ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Is this year’s Michigan football team actually different than others? Cade McNamara said it best after the Nebraska game.
“Michigan teams in the past, no disrespect, but I think since I’ve been at Michigan, we lose this game,” McNamara said after surviving a late scare against the Cornhuskers.
He’s right. Michigan teams of the past would have crumbled after blowing a 13-point lead -- and they would definitely lose this weekend’s top-10 matchup, too. It’s time for the Wolverines to prove themselves once again.
At the time, that Nebraska win felt like enormous for Jim Harbaugh. The Cornhuskers were an ascending team playing in an electric atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Nebraska turned around and lost to Minnesota the following week to fall to 3-5 on the season. It’s hard to claim that as a signature win for the Wolverines.
But Saturday’s trip to Michigan State leaves no room for doubt. It’s probably the biggest game for Michigan since the Ohio State matchup in 2018.
That game, like this one, featured two top-10 rivals: No. 4 Michigan and No. 10 Ohio State. The Wolverines were surprising favorites on the road and had a chance to cement themselves as one of the best teams in the country.
Sound familiar? Those are the stakes again as Michigan heads into East Lansing.
Harbaugh has had so many chances like this since he arrived at Michigan. Losses to Michigan State and Ohio State his first season. The heartbreaking 2016 double overtime loss in Columbus. Getting blown out by the Buckeyes in 2018. Trips to both Wisconsin and Penn State in 2019.
On top of that, the mind drifts to other recent Michigan State matchups that Michigan was supposed to win -- most notably last season, but also at home in 2017.
Sure, this year’s team has impressed so far, but Michigan football has done the same thing in these types of games year after year after year after year.
Will Saturday be different?
“I think we have something special here,” McNamara said after the Nebraska win.
This is certainly a chance to prove it.