is up and nothing makes sense.
As it currently stands, Michigan is the all-time winningest program in all of college football with 964 wins. Though Michigan has gone 16 years without a conference title, the Wolverines still hold the record for the most Big Ten titles with 42, hold an all-time winning record against Ohio State (58-51-6), and are the only Big Ten team to have a winning record against every other team within the conference. Michigan is also a football program that, in spite of its lofty academic standards, has signed the No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class within the Big Ten 17 out of the last 20 years.
With all that being said, It's hard to imagine any legitimate argument to be made for Michigan or its fans to be accepting of anything less than competing with Ohio State for conference championships year in and year out - yet here we are. In order to cope with a 1-15 record against the Buckeyes since 2004, or a 3-10 record in bowl games during that same span, Michigan fans resorted to devaluing a once proud and dominant football program into a mid-tier Big Ten hopeful that has no business competing with the college football elite.
The only question now is whether or not the football program itself is willing to accept and adopt the same low standard that many within the Michigan fan base have already settled on.