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Hoke’s Proving Ground: Look Forward or Respect Illinois?

October 13th, 2012 at 11:07 AM
By Joye Pruitt

 

'IMG_1816' photo (c) 2006, Brian Holsclaw - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Brady Hoke doesn’t want the Michigan Wolverines to look past any game in the Big Ten, ESPN reports. Just focus on one game at a time and things will forge forward in their favor.

What a crock of bull that is to any fan or sports analyst because while the Wolverines are directing their attention to the Illinois Fighting Illini, outsiders can’t help but remember that Michigan hasn’t won a meeting against the Michigan State football team in four years.

The Spartans and the Wolverines collide Oct.20.

The Spartans are a way bigger problem than the Fighting Illini. If the Wolverines catch themselves looking past another team, especially one in the Big Ten, they could be in trouble like they almost were against the Air Force Falcons earlier in the season.

The University of Michigan is watching their football team climb almost back into the Top 25 rankings for college football and a win over a conference opponent could do just that. Illinois isn’t a BCS bowl-caliber program but a win is a win nonetheless.

Walking into Saturday’s game against Michigan Illinois is vastly overlooked. Actually, that term seems a little misrepresented because to be overlooked you have to be worth the view. Illini’s rush defense is ranked somewhere between 30 and 40 in the league, but minus their running quarterback and few stout defensive components, they aren’t really a team that anyone fears.

Michigan is way better than they showed up in Week 1 of the 2012 season and are seemingly getting back into a groove just in time for conference play. Michigan football in general is unsuspectingly mediocre on occasion. The only scary thing about playing the Fighting Illini is that they may dig deep and find some source of talent that overpowers the Wolverines in the fourth quarter and send Michigan fans into a deeper spiral than the loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Going into the Michigan State game after an awkward loss to an obviously inferior squad could be a confidence killer and the offense needs no help being off balance against the Spartans’ defense. If the front four were going to have a field day getting after Denard Robinson and stopping an already miniscule running game outside of the quarterback position, they would eat a Debbie Downer Michigan offense alive.

Losing to Illinois because of an overpowering sense of elitism is kind of risky so fans have to respect where Brady Hoke is coming from. The loss could have a trickle effect against a more important opponent and another embarrassment against an in-state rival is unacceptable. Can you imagine Robinson being drafted and never winning a game against the Michigan State Spartans?

Tags: Michigan, Michigan Wolverines, NCAA

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