Michigan may not end up with an impressive BCS ranking this season, but the Big Ten title is certainly in reach.
With blowout victories over Purdue and Illinois, the Wolverines have built up plenty of momentum heading into the last six games of the season, all of which will be against conference opponents.
The team is in control of its own destiny as far as its conference title hopes go, and an impressive showing the rest of the way would ensure a fine finish to a season that started poorly.
Here are the most important games remaining in the season.
Saturday, October 27, at Nebraska
This Big Ten battle will be crucial for the Wolverines' chances at earning a spot in the conference championship game.
While the previous week’s matchup against Michigan State may be more of a rivalry, the Spartans are 1-2 in the Big Ten. Regardless of the result against MSU, a win over Nebraska will be crucial.
The Cornhuskers have rode their potent rushing attack to a 1-1 conference record and they will put Michigan’s defense to the test. With that being said, Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint give the Wolverines a dangerous ground game as well.
The Big Ten standings could change if Michigan doesn’t win this game, and Robinson will simply need to outperform Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez in what will likely be a high-scoring contest.
Saturday, November 10, vs. Northwestern
The Wildcats have had a surprisingly successful season, and the team poses a threat to challenge Michigan for first place in the Legends division.
Northwestern’s defense has been extremely impressive this season, and if the Wildcats can shut down Nebraska’s offense and record an upset, the team will be in excellent condition to sit atop the standings.
Michigan can prevent that by winning this game, and once again, the team will have to rely on Robinson. He is immensely talented and the team’s offense will not be productive without an excellent performance from him.
If he can continue picking up eight yards per carry on the ground, the Wolverines will be able to win this game.
Saturday, November 24, at Ohio State
Ohio State will not be allowed to play in the Big Ten championship game due to the sanctions placed on the program during the offseason. Even if plans go awry for Michigan and they are out of contention to play for a conference title, this will still be the most important game of the season.
The rivalry between these two teams is as intense as any across the country. It will also feature a showdown between two of the most electrifying offensive talents in the conference in Robinson and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
Whichever one of these dual threats has the better performance will likely win the game—and bragging rights for a year—for their team.
Even though Michigan’s season has not gone as planned thus far, any year that features a victory over the Buckeyes will be remembered fondly.