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Don't Drink the Kool-Aid...Yet

I can't believe how many people are changing their tune about Michigan after one game. Have we learned nothing from 2009?

Michigan's decisive victory over Connecticut on September 4, 2010 is pretty reminiscent of their season-opening victory over Western Michigan in 2009. Michigan faced a team that was supposed to be good then, too. And that team turned out to disappoint against Michigan and, ultimately, proved to be overrated the rest of the season...and, as expectations rose and then fell, so did Michigan. Like UConn, Western Michigan got very little going on offense. And Michigan's defense appeared to be back on track against the Broncos, just as it did Saturday afternoon against the Huskies. Michigan's offense looked explosive against WMU, as it did against UConn, but that offense was nowhere to be found in the second half of the 2009 season.

We have been here before...and we didn't like how the story ended. Do yourself a favor, if you're a Michigan fan--don't get your hopes up. Don't read too much into this game. And sports analysts, writers and commentators, please refrain from giving Michigan props. Plenty of Michigan fans are sick of you building the Wolverines up and then tearing them down a few weeks later, lecturing them about patience and what a good coach Rich Rodriguez is when you were acting as if Michigan is "back" just weeks before. Everyone, keep some perspective.

If you want to take anything away from this Michigan victory, this is it:

The Michigan State game has never been more important for Michigan. There is a very good chance that Michigan will enter that game 5-0. There is also a decent chance that Michigan won't win another game after it (don't look at me like that--have you learned nothing from the past two seasons about overlooking Purdue and Illinois???). It's a rivalry game, one that Michigan is in danger of dropping three years in a row--something that not only is downright unthinkable, but just flatout cannot happen for Rich Rodriguez's sake. This game could make Michigan bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. It could also stand in the way of Michigan's bowl eligibility and send them to another 5-7 season record. It's at Michigan Stadium, and it's the first conference game of the season--a home game that Michigan almost never loses. It's hard to admit, but, for the first time, the Michigan State game might matter more than the Ohio State one. And this might be the first time all season that we really get to see what Michigan is all about, especially on defense, because UConn really did not test Michigan's secondary. And Denard Robinson's skills will be nothing new to teams by then, as well.

So, don't start buying into Michigan--at least not until they begin conference play against Indiana. Wait patiently and circle October 9 and October 16, when the Wolverines face Michigan State and Iowa, respectively. Only in those games will we learn exactly what we should believe about how good Michigan is and how safe Rich Rodriguez's job is.

Ren Simon


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