Michigan takes College Football Playoff hopes on road to battle Rutgers

Wolverines ranked No. 4 in CFP poll

Michigan has owned Rutgers since Chris Ash and Jim Harbaugh took over as the head coaches (Getty Images)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Whew, it's been quite a month for the Michigan football program.

The "revenge tour" consumed Ann Arbor over the last several weeks as Michigan rolled past Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State in convincing fashion.

Now the No. 4 team in the country will hit the road for a very different type of test.

For the first time three games, Michigan's opponent will certainly not be ranked. The Wolverines are favored by more than five touchdowns against Rutgers and hope to bolster their resume with a massive blowout.

Here are this week's Michigan football headlines!

8 exciting freshmen who could play this week

Thanks to the NCAA's new redshirt rule, players can appear in four games without losing a year of eligibility. That means if Michigan takes a big lead against Rutgers, some guys who haven't stepped on the field might get a chance.

Michigan has several true freshmen who haven't reached their four-game ceiling, and giving them several snaps against Rutgers is a perfect introduction to the college game.

It's a tricky decision for coach Jim Harbaugh, but one that could keep Michigan fans interested in the second half.

We singled out eight freshmen who could play this weekend because of the new redshirt rule.

Read the full story here.

Is this Michigan's most dominant streak since 1997?

That's right, we're talking '97. As in, the national championship team (sorry, Nebraska).

The Wolverines have won eight in a row. Seven have been blowouts and three have come against ranked teams.

The 42-7 drubbing of then-No. 14 Penn State was the latest chapter in the streak, and it begs the question: When's the last time Michigan was this dominant for this long?

We also broke down just how dominant Michigan has been these last nine weeks.

Read the full story here.

Michigan has best resume of any one-loss team

There are a handful of strong one-loss teams in college football, and if Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame keep winning, they'll all be battling for just one spot in the playoff.

Michigan, Georgia and Oklahoma are the top three one-loss teams, but Ohio State, Washington State and West Virginia are also having excellent seasons.

But Michigan's resume is the best, and it's really not even close.

Read the full story here.

Michigan defense vs. Rutgers offense is massive mismatch

You know those disastrous little league games when the team stacked with athletic kids plays the team made up of the extra players who signed up late? That's what it could look like Saturday when Rutgers' offense lines up against Michigan's defense.

The Wolverines have by far the best total defense in the country, allowing nearly 50 fewer yards per game than any team in the nation. Rutgers, meanwhile, ranks outside the top 100 in total offense, passing offense and rushing offense.

Yeah, it could be a long game for the Scarlet Knights.

Read the full story here.

8 realistic goals for Michigan against Rutgers

It's not good enough for Michigan to beat Rutgers. It's a crowded College Football Playoff race, and the Wolverines need to be impressive.

Whether it's holding Rutgers scoreless or getting guys like Tarik Black and Rashan Gary involved after injury, there's a lot Michigan can accomplish this weekend.

Oh yeah, and Karan Higdon is approaching a major milestone, too.

Read the full story here.

Does Michigan have any reason to worry?

College football gets crazy sometimes. There are upsets every single week. But does Michigan really have to worry about Rutgers?

The Wolverines have much better players and coaches, and they have more on the line. Yes, Rutgers has been playing better recently, but Michigan wouldn't let its playoff hopes die in Piscataway, right?

Read the full story here.

Michigan's dream scenario this weekend

Michigan controls its own destiny for the College Football Playoff. At least, most people believe so.

There are a couple scenarios -- such as Georgia beating Alabama and both teams getting in at 12-1 -- that make Michigan fans nervous.

Never fear, because we've drawn up the perfect scenario for this weekend, as Michigan hopes to win and move up in the CFP poll.

Read the full story here.

Why Michigan needs to win convincingly

If Michigan was undefeated, it wouldn't need to worry about scoring margin or style points. But with so many one-loss teams in the mix, it can't afford to play a close game against Rutgers.

Both Georgia and Oklahoma will play winning teams this weekend and have a chance to bolster their resumes. The only way Michigan can keep up is by winning the eye test at Rutgers.

At the very least, Michigan should try to cover the 40-point spread.

Read the full story here.

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