By all accounts, it appears that the Michigan Wolverines are back, at least to their winning ways. Many believed this was a rebuilding/reloading year and that the first true season of the Jim Harbaugh era would take place in 2016.
Well, that is not the case now. Through the first four weeks of this season, Michigan has shown that it is ready for the big boys now, and there are two that stand in their way the rest of this season: Michigan State and Ohio State.
A month or so ago, it looked like it was a pipe dream that the Wolverines could have a shot in either of those games. Even though OSU and MSU are the top two teams in the country, respectively, they no longer just have a puncher's chance.
They have the ability to beat those teams on their home field. The Spartans travel to Ann Arbor on Oct. 17, while the Buckeyes will be in town on Nov. 28.
Which begs the question: Who would Michigan fans rather see their team beat? Both is the obvious answer, but in a world where only one can be chosen, who would it be?
There is a poll at the bottom of this article. If you want to skip to the bottom, fine. Let's make the case for each, first, before you cast your vote.
The Wolverines have been making strides one little step at a time since Harbaugh and staff were brought it. On the checklist of things to do, they've done a nice job of crossing off what was in front of them so far. They've fixed the run game. Their defense is better than last year. They have found playmakers in the passing game. They are winning games they are supposed to win.
All of that combined has turned Michigan into a dark horse contender in the Big Ten East this season. But right now, they are not the preeminent program in the state. Michigan State is.
The Spartans are a national title contender, regardless of how they have struggled a bit early on this year. They have also won a few in-state recruiting battles and won the conference multiple times in recent years. The Wolverines can't claim that "the best players in Michigan play at Michigan" right now just yet.
We don't need to outline the whole "little brother" saga, but it is still one that looms large to this day. Sometimes the most important battles are the ones you fight at home. If Michigan wants to declare themselves resurrected as a Big Ten Power, they'll have to knock the Spartans off of their perch first.
There is not a whole lot to say here. This is Michigan's biggest rival are together they form one of the best matchups in sports when both are at the top of their game. Though, Wolverine fans often say they'd accept a one-loss season if it meant beating Ohio State.
OSU is coming off of a national title and will continue to be one of the top programs in college football as long as Urban Meyer is there. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the moment that he lines up across the field from Harbaugh and company, hopefully for years to come.
It has been awhile since Michigan was considered a national power, and there would be no quicker way to enter that conversation again than to take down the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor when the time comes on Nov. 28.
What do you think? Have any extra thoughts about this debate? Vote in the poll and sound off in the comments below!