Michigan Football: Predictions for Wolverines' Remaining Schedule
The Michigan Wolverines' performances have been a bit inconsistent during the 2012 football season.
That isn't to say their outcomes haven't been predictable.
Michigan has lost three games, all to teams ranked in the Top 25. The five wins are all against teams they should beat.
The biggest issue facing Michigan right now is the health of Denard Robinson. He's battled nerve issues in his elbow that has cost him playing time.
He also seemed to battle nerve issues in general against Notre Dame, costing his team the game.
Assuming Robinson doesn't miss extended time, this is how the balance of the schedule should play out:
When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 12:00 p.m.
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: Big 10 Network
Why: A win makes Michigan bowl eligible
Robinson is expected to play against the Golden Gophers. While the Wolverines offense has struggle in recent weeks, they should be able to get healthy against a Golden Gopher team that has surrendered points in bunches in recent games.
Prediction: Michigan 30, Minnesota 16
When: Saturday, Nov. 10, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Why: Both teams trying to stay alive for Big 10 Title
Both of these teams will have an outside shot at the Big 10 Title Game at kickoff. A loss to the Wolverines will take the Wildcats out of the hunt.
Michigan should be able to move the ball on Northwestern on the ground and through the air. This will likely be a high-scoring, exciting game.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Northwestern 24
When: Saturday, Nov. 17, Time TDB
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Why: Iowa will be playing to become bowl eligible
Iowa will be overmatched in this game. I'm not trying to say they are a bad team. They aren't. But I wouldn't label them as good, either.
This is a game Michigan simply can't lose at home.
Prediction: Michigan 24, Iowa 14
@ Ohio State
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Why: A trip to the Big 10 Championship Game is on the line
Ohio State will be playing for pride, as they aren't eligible for postseason play. Michigan, on the other hand, still could have a shot at the Big 10 Championship with a win.
I don't think they'll pick it up. Ohio State has a great, balanced offense that will prove to be too much for the Wolverines.
The Buckeyes could be 11-0 and looking for the last win needed to post a perfect season. They'll be pumped up before a home crowd, making life difficult for Michigan.
Prediction: Ohio State 30, Michigan 24
What bowl game does Michigan make?
Outback Bowl vs. LSU
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1:00 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Why: They secure a major bowl game
I don't want to argue that the Big 10 has too many major bowl games, but there is a reason they struggle in their bowl games (records below).
The conference has been very good at securing slots for their teams in January bowl games, but they are often playing above their heads relative to their competition. As a conference, the Big 10 has played the highest percentage of ranked teams over the last decade.
The Outback Bowl isn't an example of this, as it pits the No. 3 team from the Big 10 and the SEC. Even so, Michigan will be outmatched in this game.
LSU's defense will be too much for the Wolverines.
Prediction: LSU 20, Michigan 13
Big 10 Bowl Game Records
*Ohio State vacated win not included.
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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