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Discussion: Is Michigan for real?

From the football blues to “Go Blue!”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Washington at Michigan Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 19 Michigan has started this year with three solid wins at home.

The biggest takeaway isn’t the rushing yard stats, how the offensive line is stellar, or how well the defense has implemented a new identity — it’s the renewed interest in Michigan Football.

At the beginning of the season, I talked about the preseason blues. I will be the first to admit, after losing to Michigan State last year, I completely removed myself from any discussion revolving around Michigan Football. It was exhausting and I don’t think I was alone in feeling disconnected.

Now through three games, the Wolverines have made me eat my own words. I haven’t been this excited for a Michigan Football team in some time. They look unified with a noticeable respect and understanding of each other and their coaching staff. Coach Jim Harbaugh’s upheaval to a newer and younger staff has this team lit up. It’s hard as a fan not to buy in.

Michigan football is something people are into again and those that were on the wayside before the season started are now back in with cautious optimism. It’s not necessarily hopping back on the bandwagon. It feels more like being rewarded after a hard time. The main question now is the longevity of this success. Will everything Michigan has created thus far withstand the rest of the season? What about three seasons from now? That remains to be seen, but it’s a lot easier to see the trajectory of a team that has realigned itself and found an identity that everyone can get behind. It feels like there is less disarray and this newfound stability makes things all the more exciting.

What we know so far is that Michigan listens when they hear us. It can be as small as ranting about the passing game against Washington two weeks ago, or as large as a complete upheaval in the coaching staff. They want success because they want to share it. They want Michigan to be as storied as we remember and they are doing a damn good job of it right now. I look forward to every game and sit on the edge of my seat with every drive and every play. It has been a long time coming.

Michigan, through three games in 2021, have rushed for 1,057 yards, with an average of 350.3 rushing yards per game. They averaged 131.5 rushing yards per game last season and finished with 887 total yards of offense. Blake Corum has gone over last year’s rushing average himself each game so far this year. The Wolverine offense has 19 touchdowns on the season currently in comparison to the 23 total TDs through six total games in the 2020 season.

The offense has looked absolutely stellar to the credit of coaches Mike Hart and Sherrone Moore with their respective position groups. It’s easy to look at the comparison of last year and this year to notice the surprising turn around this Michigan team has had after an offseason laden with transfers and uncertainty.

The Maize and Blue are a hot team right now and are steadily rising through the rankings. While fans may be looking towards highlight games like Wisconsin or Penn State, this team is taking each game one week at a time. All the focus lies on Rutgers tomorrow to set the precedence of how Michigan wants to finish in the Big Ten.

The Wolverines enter as the heavy favorite versus Rutgers after news involving suspensions impacting Rutgers secondary. Both programs have started the season 3-0 and are two of four teams without a turnover. After falling to the Scarlet Knights in 2014, Rutgers’ inaugural season in the Big Ten, Michigan hasn’t faltered against a Rutgers team since. While Rutgers has been slowly evolving as a program within the Big Ten, Michigan will handily take this matchup.

I started this football season as a cynic and a little skeptical. With a whirlwind of a difference in play style and game execution, I feel I have matched Michigan’s own 180. However, it is easy to fall into skepticism and it has led to a lot of questions about how long this can last and if Michigan is as legit as they feel.

A quarter of the season has gone by, is it too early to buy in? Does this Michigan team have what it takes to maintain this throughout the remainder of the season? Let us know in the comments below!