Man, I hate playing Indiana; always tough, always frustrating. Once John O’Korn forgot ‘how to quarterback’, Karan Higdon fought through back pain from carrying the Michigan offense and the Wolverines survived in overtime (my liver thanks you, Karan). I know that winning is all that matters at this point in the season, but some damn style points would be nice. I miss blowouts, yet I digress.
The season is halfway over and it is time to start hearing the word “résumé” more now than your senior year of college. Who have you beaten? What’s your team’s strength of schedule? Moreover, what do Frank Beamer, (OG) Bobby Johnson, and the College Football Playoff Selection Committee think of your team? Here is a look at how Michigan’s opponents fared this weekend and how the Wolverines’ résumé is beginning to take shape.
Florida (3-3) - loss to Texas A&M, 19-17. The Gators have lost their last two games by a combined three points and were even tied or leading this game for its duration until the final 3:30. The Gators are similar to Michigan: well coached, good defense, but are searching for a quarterback. However, please never wear those uniforms again. Woof. Michigan won 33-17, Sept. 2.
Cincinnati (2-5) - lost to USF, 33-3. The Bearcats suffered their fourth straight loss this season and seventh straight conference loss dating back to last season. Luke Fickell has his hands full in making this team even semi-relevant again. Michigan won 36-14, Sept. 9.
Air Force (2-4) - defeated UNLV, 34-30. The Falcons earned their elusive second victory in dramatic fashion overcoming a 27-0 first quarter deficit (second largest in school history). Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman accounted for over 200 total yards and five touchdowns. Momentum should be building for the service academy as they face UNLV (one of the 10 worst teams in FBS according to S&P) next Friday. Michigan won 29-13, Sept. 16.
Purdue (3-3) - lost to Wisconsin, 17-9. The sweethearts of the Big 10 continued to win over fans despite falling short in Madison. The Boilermakers forced the Badgers into three uncharacteristic turnovers and had several opportunities to tie the game. Updated miracle worker rankings: Jesus Christ, Anne Sullivan, Jeff Brohm. Michigan won 28-10, Sept. 23
Michigan State (5-1) - defeated Minnesota, 30-27. Sparty is one win away from doubling their win total from last season. State got L.J. Scott rolling again with 194 rushing yards and two touchdowns. With four of their next six opponents being easier than UNC’s academic schedules, 9-3 is the floor for Michigan State. Michigan lost 14-10 on Oct. 7.
Indiana (3-3) - lost to Michigan, 27-20 OT. Assuming you saw this one. Michigan escaped another wild game against Indiana in overtime, but the Hoosiers have a big reason to be optimistic. Freshman Peyton Ramsey has the potential for greatness and showed real moxy rallying his team later in the fourth quarter. Indiana travels to East Lansing next week to try and avenge being one of the Spartans’ three lonely wins last season.
Penn State (6-0) - BYE . The biggest game of the Big 10 season thus far takes place next week in Happy Valley: Michigan vs. Penn State. The “white out” game will put Michigan in the national spotlight as they try and contain Heisman front-runner Saquon Barkley. Penn State is coming off a bye week and will have revenge on their minds after that 49-10 loss last season in Ann Arbor. I’m scared.
Rutgers (2-4) - defeated Illinois, 35-24. The “Loser Leaves Town Match,” left little room for debate: Illinois belongs in FCS (or SEC East). The Scarlet Knights did their damage on the ground racking up 274 yards and led throughout. Enjoy it New Brunswick, your next win might not come until 2018.
Minnesota (3-3) - lost to Michigan State, 30-27. The Fleck honeymoon is over and it appears ‘rowing the boat’ has gotten the Gophers up the metaphorical, feces inspired, Big 10 creek. Minnesota competes, but their inability to get Rodney Smith going has plagued them all season. With a formidable schedule down the stretch, the Gophers cannot afford to slip an inch if they want to become bowl eligible.
Maryland (3-3) - lost to Northwestern, 37-21. The hype train for the ‘Fighting Durkins’ has officially been derailed. Maryland was nearly outgained by 200 yards and only managed 85 rushing yards against an average rush defense. The only bright spot: D.J. Moore who had 12 catches for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Good luck in Madison next week.
Wisconsin (6-0) - defeated Purdue, 17-9. It wasn’t pretty, but the Badgers remain undefeated. If you remove some costly mistakes, Wisconsin wins this game by three touchdowns. With the easiest schedule in the Big 10, it may be up to (*gulp*) Michigan to stop the Badgers’ quest for perfection.
Ohio State (6-1) - defeated Nebraska, 56-14. Another year, another Ohio State beat down of Nebraska. In two years, the Cornhuskers have been outscored 118-21 by the Buckeyes. Moreover, the Buckeyes have outscored opponents 266-56 since their Week 2 loss to Oklahoma. Don’t look now, but that team from Columbus is building momentum before their Oct. 28 collision against Penn State.