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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2011

End Zone: UM 10-6


When the season began, I identified four games Michigan should win, four games it might win, and four games in which I figured wins to be unlikely. As we creep up on the midway point of the season, all 12 games suddenly look winnable. My viewpoint has changed somewhat because Michigan is better than anyone anticipated. But one must ask, what in the heck is going on with the Big Ten?

Ohio State is an unmitigated disaster. Nebraska was embarrassed last week in a matchup at Wisconsin allegedly featuring the two best teams in the league. Michigan State has looked just so-so following an 11-win season in 2010. Northwestern, which will host Michigan in two days, lost to Army, which in turn lost to Ball State — by 27 points.

Penn State, which is not on Michigan’s schedule, is unwatchable. Illinois and Iowa are OK, and Minnesota, Indiana, and Purdue are the bottom feeders we all pegged them to be.

Did I forget anyone? Oh yes, Michigan. Juxtaposed to the rest of the Big Ten, the Wolverines are in a good spot, though before I put both feet on the bandwagon, I first want to see how they respond to road environments the next two weeks.

People argue Michigan’s No. 12 ranking in the Associated Press poll is not justified because the Wolverines have yet to play anyone of value. I agree, but it doesn’t appear they’ll have to.

Read more from Ryan on the Big House Blurbs blog at toledoblade.typepad.com/BigHouseBlurbs.

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