Michigan Football: We'll Believe the Resurgence If They Beat "Little Brother"

Alex CallosCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines talks to his team on the bench while playing the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 31-25. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines appear to be back, as they put on another dominating performance on Saturday in a 45-0 win against Illinois.

It seems like Michigan is heading in the right direction, as it has won two in a row and four of its last five. Some would say the Wolverines have returned, but most would still argue they must prove themselves against a team of some significance.

I say until the Wolverines show they can beat "little brother," they have not proven anything yet.

The highly anticipated game against Michigan State looms large next weekend, and the good news for Michigan is it is at home. The bad news is the fact that Michigan State has lost three of the last five, including two of three to open Big Ten play.

It is easy for fans to say their team is back after wins over Purdue and Illinois, two teams with a combined 5-8 record. Most national observers feel the Wolverines still have some work to do before they can be considered the favorite to win the Big Ten and represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

One positive for the Wolverines in recent weeks has been the progress of the most important player on their team. Quarterback Denard Robinson has certainly found his stride, doing it mostly with his feet.

He rushed for 235 yards against Purdue and followed that up with 128 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois.

Through the air, he passed for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Boilermakers, while throwing for 159 yards and two touchdowns against the Fighting Illini.

Those are good signs, but there is still a lot to be desired as far as the passing game is concerned.

With the exception of the annual game against Ohio State and possibly the soon to be defunct rivalry with Notre Dame, this is the biggest game of the year for the Wolverines. 

The chance for Michigan to really prove it is worthy of some national recognition after an awful start to the season is to beat Michigan State.

After the game against Michigan State, the schedule is going to get a little more difficult, as the Wolverines take on Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State in three of its final five games.

Beating "little brother" used to be no big deal for Michigan, but it has been a huge struggle in recent years and something that has almost seemed more like a mental problem. Whether or not the Spartans are in their head is not known for sure, but is sure seems like it.

For now, beating up the bottom feeders of the Big Ten does not signify a resurgence...at least not quite yet.