Trap games can ruin an entire season, and the Michigan Football program has a few on the schedule in 2013.
In case you don't know what a trap game is, it's a contest against a lesser opponent that could pull off a huge upset if the better team is looking ahead to another opponent or fails to take the lesser team seriously.
More often than not, the better team will win these contests—especially in the college ranks. That said, these games must be treated with respect and dogged preparation.
If Michigan fails to take these teams seriously it will have no chance of competing with Ohio State in the Big Ten.
Again, these are games Michigan should win, but a few mistakes here and there could lead to bitter defeat.
Central Michigan: 8/31/13 at Michigan Stadium
The Chippewas shouldn't be a big threat to win the first game of the season, but the Wolverines' highly anticipated contest against Notre Dame is the following weekend.
These two teams have only met three times in history—the last time coming in 2006. In each of the three contests, Michigan has routed Central Michigan.
Everything about this game points to a big Michigan win.
That's why Brady Hoke must be extra careful to get his team prepared for this matchup, because these are the perfect ingredients that make up a trap game.
Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos had his team playing well at the end of last season. The Chippewas won five of the last six games of the season—including a victory in the Little Cesar's Bowl—after starting the season with a record of 2-5.
If Michigan isn't 100-percent prepared for a dog fight it could suffer an embarrassing early defeat.
Minnesota: 10/5/13 at Michigan Stadium
Michigan handily defeated Minnesota last year by a score of 35-13, and the Wolverines should be able to secure a similarly convincing victory this year.
That said, this team will be heading into Beaver Stadium the next weekend to face Penn State, which has defeated Michigan the last three times the two teams have played.
Minnesota isn't a top team, but it's not a team lacking in talent, either.
Ra'Shede Hageman is one of the most dangerous interior linemen in the nation and could be a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. He'll put pressure on Devin Gardner from his defensive tackle spot all game long and make it difficult for the Wolverines to run.
Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson looks to be much improved from last year's effort, if the team's spring game was any indication, the Gophers' offense will be competent at the least.
Iowa: 11/23/13 at Kinnick Stadium
In the second-to-last game before the Big Ten Championship Game and one week before taking on Ohio State, the Wolverines will hit the road to face Iowa.
Iowa only won four games last year and was easily defeated by Michigan one week before it took on Ohio State, and all signs point to a similar outcome in 2013.
That said, just like the previous two games the contest against Iowa could be a trap game.
Gardner had his best game of the season against Iowa last year, leading the Wolverines to a convincing 42-17 win.
This game will be on the road, however, and he had mixed results in road games in 2012.
Iowa's offense should be improved in 2013 after an abysmal 2012 season. The team's quarterback situation is still up in the air but whoever starts has a nice arsenal of weapons to work with.
On the other side of the ball, Iowa's defensive line will be much better in 2013, and Michigan will need to play well to win this road game.
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