Some fans like to see Michigan’s rivals do well, so when they face each other the game is for all the marbles. They want the Big Ten Conference to be as strong as can be.
Well, we’re halfway through September and the conference has had its fair share of bumps and bruises.
Going into the season, Michigan had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, but when things are all said and done that may not be the case.
The 2-1 Wolverines are set to begin Big Ten play on Saturday versus Nebraska.
While no opponent should be taken lightly and upsets are the name of the game in sports, Michigan’s chances of rattling off a lot of wins appears more probable than it does not.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Michigan’s opponents the rest of the way this season.
Going into the season, Nebraska was as hyped up as any team. Former star quarterback Scott Frost is back at his alma-mater and expectations are unfairly high.
Things have not gone well for Frost so far. After not losing a game coaching Central Florida last season, the Cornhuskers have started off the season 0-2, losing to Colorado 33-28, and Troy 24-19.
Frost and Nebraska are likely highly pissed off they’re 0-2 and will be coming into Ann Arbor with something to prove to the masses. The game will not necessarily be a cakewalk for Michigan, but Nebraska has already shown they are beatable.
The following week Michigan will head to Northwestern, another team that had high expectations heading into the year. Things have been pretty bad for the Wildcats.
After barely beating Purdue week one, Northwestern has lost two straight, to Duke 21-7, and to Akron 39-34. Now the road trip to Evanston doesn’t seem as tough a one for the Wolverines.
The Terrapins are facing off-field legal issues, and things like that are bound to hurt the on-field product of the team sooner than later.
After getting off to a solid start defeating Texas 34-29, Maryland was handled with ease by Temple 35-14. They may be a team to watch out for still, but the concern of Michigan losing to them isn’t nearly as high as it was after they beat the Longhorns week one.
I didn’t expect to put the Badgers on this list before Saturday, but here we are. In one of the biggest upsets of the season to this point, Wisconsin lost to BYU 24-21.
Don’t get me wrong, Wisconsin is still a good football team, but they may have more deficiencies than what we saw a year ago.
Still, expect a good defense from Wisconsin moving forward, with great running back play by Jonathon Taylor, and QB Alex Hornibrook making some great throws while also tossing head-scratching interceptions.
Wisconsin heads to Iowa next for a night game, Michigan fans know how hard those games can be. Be careful, Badgers, Iowa plays a lot like you.
The Spartans had a bye on Saturday, and they sure needed it.
Here’s how week one went for them:
Utah State down only 27-24 to Michigan State, who is paying them $1.4 million tonight, one of the biggest paydays of Week 1.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 1, 2018
Michigan State would win in the last minute over Utah State 38-31, but it was a bad showing, especially considering they paid them over a million dollars to play them. Ouch.
And then last week MSU headed to Arizona State where their offense couldn’t get anything churning, ultimately losing by a last second field goal 16-13.
The Spartan defense has looked suspect, Brian Lewerke has been okay, and running back LJ Scott is only averaging 3.4 yards per carry. The Spartans have some work to do.
The rest of Michigan’s schedule
- Ohio State is undefeated and looks to be the best in the Big Ten to this point, and it’s not even close.
- Penn State probably should have lost to Appalachian State to begin the season but the Football Gods blessed the Nittany Lions with an improbable W when things looked bleak. They’ve looked good in their other games versus inferior opponents, but the nail-biter against App State raised some eye-brows in regards to the potential vulnerability of PSU.
- Rutgers is still in the Big Ten. Rutgers still isn’t good. Michigan will win.
- Indiana usually plays Michigan good and they’re off to a 3-0 start. Keep an eye on this one.