Michigan Football and the College Football Week 4 Preview

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football, Samantha Ponder, The WWE and Miss America.

Week three is gone but not forgotten. For any Michigan Wolverine football fan, that can only mean one thing:

TIME TO MOVE ON!

If we've learned anything from last week, it's that you can't take it easy on any opponent. That, and pickle drank.

The calls of Appalachian State were all too familiar in week three for the Wolverines. It was the first time in the Brady Hoke era that you could say that Michigan came out flat and with a lack of focus. U of M was lucky come away with a win and keep it's big hopes for the 2013 season alive. However, at the end of the day, the Wolverines came away with a victory and that's the ultimate result every fan desires.

Michigan received a lot of praise after it's convincing victory over Notre Dame in week two. On a national stage and under the lights, the Wolverines played up to the national spotlight against the Fighting Irish. Fast forward one week later and it looks as though Michigan was a team that was over-confident and possibly a little too full of themselves. That's a harsh truth but it was a reality check for the Wolverines who haven't won anything thus far in 2013. You could hear the Michigan Men of team #134 own up to their poor performance in week three.

The Maize and Blue faithful have a lot to be upset about. However, it's important to keep things in perspective. Michigan is 3-0 and still ranked #15 in the country. If you want to be upset, you could be like former Wolverine Steve Hutchinson and get upset over hypothetical rankings of college football coaches names in the rap world.

Michigan has been saying all the right things since the embarrassing victory over Akron. A loss in week three would have altered this team for the worst but the victory can also be beneficial. Team #134 seems to be more focused than ever in this early 2013 season and the leaders have stepped up and taken on a larger role of accountability.

Leaders like Taylor Lewan and Devin Gardner have taken a lot of the blame and made sure to hold other players accountable as well. In a situation like this, a coach can only ask that his players don't soon forget how close the team was to a lost season. Hoke even took the situation into his own hands by having the Wolverines practice hard on Sunday and it appears as though the players were receptive to the extra work.

The Wolverines will shift focus to week four of the college football season...

MICHIGAN @ CONNECTICUT 8 P.M. EST. TV - ABC

The Wolverines will travel to an unusual destination on Saturday when they go on the road for the first time in the 2013 season. Michigan will head off to New England to take on The University of Connecticut football team on Saturday night. It will be interesting to see what kind of focus the young Wolverines come out with. As we learned last week, no opponent can be taken for granted and Michigan will need try to come out with their first road victory. As good as Michigan has been at home with Brady Hoke as the head coach, the road results have been less than stellar.

Truth be told, Michigan will only go as far as Devin Gardner can lead them. For all of the struggles along the offensive and defensive lines, Gardner's erratic play comparing The Incredible Hulk and his alter ego, Bruce Banner. Since Gardner has taken over as the starting QB at Michigan in 2012, he has yet to play one game without an interception. Let me repeat that: NOT ONE GAME AS THE STARTING QB AT MICHIGAN WITHOUT AN INTERCEPTION.

It's unusual for a mild-mannered guy like Gardner to play so out of character. If he makes a mistake, it appears as though he tries to make up for it enough of just moving on. Think about baseball and the greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera. For as many times as he has succeeded in critical situations, he has also failed time and time again. However, if Rivera is to blow a save, he will be out there the next day and have already forgotten about the past. Gardner needs to live in the moment and focus on one drive, one play, one snap.

It seems as though Gardner is saying all the right things and is ready to hit the ground running on Saturday. One would hope that all the built up frustration will not cause Gardner to try to be too perfect. #98 found advice from someone who knows about being a young quarterback in the national spotlight...

Johnny Football. Yes, you read that write. Gardner says that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel and Clemson QB Tajh Boyd reached out to him.

It's been an interesting week for the University of Michigan. First, the close call against Akron was a tough pill to swallow. However, if you're looking for a bright spot on the Wolverine radar, there was some good news for the Maize and Blue faithful.

The new Miss America is a former Michigan Wolverine.

If that wasn't enough, take a look at this graphic that should bring some joy to any Michigan Man.

In the words of the WWE's Daniel Bryan...


UConn may not be a powerhouse football program but it will surely be the largest non-conference opponent to visit the Huskies in some time. Whatever the outcome may be, it will be good for these young Wolverines to get out of Ann Arbor and bond on the road. The head coach at UConn spoke about Michigan and what the visit will be like for the university.

WEEK 4 SEE-IT-TO-BELIEVE-IT CAN'T MISS COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21

ESPN's 'College Gameday,' is going off the map this week. No SEC tailgates or rowdy fans from the state of Texas. This week, Gameday is going north.

MICHIGAN STATE @ #22 NOTRE DAME 3:30 PM EST. TV - NBC

What a time for these two teams to meet. Michigan State has been dealing with offensive struggles all season but may have found some clarity at the QB position. It appears as though Connor Cook did enough in week three to take the spot as QB1 for the Spartans. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is coming off a close call at Purdue last week and, much like Michigan, will be looking to get things back on track.

Both of these teams have their issues at QB but they both bring formidable defenses to the table. Ask any Michigan fan and they'll tell you about that Notre Dame defensive line. It's good. Filthy good.

Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has a brand of defensive football. This season the defense has actually been playing so well that it's actually better than the own team's offense at times. The Spartans and Fighting Irish will slug it out in a defensive battle and it may come down to which QB can limit their mistakes. Connor Cook will be taking his first snaps as a Spartan QB on the road and South Bend can be an overwhelming environment.

TENNESSEE @ #19 FLORIDA 3:30 P.M. EST. TV - CBS

Remember when these schools were the powerhouse programs in the SEC? It seems like ages ago that Peyton Manning was at QB for the Tennessee Volunteers or Tim Tebow was bring multiple national championships to the Florida Gator fans.

Fast forward to 2013 and you have a Florida team who has underachieved and a Tennessee team that just got owned by #2 Oregon. Speaking of Oregon, why is no one talking about this team? Granted, Chip Kelly is off leading Michael Vick and the Eagles in the NFL, but Oregon is still Oregon. This is a team that shouldn't be overlooked and considered a serious BCS title contender.

Okay, enough about Oregon. Back to Florida vs. Tennessee. One of the funniest things on Twitter is the parody account of Florida coach Will Muschamp.

Florida has one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best defense in country. Unfortunately, it also has an offense that is mediocre at best. QB Jeff Driskel has not lived up to the hype he brought in as a highly touted recruit. There are future NFL stars on the Florida defense but it's offense played a horrific game against Miami in a loss in week two. It could be an ugly game between the two.

Driskel will likely be back at QB and here's hoping that Will Muschamp gets fired up. There's nothing like a good Muschamp explosion on the sidelines.


#23 ARIZONA STATE @ #5 STANFORD 7:00 P.M. EST. TV - FOX

There might be no one happier than the Arizona State defense. In case you were living under a rock last weekend, you missed Arizona State basically stealing a win from Wisconsin in week three. An Arizona State player decided to lie on the football and the officials let the clock run out on Wisconsin.

Arizona State might have their luck run out on them this week when they go on the road those smart kids at Stanford. If there's any team that may be able to compete with the Alabama Crimson Tide in a title game, it may well be Stanford. They play a physical brand of football that has continued on even as former coach Jim Harbaugh is off coaching the 49ers in the NFL. Is anyone noticing a pattern of former Pac-12 coaches leaving college to go to the pros lately? Pete Carroll, Chip Kelly and Harbaugh? Okay, enough about that.

This should be an interesting game that features big difference in style of play.

SOME OTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL FUN TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND:

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