Michigan certainly looked like a good football team after the 31-7 drubbing of Western Michigan in the season opener. After watching the Wolverines vanquish the Irish this past Saturday in the Big House, all doubt in my mind has been erased.
This team is going to a bowl game this year.
Six wins and a bowl appearance seemed to be the measuring stick for Big Blue this season. Anything less would bring louder calls for the head of Rich Rodriguez. But Michigan doesn’t seem to be teetering on the edge of the six-win bowl eligibility knife any longer.
They’ve fallen squarely onto the bowl appearance side of the blade. In fact, they now sit in that position so comfortably that I can confidently make the following statement.
It’s more likely that Michigan will play in a BCS bowl game this season than miss playing in a bowl game altogether.
Now, of course I’m not suggesting that the Maize and Blue will be selected for a Bowl Championship Series game. I’m not that great a fool. Their win total may very well be closer to six than 11 in the end.
What I am suggesting is that, given two choices, it is more conceivable that this team wins 10 or 11 games than only five.
As the expectations for this team soar, they can ill afford to relax even a little bit, but I doubt they will. The scrappy team of kids seemingly too young to know they’re in over their heads seems to have taken the team mantra “all in for Michigan” to heart.
On Saturday, it didn’t matter that Notre Dame was older and more experienced. It didn’t matter that they couldn’t stop the Irish passing attack. It didn’t matter that a true freshman was being counted upon to engineer the game-winning score.
Rodriguez can no longer perform his song and dance about having three No. 1 quarterbacks; he showed his hand on Saturday. When the game is on the line—as it was against the Irish—Tate Forcier is his guy.
And so Forcier, the never-nervous freshman, will continue to be Rodriguez’s guy all season—and he’ll lead the way to a bowl game.