The Michigan Wolverines have one of college football's selection games in Week Four, as they travel to open their Big Ten slate on the road in Wisconsin. It's a matchup of No. 11 vs. No. 13 (per the AP poll) and a team that has clicked on all cylinders on its way to look away at enemies with 110-0 against a league rival who has blown to this point and needed double overtime to flee Army at home.
Pro Football Focus & # 39; UM's # 9 college rank in the country and Wisconsin # 1
They note that the winner will be considered "the top ten behind Ohio State" and that "this games will come down to the quarterback game, with Wisconsin having a better pass rating when clean and under pressure than the Wolverines have had in 2019. With just one negotiable throw, Jack Coan has done what it takes to win so far in the 2019. If he can deliver downfield while minimizing mistakes, the Badgers should be able to win on Saturday. "
They repeated the points on quarterbacks when they were motivated by the Wolverines' rankings.
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"Shea Patterson must fill in her first season performance against Middle Tennessee and forget his home game against the Army," they wrote. "If he posts a new passing level close to 86.2, the Wolverines should be able to cover and likely come out victorious on the road this Saturday. Things don't matter to Michigan because they have the tenth-hardest rest of the season plan and second-most when removing the SEC team. "
More of what they say on the Internet about the Wolverines is below:
Bill Connelly, ESPN.com: Why Michigan-Wisconsin is Week 4's Biggest Game and More
Both Badgers and Wolverines are coming off weeks and have therefore only played two matches. But they have left us with both limited and lasting impressions.
If we ranked teams solely by how they looked this season, ignoring past impressions or assumptions, Wisconsin would be the No. 1 team in the country right now. The Badgers humiliated USF and Central Michigan, surpassing them by 110 points and surpassing them by 819 yards. The next points they allow will be the first since the first quarter of last year's New Era Pinstripe Bowl. They have been devastating, albeit against teams ranked 86th and 119th, respectively, in SP +.
Michigan, meanwhile, is 2-0, but the Wolverines still threaten to steal the early-season Existential Crisis title from USC. They looked good enough in a 40-21 win over Middle Tennessee but needed a missed field goal attempt at the end of regulation and an overtime turnover to survive the Army. Harbaugh announced his intention to modernize his offense this season, hiring offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, but the results have been lacking so far.
However, it is still early and Michigan is still unbeaten. It is not too late to find traction, but it may be if they do not find it Saturday.
Heather Dinich, ESPN.com: Seven Week 4 Games That Will Shake Up the College Football Playoff
As tempting as it may be, don't eliminate the loser [of Michigan-Wisconsin]. What if they meet each other again for the Big Ten title and Saturday's loser wins it all? (See: Oklahoma v. Texas, 2018).
Yes, at some point Michigan offenses have to find their heart rate, and yes, Wisconsin has to "play somebody", but teams tend to look dramatically different between now and November.
Wisconsin enters this home field advantage, a Heisman Trophy that is hopeful of running back and an opportunity to change everything you thought you knew about the Big Ten race. Ohio State is still the top runner (49%, according to FPI), but Wisconsin is the only other school with more than a 10% chance of winning the conference. With a profit on Saturday, it would increase to 30%. The Badgers face both Michigan and Ohio State (Oct. 26) in crossover games, giving them a chance to prove they are the best in the league even before the Big Ten title.
Or … Michigan may make a statement that it's finally ready to fight under Jim Harbaugh.
Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports: After shaky season starts, are Shea Patterson and Michigan good enough to win the Big Ten East?
After scoring 14 points in regulation against the Army on September 7, the Wolverines returned to the workshop through an open date to try to deliver on the promise of freshly grounded dynamics in first-year coordinator Josh Gatti's offense. But the competition week also gave more time for media critics, frustrated fans – and frustrated players – to stay at the shaky show against Army.
"It was a profit on paper," says Josh Metellus security. "It wasn't a win for us."
It strikes a different tone than Patterson and says there would be no excuse for being 2-0. Again, Patterson is a cook-haired guy, noticeably shorter than his listed 6-foot-2 height but has an abundance of confidence.
