Michigan Football: Why Wolverines Are Lucky to Be in Top 25 After Week 1

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01:  Denard Robinson #16 of the University of Michigan warms up prior to the start of the game against the University of Alabama at Cowboys Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Alabama defeated Michigan 41-14.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

They certainly weren't favored to win, but most figured that the University of Michigan would at least put up a fight against Alabama.

After what can only be described as a total shellacking, the Wolverines, who went into Saturday's game as ranked No. 8 in the nation, should be grateful that they only dropped to No. 19 in both the AP and USA Today Polls, after the team's devastating 41-14 loss to the reigning national champions.

Brady Hoke's boys must have known that as long as they kept the score close against Alabama, the Wolverines wouldn't be in serious danger of dropping out of the Top 25, but with a performance like Saturday's, they had to be nervous.

Yes, Alabama is clearly the better football team. The Crimson Tide was all over the field on defense, forcing the Wolverines to punt on four of its first six drives and picking Denard Robinson off on the other two.

In what was supposed to be Saturday's big-ticket game, Alabama thoroughly outclassed a team that was ranked just six spots behind them when the game began.

Motivated by their preseason No. 2 ranking, Nick Saban's troops quickly dispelled any hopes of an Michigan upset, running out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

By the time Robinson finally got the Wolverines on the board with a rushing touchdown late in the first half, Michigan was behind 31-7, and though Alabama let up in the second half, the game's outcome was never in doubt.

It's rare to see a matchup featuring two top-10 teams end in such a lopsided score, but that's what makes preseason rankings such an inexact science.

The Wolverines' rushing game amounted to 69 yards, and though Denard Robinson padded his stats slightly in the second half, the dual-threat quarterback who has electrified college football fans across the nation for three years looked lost.

Up next, the Wolverines have two must-win games against Air Force and the University of Massachusetts, but their next real test will be on September 22 on the road against the Fighting Irish.

If the Wolverines don't look a lot more like the team that was supposed to contend for a national title by the time they take on Notre Dame, they'll find themselves on the outside of the Top 25.

For now, they should just be thankful that they're at No. 19.