Game Time: 3:30 PM EST / 2:30 CST | Wolverines vs Wildcats coverage
Television: Regrettably, Michigan is likely still on TV for the hope that they get embarrassed. Oh, I mean Big Ten Network.
Series History: 72nd meeting; Michigan leads, 54-15-2
Vegas Says: Northwestern -5 (Sigh.)
Weather: It's suburban Chicago. Who knows.
Frienemy Blog: Sippin' On Purple
I think Michigan beats up on Sparty this year in East Lansing.
~ Me, in my preseason prediction
That was of course way wrong.
In that same prediction I foresaw Taylor Martinez getting the best of Michigan for a victory, which was also way off. No, it was backup Tommy Armstrong III with the help of Ameer Abdullah.
So this is what madness feels like. On Saturday, Michigan let a half-injured Nebraska team hold them to negative rushing yards for the second week in a row. When it got down to the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, the Michigan defense folded and let Kenny Bell and Ameer Abdullah shred the outside linebackers and safeties in hardly any time at all. On the sideline, Brady Hoke let thirty seconds run off the clock during Nebraska's drive. Michigan had three timeouts. When Michigan did have the ball, Hoke let another twenty seconds disappear after a six-yard pass in the middle of the field to Devin Funchess. Michigan still had all three timeouts.
Three plays and one of those timeouts later, the game ended on am incomplete pass targeted at Drew Dileo.
This wasn't a game where any one decision or play caused Michigan to lose, it was a colossal offensive implosion that produced only 13 points against a defense that spotted Purdue 200 rushing yards. It was an inability to stop a weaker offense from marching down the field for the go-ahead touchdown, especially when Michigan had two guys standing in front of Abdullah and he ran past both of them. After the game, a couple Cornhusker players told reporters that Michigan was telegraphing what they were going to run on every offensive play.
Madness is the feeling I got when Michigan recovered a muffed punt in the opposing red zone, and I had no doubt that in four plays Michigan will be kicking a field goal, because that is all that this offense is capable of right now. It's extraordinarily painful to watch, and there is no sign that it will get better before the season is done.
Of course, there are winnable games left on the schedule, and Michigan gets Northwestern this week, in a faux road game of sorts. No better time to figure out how to win a conference game on the road. Venric Mark will not play, and Northwestern will be wearing patriotic jerseys and helmets to make it even more difficult for Michigan to beat them. The Wildcats are 4-5, but any team struggling that much can erase those bad feelings with a win over Michigan. The nightmare has to end on Saturday, or else that creeping madness shall overtake me completely.
Michigan Fan Schadenfreude of the Week: One man was so disgusted with Al Borges's play calling, he blamed Borges for receiving a DUI.