It's a lifetime of quarterback confidence, really. Patterson joked that his self-insurance business was rocked in the fifth grade when his father was his coach, but not since. He has been all over the map, literally, as a football player – growing up in Toledo and then playing high school in Texas, Louisiana and Florida. Add two colleges to CV in a winding journey that has taken him from being the No. 1 pro-style quarterback recruit in the 2015 class to a threatening question mark 2019.
Is he good enough to lead Michigan to a Big Ten East title?
The Wisconsin game can provide the answer. If things don't go well, it may be time to back Dylan McCaffrey to get his shot.
Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press : Michigan football is not in an emergency yet, but a win would certainly be nice
Maybe to satisfy (for now) part of the Wolverines fan base, yes , it's a must-win game. But really, a loss doesn't end the season. It may be a Big Ten game, but the Badgers are still playing in the West Division, which means losing to them will not submarine U-M's chances in the east.
Will submarines give you confidence in them? A little. Still, this is a road game against a ranked team that is favored to beat the Wolverines.
So, no, this is not a final test of the state of the program. U-M will have more chances this season to show where it is at.
Ohio State, anyone?
However, a win over the No. 14 badger could drive the No. 10 Wolves to the kind of season they think they can have, giving Harbaugh a signature win along the way. It helps that he has had an extra week to prepare, which means he has had extra time to continue adjusting his renewed crime.
Aaron McMann, MLive: Michigan Football's Keys to Victory vs. Wisconsin
Michigan wins if it takes care of the football (one turnover or less) and completes five games of 25 yards or more. Penalties on the road will occur, especially when trying to pursue a new crime on the road. But they must be limited. Wolverine's turnover problems in the first two games have been well documented and they have to keep them to a minimum. Everything more than one and Michigan's chances of winning the thumb.
On the flip side, Michigan will lose the football game if there are offenses that are penalized an additional five or six times and turn the football over three times or more. The offense cannot give up more points of turnover and expects to beat a Big Ten opponent down the road. A repetition of the army game would not only end in defeat, but it would be ugly.
Orion Song, Detroit Free Press : Scouting report, prediction for Michigan at Wisconsin
Forcing them to pass: The Wolverines have never really shut down Taylor; even in their convincing victory last season, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. The key for U-M in that game: Stop Wisconsin passing games. On the first drive of the game, the badger was stopped at his 46 after a 3-yard finish on third and five. The second run ended in a similar fashion: They continued past the midfield, only to come after an incomplete pass on the first down and a sack on the third and long. Their third and fifth runs, both ending with points, saw the Punches unsuccessfully pass the ball in short yardage situations and second and third and long. And of course, Michigan came with two interceptions. The easiest way to slow Wisconsin: Forcing the offense to take the ball out of Taylor's hands.
Patterson in driving game: Michigan broke out its arc zone reading package with resounding success against the Badgers last fall and integrated Patterson into the driving game. Michigan's first point drive began with an 81-yard drive from Patterson – a huge win that set the tone for the rest of the night. The Wolverines still have that game in their offense and use it successfully against the state of Tennessee, but the Army shut it off. The badgers are also ready for it. If Wisconsin sells out to stop the game, Michigan must be ready to counter – or it may be more difficult to run the ball than last fall.
Jim Polzin, Wisconsin State Journal: Who has the edge when the Wisconsin Badgers host the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten opener?
The Wolverines defense has been fantastic under coordinator Don Brown, who joined the staff after the 2015 season. Michigan has not found a way to turn off UW tailgate Jonathan Taylor (above) – 233 yards on 36 cars in two games – but it has made the Badgers one-dimensional in three games under Brown's direction.
UW has just completed 39.1 percent of its passes – 25 of 64 – for 331 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions in those games.
This will be the first major test for the entire UW offense, but especially for the offensive line. Michigan had to replace a handful of stars from its 2018 unit, but seniors Khaleke Hudson, Devin Gill, Lavert Hill and Josh Metellus are athletic players who can put the Badgers in some uncomfortable positions.
… UW has converted 65.4 percent of its third declines (17 of 26), leading the nation. But the Badgers have had problems in that category during their previous three games against Michigan, a combination of 11 of 41 (26.8 percent).
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