An attention-grabbing list of committed recruits and a 5-0 start to the season created mounting momentum for the Michigan Wolverines football program. A pair of recent losses have tempered expectations for 2013 and a 29-6 defeat to rival Michigan State leaves the program with plenty of questions.
Head coach Brady Hoke has assembled one of the most impressive Wolverines recruiting classes in recent memory. Commitments from top-tier recruits like Jabrill Peppers, Drake Harris, Bryan Mone and Michael Ferns elevated Michigan to No. 10 nationally in 247Sports recruiting class rankings.
While the Wolverines have made strides in the aftermath of an underwhelming Rich Rodriguez era, the team still has plenty of ground to make up in order to regain the prominence blue and maize once represented. Quite frankly, Michigan was stunningly embarrassed by the in-state rival Spartans.
Like it or not, every loss is greeted with an overblown reaction. That holds true in the recruiting spectrum.
We live in a popcorn culture. People want immediate results and patience is a lost art.
That trait is magnified when you're dealing with teenage kids, which the Wolverines are. Don't worry Michigan fans, you're football program hasn't lost its coolness factor.
But, you must be mindful of embarrassing losses like the one Hoke's squad just suffered in East Lansing. Michigan managed to finish the matchup with -48 rushing yards, which is the fewest total in more than 130 seasons of team history.
The reactions came fast and furious, especially from Spartan commits. Chris Frey, a 4-star linebacker from Columbus, Ohio, burst out with Michigan State bravado in the game's immediate aftermath.
Tyriq Thompson, a 4-star safety from Detroit attended the game. The top 2015 prospect sat next to the biggest Michigan fan he knows.
His father, Clarence, was a Wolverines player two decades ago.
“I had a great time,” he told Scout.com writer Mike Wilson. “The game was exciting the whole way through, depending on who you were rooting for. Me and my mom had fun, as for my dad …He was making noise for U of M the whole game, but after a while he calmed down."
Thompson visited Michigan's recruiting BBQ in July.
Fellow 2015 standout Noah Lister (Cincinnati, Ohio) was also in attendance. The 6'7", 270-pound prospect was surprised by the way the Wolverines were dominated.
"Michigan State is pretty great," he told Scout.com writer Dave Berk. "I hadn’t really watched them before but was hearing how great Michigan was and to watch Michigan State really put it on them was something else."
The general takeaway from this contest seems to center around how feeble Michigan appeared throughout the Big Ten Conference clash. It doesn't bode well for the Wolverines' pursuit of premier prospects like defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, athlete John Smith and running back Leonard Fournette.
College football recruiting departments are charged with the task of maintaining a positive image on a week-by-week basis. For the Wolverines, this is a challenging week.