Michigan Football: Battle with UMass Is Perfect Setup for Notre Dame Game

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a 31-25 win over the Air Force Falcons with his teammates at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

If there was ever a game on the schedule that was being used to serve as a confidence boost before a game that actually mattered, Michigan has it on Saturday in the form of the Massachusetts Minutemen. 

If this was the mid-90s and we were talking about basketball, this game would have a lot more intrigue. But, sadly, we are talking about football, and Massachusetts is only a slight upgrade over a team like Savannah State. 

In the two games the Minutemen have played this season, they have been outscored 82-6. To make that record worse, the losses have come against Connecticut and Indiana. Once again, two basketball powerhouses who aren't exactly commanding a lot of attention for their work on the gridiron. 

Michigan has started off the season in terrible fashion, despite a 1-1 record after two weeks. Everyone saw what happened to the Wolverines against Alabama in the first game of the season, but the game against Air Force really flew under the radar. 

The Wolverines were supposed to have an improved defense. That was the biggest difference between the failure that was 2010 and the bounce-back BCS season of 2011, so naturally, big things were expected in year two under Brady Hoke. 

Yet here we are, two games into the season, and the Wolverines have reverted back to what they were when they ran Rich Rodriguez out of town. They have allowed 848 yards combined and had to hold on just to beat Air Force. 

Air Force is a good program, but it shouldn't be able to compete with a team that was supposed to be one of the best in the Big Ten. 

By scheduling Massachusetts as a buffer game before playing Notre Dame, the Wolverines should get exactly what they need: Confidence and a dominant victory. 

Those two things, obviously, go hand in hand. The more dominant you are, the more confident you are going to be, regardless of who is standing on the other side of the field. 

Hopefully there is still some magic that Hoke can work as the season progresses, because at the rate this team is going right now, they are going to be fighting just to get to .500 and play in a lower-level bowl game.