Maybe the optimism bug has bitten me too much, but as far as I can see, Michigan's strong start is a sign of things to come. As Columbus lays in ruins, Ann Arbor is flourishing both this year and in the future.
The Wolverines have a very favorable schedule going forward. They avoid Wisconsin and Penn State and have home contests versus Ohio State and Nebraska. There is only one game left in which the Wolverines stand little chance: the home game against the Cornhuskers. Other than that game, each contest is a toss-up at worst.
Michigan has one of the most dynamic players in the country and is looking at a solid chance of going 11-1 through the regular season. Here are the 11 games that you can take to the bank as Wolverine triumphs.
Obviously, Michigan is out to a 4-0 start. They have beaten Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and San Diego State. Let's move on.
Minnesota comes into this contest at a disappointing 1-3. Their primary weapon is dual-threat quarterback Marqueis Gray. They lack a sustained rushing game or weapons on the outside to really threaten the Michigan defense.
Michigan should have a field day with the Gopher defense, which is currently ranked 75th in FBS and dead last in sacks. Denard Robinson will be able to tear this defense apart.
Prediction: 44-21 Michigan
Northwestern lacks the passing game to be able to beat the blitzing defense of Greg Mattison. The Wildcats are ranked 103rd in FBS in passing. Without being able to beat the blitz deep, they will have a hard time rushing the ball. This figures to be one of the few games that Michigan's defense will be able to have great success.
So far this season, Northwestern has posted close wins against Boston College and Eastern Illinois before losing to Army. Call me crazy, but this doesn't exactly strike fear in my heart, even as it will be an intense night game
Prediction: 28-10 Michigan
Letting Michigan State think that they are equals with us has been one of the most disgusting aspects of Michigan’s struggles. I think that things will go back to the way they belong this season.
Michigan State has a nice defense, but it's going to take a Herculean effort to stop No. 16. He has proven time and time again that he is capable of putting the team on his back and carrying them to the promised land. I suspect that he will need to do so in this game.
The Notre Dame game showed that Cousins can be rattled by pressure, so I would expect the ball hawks of Michigan to have a great day as they blitz all game long.
As long as TJ Duckett doesn’t pull any shenanigans again, the Wolverines will put the Spartans back in their place as we regain domination of the homeland.
Purdue won a close game at home against Middle Tennessee State and lost at Rice. They are 97th in FBS in passing. Michigan will be coming off a bye and playing at home. Unless Curtis Painter shows up at the Big House, this could get ugly. This is the best bet of the season.
Prediction: 34-10 Michigan
If you would've asked me about this game a month ago, I would've automatically assumed that the Wolverines would get thumped. This Iowa team, however, is not what we are used to seeing. They lost to Iowa State and don't feature a top defense.
Iowa is built around passing this season. McNutt and Davis are solid options, but first-year starting quarterback James Vandenberg may be overmatched by Michigan's attacking defense.
Iowa has been very susceptible to the run. If they cannot handle the rushing attack of Pitt and Iowa State, they stand little chance of stopping Denard, Vincent and Fitzgerald. I like Michigan's chances to steal one in Iowa.
Prediction: 24-21 Michigan
Honestly, of all the games remaining on Michigan's schedule, Nebraska and Illinois worry me the most. Last year, the Illini and Wolverines hooked up in a high-scoring shootout resulting in Tate Forcier leading Michigan to an overtime victory. Hopefully Denard has a similar effort in store for us this year.
Illinois features the 11th best rushing attack in the nation and a passing attack that is developing behind versatile quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. So far, he has been asked to be a game manager, which is fine if the Illini are leading. He is not to be trusted to lead a team back, however.
Michigan will need to get off to a hot start and take the rushing game out of play. I think that Michigan's corners are plenty good enough to stymie Illinois' wideouts. If they can stay strong up the middle, the Wolverines should be able to escape with a win.
Prediction: 45-39 Michigan
Seven years. Seven long years. It seems like its been a lifetime since the Wolverines have beaten that team down South. It is time.
When these two teams get together, you can throw out the records. This should be an awesome game regardless of who wins. However, I think that Michigan will enter this game the favorites. There are plenty of factors in their favor this year.
Michigan plays at home in this game. They have the more superior offense and a blitzing defense that could give freshman Braxton Miller fits. And once again, at the end of the day, it's Michigan that has Denard Robinson playing quarterback.
Ohio State has taken a beating so far this year. Suspensions, loss and a complete lack of offense have debilitated the Buckeyes so far. Before they stroll in Ann Arbor, they will have to face Michigan State, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin. That could be four losses right there. They could enter this game with a major lack of confidence.
It is time.
Prediction: 32-24 Michigan