Now comes gravy time. Any bowl. Any where. Just let us keep on rolling.
Finally beating the Buckeyes didn’t just end a humiliating streak: At 10-2, the Wolverines are guaranteed to move into the top 14 in the final BCS standings, and virtually guaranteed — assuming bowl officials consider the prospect of a sprawling, revved-up Michigan fan base a more attractive draw than a revved-up Kansas State fan base, or deflated, dejected Oklahoma State fan base if the Cowboys lose to Oklahoma — to receive an at-large invite to their first BCS bowl since 2006. It’s a catharsis, but it isn’t just salve on a wound. Beating the Buckeyes was further, final confirmation that Hoke has fulfilled his promise: Yes, shotgun offense and all, this is Michigan again, as Michigan fans have always understood it.
Whether Hoke’s version is actually better than the version Rodriguez would have delivered if he’d been granted a fourth season with a veteran team of his own making and a new defensive coordinator, we don’t know. But those questions are beside the point now, anyway. It’s Hoke who’s delivered the 10-win season, the (likely) BCS bowl, the end of the subjugation to Ohio State and the first sense of sustained progress and goodwill since Schembechler’s death. Michigan is back. Now comes the business of staying back.