Michigan-Notre Dame: Why Mike Hart Is Right
After two disappointing losses to open the season for Michigan, no one is more disgusted than star tailback Mike Hart.
The Wolverines have dropped two straight games to underdogs, despite stellar performances from Hart. The senior ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns against Appalachian State, followed by a 127-yard day against Oregon.
But the losses haven't shaken Hart's confidence in his team—in fact, he guaranteed a Wolverine victory over the Fighting Irish in Week Three.
In theory, the Michigan-ND game should be a good one. In reality, it won't be.
Both teams have underachieved thus far, but at least Notre Dame was expected to be mediocre. Michigan's lack of productivity has come as a surprise, leaving many observers to wonder which team is really better.
Nine seasons out of ten, high stakes surround the the Wolverine-Irish matchup. Not so this year—when the winner will achieve a status akin to that of the world's tallest midget.
Still, Mike Hart believes Michigan deserves that distinction. Some might think his guarantee is a bold statement, but I disagree.
Simply put, Notre Dame is just plain bad. None of their three quarterbacks have been even close to impressive, and a terrible offensive line only makes matters worse. True freshman Jimmy Clausen was absolutely punished by a tough Penn State defense in Week Two.
It's very clear that Michigan has the advantage in the backfield, where Hart has all the talent of a Heisman contender without the supporting cast. Even without Chad Henne, though, Michigan has the edge.
On the defensive side, Notre Dame is no better, if not worse, than years past. A subpar front seven and a sketchy secondary have been sources of concern for Charlie Weis and Irish fans alike.
Michigan's defense has also taken an obvious turn for the worse—losing the likes of Lamar Woodley and Leon Hall to the NFL certainly didn't help. The Wolverines will look to rebound against the Irish after two embarrassing defensive meltdowns.
Despite both teams being very average, Michigan is far and away my favorite to win the game. Lloyd Carr needs the victory more than Weis does, as Carr could very well be asked to pack up his office should Michigan go 0-3 to begin the season.
Mike Hart will continue to overachieve in the backfield, giving Michigan enough offense to outpace an anemic Notre Dame unit by several scores.
Don't look for this to be a good game—but expect Michigan to turn their season around by Ko'ing he Fighting Irish on Saturday.
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