ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It was a long bye week, but No. 5 Michigan football is back in action this weekend against No. 14 Penn State.
The Wolverines have knocked off Wisconsin and Michigan State in their last two games, and Penn State is the final chapter of a difficult three-game stretch against ranked teams.
If Michigan can survive, it will likely move into the critical No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.
We've got everything you need heading into Saturday!
Next stop on 'revenge tour'
Plenty of fuel against Penn State
Remember when Penn State beat Michigan by 29 points last season? Remember when James Franklin decided to try to score in the final minute despite being ahead 42-13?
Michigan certainly remembers, and Don Brown said he thinks about the 500 yards Penn State gained on his defense every day.
That's bad news for Trace McSorley and company.
Penn State provides unique challenge
The road game against Michigan State was the most difficult test for Michigan since the opener, but Penn State is probably the best team on the schedule over that span.
McSorley is a difficult matchup for the No. 1 ranked Michigan defense, even though his numbers aren't as gaudy as last season.
Coming off a bye, with a top-five CFP ranking to defend, there's a lot on the plate for the Wolverines, and they need to rise to the challenge.
What if WR Tarik Black returns?
After he appeared on the field briefly in East Lansing, the speculation surrounding Tarik Black's return spiked considerably.
He's only caught a handful of passes in his college career, but Black could possibly be Michigan's best receiver when healthy. If he's added to a unit that includes Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, Shea Patterson will have plenty of weapons.
The dominant wide receiver corps that Harbaugh had in mind during the 2017 recruiting cycle could finally come to fruition.
Everything on the line for Michigan
It's a huge game for Michigan, which will have to defend its CFP ranking for the first time while coming off a bye.
Penn State is a talented, desperate team, and Michigan will face some adversity. If the Wolverines can respond like they did against Michigan State, they will add another excellent win to their resume.
This is a massive game for both teams, but more is on the line for Michigan.
Michigan's playoff hopes
Michigan ranked No. 5
There weren't any surprises for Michigan when the first College Football Playoff rankings were released, as it landed at No. 5 behind Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame.
Michigan is the highest ranked team in the Big Ten and one of a few teams that has a clear path to the top four.
Ranking Michigan's resume against other 1-loss teams
We now know that Michigan is considered the second-best one-loss team in the country by the CFP committee behind LSU, but did they get it right?
There are eight one-loss Power Five teams, and Michigan has one of the best resumes among those teams.
Where do the Wolverines rank?
Michigan wins important rankings battle
There was one team that could have negatively impacted Michigan when the first CFP rankings were released, but the committee favored Michigan.
Now, the Wolverines control their own destiny, and if they win out, they will be one of the country's top four teams.
Why was the ranking battle between Michigan and Oklahoma so critical?
How Michigan would survive worst-case playoff scenarios
Immediately after the CFP rankings were announced, fans were scrambling to discuss how some teams could possibly get in and how others could be left out.
The most concerning scenarios for Michigan involve a potential one-loss Alabama team, along with another concern about Oklahoma.
Would Michigan still get into the College Football Playoff in these scenarios?
Wolverines could end up with 4 ranked wins this weekend
Right now, Michigan has zero wins against teams ranked in the CFP poll. By Sunday, it's possible Michigan could have four such wins.
That would be more than any other team in the nation.
It starts with Michigan handling its business against Penn State, but three other teams also have to win.