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Published: Thursday, 10/1/2009

The End Zone: Michigan

Michigan beat writer Ryan Autullo Michigan beat writer Ryan Autullo

Michigan fans shouldn't fall into a deep depression if their unbeaten team begins to derail a bit. It won't mean the Wolverines caved under mounting expectations, or that Tate Forcier is suddenly overrated, or that Rich Rodriguez is once again a poor fit for the job. It will simply mean UM is an above average team that benefited from a September schedule that included four home games, two against non-BCS programs and one against a non-BCS-caliber program. Sorry Indiana.

Should maize and blue backers be legitimately happy with an uninspired win over Eastern Michigan two weeks ago? Or that Indiana nearly snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Wolverines last week? The answer to both: Yes. Before the season it looked like UM might be lousy again — and it's not.

But the Wolverines have hardly been a dominant team. The defense is strangely undersized in relation to other Big Ten units and approaches tackling the same way Michael Moore approaches a decent men's department. Offensively, UM has been stellar, but let's see if Forcier and friends can stand nose-to-nose to an insensitive road crowd without flinching, beginning at Michigan State.

Convinced I'm wrong? Do you see 10 wins? Twelve? Comparing travel prices for an early 2010 trip to Pasadena? Talking a little noise to OSU fans? Knock yourself out. But be prepared to re-adjust expectations for the second time this year.

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