Michigan is a three-point favorite against Indiana this weekend but we all know that doesn't mean a thing. The Wolverines were favored by three touchdowns against Michigan State and limped out of The Big House with a big fat L.
If Indiana paid attention to last week's debacle, they should be able to find some success against the Wolverines unless the maize and blue coaching staff overhauls several things on both sides of the ball. Can Michigan beat No. 13 Indiana as usual, or will the Hoosiers win for the first time in more than three decades?
Recent history is playing a huge factor in my prediction here. History shows that Jim Harbaugh has never beaten a higher-ranked team on the road during his time at Michigan. History also shows that Don Brown refuses to make meaningful adjustments defensively, particularly in the secondary. If the Hoosiers attack the Wolverines where they are most vulnerable (at the corner position), Indiana likely ends the 24-game losing streak today.
Indiana 34, Michigan 24
I just can't do it. I can't pick Indiana to beat Michigan. I don't care how bad U-M looked last week, I don't care how vanilla the offense was, I don't care how stubborn Don Brown was, I just can't call it for the Hoosiers.
Plus, Harbaugh and Co. know they must win this game or the mobs and pitchforks will really be out. The fanbase's confidence in Harbaugh shrunk in a big way after the bad loss to the Spartans, but falling to 1-2 with losses to an inferior rival and Indiana after winning for 33 years is going to send massive ripples through the maize and blue faithful.
Those are the mental reasons.
On the field, Michigan just has more talent. That's certainly the case when comparing Michigan to MSU as well, but you simply cannot lose two games in a row that really should be wins. It can not happen.
It sounds like the Wolverines will be without a few key players but I still think U-M's talented stable of backs, speedy receivers and potentially dominant defensive front seven will be enough to win. I expect Daxton Hill to keep Whop Philyor in check and I just can't see another week going by without a sack by Aidan Hutchinson, Kwity Paye or some combination of blitzing linebackers.
This is a must-win game for Harbaugh and Co. and I just don't think they can play as poorly as they did a week ago.
Michigan 38, Indiana 27
Last week couldn't have gone much worse for the Wolverines, so it'll be interesting to see how they respond. I'm most interested in seeing what changes the coaches make after last week. Don Brown can't watch film from the MSU game and repeatedly leave his corners on an island again, can he? Jim Harbaugh and Josh Gattis can't try to pound the run game against a loaded box again, can they? I want to see what solutions the two coordinators come up with. I also want to see Joe Milton unleashed a little bit in the passing game. We haven't seen much of Indiana yet, but this Hoosier team proved in Week 1's upset of Penn State that you can't just come at them with superior athletes and a vanilla game plan and expect to walk out with a win. All eyes are on the Michigan coaching staff today.
Michigan 38, Indiana 34
Coming off such a deflating loss to MSU, the Wolverines will have spent the week keying in on pivotal mistakes made last week. While that is crucial to reversing the result from game two, it can also cause guys to play tight. Given that, I think Michigan will start off slow and take a few drives to get into a groove. However, once that happens, the Michigan run game will break off a few runs and U-M will put seven points up after a drive compared to three points more often than not. While the Hoosiers will still score their fair share, a 31-21 victory is what jumps out to me as a likely conclusion.
Michigan 31, Indiana 21
The key for the Wolverines defense will be keeping wideout Whop Philyor in check. If they want to come out of Bloomington with a win, the Wolverines' secondary can not continuously give up long catches to Philyor. Though I don’t think the Wolverines will completely shut down Philyor, they should stop him enough to win this game. The Wolverines aren’t as bad as they played last weekend, and even though Indiana is certainly on the rise, they haven’t beaten Michigan in 33 years. After getting trashed by the media all week, Harbaugh and the Wolverines will come out of the gate fast. This simply is a must win for Harbaugh and Michigan, which is why I just can’t see them losing to a team that has inferior athletes to them.
Michigan 34, Indiana 28