Nebraska vs. Michigan: Huskers Catch a Break with Soft Michigan Team

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor INovember 7, 2013

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 27: Wide receiver Kenny Bell #80 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and cornerback J.T. Floyd #8 of the Michigan Wolverines fight for a ball during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska beat Michigan 23-9. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Nebraska caught a break this season. The Huskers will face a relatively soft Michigan team on Saturday.

That doesn't mean the matchup will be easy.

In fact, Brady Hoke has not lost a game at home in his time as Michigan's head coach. With Nebraska traveling to Ann Arbor, it would be easy to assume the Huskers will lose.

Hoke's home record might just be on the verge of breaking, though.

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press took a hard look at the Wolverines. What he found was a team that is hardly recognizable for Michigan teams of the past.

Sharp isn't the only one taking a critical look at Michigan. ESPN's Jason Whitlock discussed the issues he saw, too.

Last Saturday, Michigan fell 29-6 to Michigan State. Out of the last six meetings between the two programs, the Spartans have won.

Hoke tried to explain losing to the Michigan State after the game.

“I think they played awfully well and executed awfully well. I don’t think we did,” Hoke said, as quoted by the Detroit Free Press.

It's a hard explanation to believe. Prior to facing Michigan State, the Wolverines were ranked No. 23, according to the AP Poll. The team also had a bye-week prior.

Then Michigan ran an eye-opening minus-48 yards against the Spartans defense.

When it comes to Nebraska, the Wolverines will most likely not have negative rushing yards. The Husker defense is struggling as well.

However, the Huskers do benefit from how Michigan is currently playing.

Prior to the season, many analysts predicted the Wolverines would come away victorious against Nebraska. The fact that Hoke has never lost at home played a huge factor.

Time is running out for Michigan, though.

Nebraska heads to Ann Arbor after an emotional high. Beating Northwestern 27-24 with a 49-yard Hail Mary pass as time expired left the Huskers hyped up.

That can be both a good and a bad thing.

For Nebraska, it's more positive than anything else.

Against Northwestern, the Blackshirts found their groove. While it's hard to predict what defense will show up against Michigan, if it's the same team from the Northwestern game, trouble could be brewing for the Wolverines.

The easy bet would be to take Michigan in this matchup.

Instead, Nebraska is poised to snag the win on the road. This current Michigan football team is soft, giving the Huskers every opportunity to take advantage and win.

If Nebraska loses, it will be greatly from the team beating itself. Both the Huskers' offense and defense have shown they can make big plays. That now needs to be translated against Michigan.

The Wolverines appeared deflated after losing to Michigan State. The loss set Michigan up for another season without a conference title.

ESPN's Whitlock believes Hoke can fix Michigan. However, he sees a lot of those fixes coming in the offseason.

Sharp of the Detroit Free Press made a powerful statement about this Michigan team.

"It’s [Michigan] soft and desperate for the mercy of opponents. And the Spartans weren’t in a merciful mood Saturday," he wrote.

How the Huskers' fare depends entirely on the same mentality. If the Huskers walk into the Big House with little mercy, there won't be much the Wolverines can do.

Michigan may be a seven-point favorite, per Bovada, but this matchup may be a lot closer than that.

In fact, the Wolverines' softness falls in Nebraska's favor.