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Weekend wrap-up: 50 percent more Little Brown Jug and a 3 percent chance of a Michigan quarterback

How does Joe Milton get multiple references in one post?

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Michigan v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The last time the Michigan Wolverines faced the Minnesota Golden Gophers feels like decades ago. After the 2020 season was canceled and restarted, the Wolverines traveled to Minneapolis for a primetime, empty stadium contest for The Little Brown Jug. A 49-24 win kicked off the Joe Milton era and the rest is hist...

About that. While the new Michigan quarterback threw for 225 yards and completed 68 percent of his passes, the win over the Gophers turned out to be quite forgettable. Three straight losses to follow and a double-digit deficit to Rutgers before being benched ended the Milton experiment, and the vast majority of fans have completely wiped the 2020 season out of their minds entirely.

This is not a post about that, or Joe Milton. No, this is a reminder of just how much has happened since The Little Brown Jug was last on the field. This week, The Athletic looked at rivalries that have been impacted by realignment, and to no surprise, this historic battle made the list as one that has “nose-dived”:

Minnesota and Michigan have played for The Little Brown Jug since 1909, the oldest rivalry in major college football. They’ve met 104 times overall, but since 1998, they’ve played only 15 games.

Things will get slightly better with the removal of divisions, as every team in the Big Ten will see every other opponent at least once every two seasons. Many Michigan fans were hoping for a protected annual contest against Minnesota, but at least the cadence will shrink from every three years to every two.

As great as the rivalry is, the results have been quite imbalanced. The Wolverines have won nine of the last 10 and 25 of the last 27, so The Little Brown Jug pretty much lives in Ann Arbor, whether or not the games have actually been played. Still, it will be nice to have a little bit of history restored, and consecutive games in 2023 and 2024 will really feel like a significant — and welcome — change from recent memory.

Draft hype continues

We have covered all of the NFL buzz surrounding the current football roster ahead of the 2023 season, and the lists continue to pour in. ESPN tried to handicap the odds of going No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft and there were a couple names of interest for the Michigan crowd.

USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye make up nearly 50 percent of the pie, as these two talents both look like future franchise cornerstones for some quarterback-needy NFL squads. Penn State tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu came in with the third-best odds, and he was just one of two Big Ten players to make the list.

The second would be J.J. McCarthy, of course. While it is no guarantee he will choose to head to the draft after this season, he certainly has the ceiling of a No. 1-overall pick, as unlikely as that may be (a 2 percent chance per this article). Accuracy is probably the top thing McCarthy needs to prove to scouts, but the end of last season showed he can hit guys like Cornelius Johnson and Roman Wilson downfield, and expect to see more of that this fall.

While McCarthy is a very longshot to hear his name go first off the board next spring, he is not at the bottom of this list. That honor goes to none other than Joe Milton himself, the most recent Michigan quarterback to have beaten Minnesota. Tennessee should give him a shot to show off his ridiculous arm talent, but it would be quite a surprise if he ends up anywhere close to No. 1. Good for Milton, though — no ill will from the Wolverine perspective.