The Road in Front of Us

Beating Connecticut was incredibly important for Michigan's season. By winning, Michigan has set a positive tone for the year. The offense has established itself as a very strong unit and the defense showed that while it is flawed, it may not be a total disaster. Denard Robinson may have locked up the starting QB job for the rest of the year and Michigan didn't fall apart when a starter on the secondary was injured. And even better, James Rodgers, previously assumed to be the Fourth Horseman of the Secondapocalypse, actually had a great game. All in all, Michigan started the season on an emphatic note with a dominating win over a BCS team that has a shot at competing for their conference championship.

When ranking the importance of every game Michigan will play this season from 1-12, Connecticut comes in 10th.

As always, the most important game is the last game. As always, the Ohio State game will blow every other opponent out of the water when it comes to importance. If Michigan wins this game, the rest of the season won't matter that much in comparison. Lose, and we will have to endure both the immediate pain of losing The Game and the long, depressing 12 months to wait for another shot at it. The Game will always play a large role in defining the season as a success or failure. Even if Michigan wins every other game, it will be an irrepressible blot looming over all of Michigan's accomplishments.

Number two on the importance scale is Michigan State. Losing to a school that we have branded "little brother" twice in a row has hurt. Every time MSU beats us, the in-state perception of us slips and MSU's is strengthened. Losing means that every State fan on this planet will crow about it to no end, meaning 12 months of agony will ensue for anyone who lives in Michigan. And beating our rivals is a big step in bringing back the pride to our football program that has dissipated after two abysmal seasons.

Number three is Notre Dame, our rival and strongest non-conference opponent. With both historic programs having gone through some very tough times recently that has led many across the nation to question each school's national relevance, winning this game is important from the standpoint of relative perception. And after winning a classic against them last year, they'll be gunning for us as Michigan goes on the road for the first time this season.

Number four is Purdue. Every conference game is highly important this year because even though Michigan is probably not going to compete for the Big Ten Championship yet, Michigan needs to reverse its fortunes in the conference. Rodriguez is 3-13 in Big Ten play with back-to-back last place finishes and this needs to change now. Of our non-rivalry Big Ten games, Purdue comes in at number one because Michigan need to shake off the bugbears of losing to Purdue(!) twice and there's some bad blood between Rodriguez and Danny Hope.

Number five is Illinois. Illinois is important because Michigan also needs to shake off the bugbears of being humiliated by Illinois(!) twice, even though there isn't much in the way of bad blood between the programs.

Numbers six is Indiana. Indiana normally would be a very unimportant Big Ten game, but this year is different. First of all, Indiana feels cheated after their last drive was killed by a controversial Donovan Warren interception and will be gunning for revenge as Michigan will play them on the road this year. Secondly, while Indiana is less talented than us, they do match up well against us, as their strength lies in their passing game where their talented receivers will attempt to victimize Michigan's weak secondary. Winning this game would mean that Michigan is capable of overcoming its weak secondary. Losing will signal to the Big Ten that Michigan is completely incapable of defending the pass and that going to the air against us is the path to victory, which would lead to disaster.

Number seven is Iowa. After a close loss in Iowa City last year, a second crack at them will draw attention to the game. Combining this with Michigan's ability to match up with them fairly well, as they have a weaker offense than the other top schools in the Big Ten this year (OSU and Wisconsin), means that they represent Michigan's best opportunity to beat a highly ranked team this year.

Number eight is Penn State. Their is no other team in the Big Ten that has appeared to benefit more from Michigan's coaching change than Penn State. Carr absolutely dominated them, while Rodriguez has been eviscerated by them twice. Also, this is another clearly winnable game against a ranked opponent, thanks to PSU's weakness at QB.

And number nine is Wisconsin. Wisconsin absolutely destroyed us last year and looks to be able to do the same this year. Keeping this game competitive is the best I'd hope for, as they will almost certainly victimize Michigan's defense to no end. Winning would be a gift, but if we are going to write off any game as a loss, this would be it.

Connecticut was not as important as any of these games. As has already been stated, Michigan really needs to do well in the Big Ten this year and our rivalry games are inherently more important than any other games. As such, the Connecticut game comes in tenth, only beating out what will hopefully be yawn-worthy MAC and FCS games.

Michigan got the season off on a great start. Now we get to walk the long road in front of us and see what this season brings.

1 Response to "The Road in Front of Us"

  1. Dark Blue says:

    Seth this is complete 100% bullshit. Just so you are aware.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes | Converted by BloggerTheme