Coming off of an escape win against Indiana, Michigan proved one thing: They are not the team we thought they were, they’re better. While the game looked like an almost certain Hoosiers win, Michigan was able to come from behind, upend Indiana’s defense, and steal a victory in Bloomington. With two crucial weeks in the Big 10 approaching, it’s time to look Michigan, an increasingly impressive sleeper pick to win the conference title.
Last week, Michigan needed a score as time expired and a goal line overtime stop to steal a win vs. Indiana, however throughout the entirety of the match, Michigan showed impressive bursts of offense. Jake Rudock led the way with six touchdown passes, four of which were to receiver Jehu Chesson. Their offense looked unstoppable and their defense looked helpless, but that's not the full story. Michigan’s defense is still one of the best in the nation; one that improves on a weekly basis. Without further adieu, here are the reasons Michigan is going to win the Big 10.
Reason one: Jake Rudock is finally the quarterback we wanted to see.
Rudock has traveled a long way since throwing three interceptions in Salt Lake. Initially a run first offense, Michigan was a team designed to control the clock at all costs. That was, until, Jake Rudock came alive. In the last two weeks, Rudock had an 8:1 touchdown to interception ratio all while averaging nearly 400 yards a game. The last Michigan quarterback to consecutively put up stats like that was Chad Henne. If Rudock continues to improve, the sky's the limit for Harbaugh’s offense.
Reason two: Michigan’s defense is still one of the best in the nation.
Even while Indiana was able to put up over 450 yards against Michigan, they still have one of the league's best defenses. In fact, statistically they have the second best defense in the nation, trailing only Boston College. They allow only 269 yards per game, and only 14.8 points a game. They also have arguably the best secondary in the nation, led by Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers. If Michigan’s defense continues to step up, I see no Big 10 team beating them anytime soon.
Reason three: They have a favorable schedule down the stretch.
This week Michigan takes on Penn State on the road, and next week they get Ohio State at home. Assuming Ohio State pulls off a home victory against Michigan State and that Michigan is able to ink one out on the road in Pennsylvania, “The Game” will turn into a Big 10 East Championship game. With or without any Michigan bias, it’s been easy to see just how much Ohio State has struggled against inferior opponents. Come the 28th, Ohio State will be going into the most hostile environment of the year, in whats sure to be an epic clash. By that time, this game will be between two top ten opponents playing for a chance at the title game.
Reason four: Iowa is overrated.
I love seeing the Big 10 get media attention through Ohio State and Iowa, but Iowa frankly isn’t good enough to compete with the big boys. This season, Iowa has beaten two top 25 opponents (Wisconsin and Northwestern) on the road. But other than that, their victories have not looked overly impressive. Iowa will already be a massive underdog regardless of who they play; look for them to get blown out in the Big 10 Championship game.
Week twelve predictions:
Ohio State defeats Michigan State 31-16
Michigan defeats Penn State 27-14
Week thirteen predictions:
Michigan defeats Ohio State 28-24
Big Ten Title Game predictions:
Michigan defeats Iowa 17-10