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Know Your Enemy - Michigan Wolverines

Let’s talk about Michigan!

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about Michigan, everyone else is, but you’ve gotta admit they’ve got a great color scheme, great uniforms including helmets, a great fight song, and right now they’ve got one of the best football teams in the country. Lucky for us, we’ve got Nick Durand from Maize ‘N Brew to give us more information on tomorrow’s opponent.

What is your reaction to the current sign stealing fiasco? It has no bearing on this game but it’s all anyone is talking about.

For right now in regards to the sign stealing scandal, I think I’d take more of a wait and see approach and see what information continues to come out. Obviously there has been plenty of evidence that’s pretty damning for Michigan, but I also think it’s fair to wonder how much of it is accurate, especially when some information that’s been reported throughout this has been debunked (such as the reports about Harbaugh’s contract). I don’t think that there’s any arguing against sign stealing occurring in general, it’s something that was likely going on, but I think for now its best to let the investigation run its full course and understand the true scope of it before we hand down any punishment.

Michigan obviously has had a great season and there’s no reason to think (without lots of Boiler Gold in your system) that Purdue will derail them. What does Michigan need out of this game? Is health just priority number one?

I think health is priority number one in this game. It’s something that Jim Harbaugh has talked about before this season, where the main goals are to simply win the game and stay health. I don’t think it’s Michigan’s mission to go out and win any given game by 40+ points, so they shouldn’t trip up by going for style points. I will say though, this can certainly be a tough spot, seeing as Michigan has a road matchup with Penn State looming. It also wouldn’t be the first time we see a team come out of a bye week a sluggish. All in all, the mission should simply be to get the win and keep everyone healthy.

What has Harbaugh done to turn this program from the team that couldn’t beat Ohio State to the team that is expected to beat Ohio State again this year and win their third conference title in a row?

I think the biggest change we’ve seen for Michigan over the last three years is its commitment to fundamentals and understanding its own identity. From 2015-2020, I think we saw Michigan have an identity crisis and not understand what it was. Now however, Michigan has found something that works (particularly on offense) and has opted to stick to it. I think by now, most people have heard how FOX’s Joel Klatt labeled Michigan as a “boa constrictor” that is perfectly content to simply squeeze the life out of its opponents by using good fundamentals and not straying from its strategy of grounding and pounding opponents. Now that Michigan and Jim Harbaugh understand what works, they’ve done a great job of sticking to their guns and executing game after game, regardless of what outsiders may think.

Khakis and milk, where do you stand?

Khakis are solid, for me at least. Going back to the last question though I think it’s safe to say that they were holding Jim Harbaugh back. Honestly, I don’t think he’s worn them in a game since 2020. Can’t go wrong with milk either, it never disappoints.

Let’s enter a dream world where Purdue wins this game, can you think of any way that happens?

J.J. McCarthy has a terrible game or doesn’t play at all. I don’t necessarily think that Michigan’s offense solely relies on J.J. McCarthy, due to the presence of Blake Corum and a stout offensive line, but McCarthy has been responsible for much of their success this year, and a bad game from him would certainly open the door for Purdue. However, Michigan’s defense would have to struggle too, seeing as it’s currently ranked among the nation’s best. I do think Hudson Card has a chance to make things sort of interesting with his ability to use his legs and make plays. Even running back Devein Mockobee had some success against this Michigan defense last year, so another good outing from him would need to be in the cards.

Care to give us a final score prediction? Does Purdue find a way to cover the 30+ point spread?

I don’t think Purdue is able to cover the spread in this one and Michigan comes away with a 45-7 win. I think Michigan will play with some fire in the midst of all the sign stealing allegations. Coupled with the fact that the Wolverines are playing at home and will be well rested off the bye week only adds to that fire.