This is IT.

It's funny how a ten-hour tailgate in Happy Valley makes a 3:30pm kickoff seem like it's too soon. A drizzling morning sky and chilly temperatures kept us huddled under the tents for much of the day. But just as it was time to head to the stadium, and not long after a mini-football war with GarsWorld, the skies cleared and the sun came through in full force to make the gametime temperature nearly 60 degrees.

A sluggish Wolverine offense mustered only three first-half points. Fortunately, that was three more than the Wolverine defense allowed in the same time period. The Wolverines would increase their offensive output every quarter, with 0 points in the first, 3 in the second, 7 in the third, and 10 in the fourth. Both Wolverine touchdowns came by way of Mike Hart, who along with the offensive line, became stronger as the game went on...while Iowa's defense got weaker. Chad Henne was as accurate as he has been all season, going 23-33 for 203 yards, despite some questionable pass blocking that resulted in 3 sacks and several scrambles.  

The Michigan defense reaffirmed their position as the best defense in the country. Even Drew Tate said so. They allowed just 1.7 yards per carry for a total of 41 yards, and did not allow a touchdown in the game for the first time this season. And while the game was close (10-6 heading into the 4th quarter), the result was never in doubt. Michigan wins 20-6 behind a second-half-heavy running game and brilliant defense.

The nation is ready for the impending game of the century between Michigan and Ohio State on November 18th, and for the next month, it's all you will hear about with regards to college football. The Big Two, Little Nine scenario so often referred to in the Big Ten has become a Big Two, Little 117 scenario for the nation. The winner of The Game will advance to, and become the odds-on favorite in, the BCS National Championship Game. All that stands in the way of the plan for the Wolverines is Northwestern, Ball State, and Indiana. For OSU, it's Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern. So, barring a miracle, THIS IS IT. But it doesn't feel like it, does it? Perhaps it's the amazing World Series run by our own Detroit Tigers that has muted your response to the Wolverines perfect season. Perhaps you are still reeling from last year's 7-5 abomination. Perhaps you're confidence has faded due to back-to-back average offensive performances. Perhaps you're just scared...of Ohio State...of Jim Tressel...of Columbus.

But seriously...THIS IS IT. It's everything you hoped for and more than you ever dreamt of. We have exercised the demons with convincing wins over Notre Dame and Wisconsin, handing both of them their only losses to this point. We returned the Little Brown Jug to Ann Arbor. We validated Super Mario's last second heroics of 2005 with yet another win at Penn State. We dominated two teams, Iowa and Michigan State, that took us to overtime just a year ago. We were handed one of the nation's toughest schedules, and remain unblemished through the late part of October. So it's time now to smile, celebrate a bit, puff up your chest, and walk tall. We're coming Columbus. I'M COMING COLUMBUS. Coming to ruin your pathetic lives once again.

So I Take the Week Off...

...and Captain Funnypants adorns the front of the world's greatest tailgating website with a pot leaf. Hmmmm. I guess when the cat's away the mice will play. But there's been no Iowa preview, no predictions...no one really stepped up in my absence. That's unfortunate, but I'll be back in full force next week.

So here's the Iowa mini-preview:

  • Iowa lost last week to Indiana

  • Drew Tate watched video of Michigan vs. Penn State and pooped his pants

  • Michigan leads the series 39-10-4

And here's the mini-predictions:

The Hammer:

  • Well the game everyone has been anticipating has arrived, although maybe not on the week expected. Ladies and gentlemen it is game three of the road to Ohio State. To recap, MSU wasn't a trap game nor was Penn State, so let me introduce you to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Battered, beleaguered and recently upset by one of the worst teams in the country. And what do we have to play for? We don't owe them anything and they're not very good. So let me ask again, what do we have to play for? Some may caution that this is the same University that almost pulled off an upset in the big house in '97 and that the same could hold true this year. But my theme for the season has been validation. Prove yourself each week. And Lloyd thankfully is on my side...

  • There should be something in there that's a motivating factor, because we don't live in a vacuum. We know where we are. If we're a smart football team, which we have been this year, then we understand that you better be focused on who's coming to town this week and what we need to do to get better. I think that's clear for all of us." Loud and clear. Crystal.

  • Michigan 31
    Iowa 10

The Xbox

  • Michigan 14, Iowa 10

The Webmaster:

  • Michigan 24, Iowa 0

Johnny Cleveland:

  • This has all the makings of the scare/trap game.  Iowa was supposed to be
    vying for a share of the Big Ten title and they go and lose to IU last
    week.  That coupled with *6 still being out are the worst things that
    could happen as our focus could be lost.  But this squad has been resilient
    all along and won't stop now.  Look for Iowa to lead early and maybe even
    at the half.  But the D will create turnovers eventually and we will be
    able to leave early to watch Game 1 of the series.  Michigan 30 Iowa 21

    OMVP : Hart
    DMVP : Hall

The Final Four: Just Four Games Remain In Quest For Championship

Goodbye Illini

What happened to the fight in the Fighting Illini? Illinois looked as if they may have been the worst team we've faced all season. Michigan got its ground game and defense back in order, punishing the Illini 56-14 in front of 110K+ at Michigan Stadium. It was good to be home and in our regular tailgate spot, as Italian cuisine filled the tables and Yucca killed our brain cells.

Destiny

Michigan faces a tough test next week, as the 6-1 Purdue Boilermakers come to town. But this is just the first of three remaining tough tests for the Wolverines, who after Purdue's victory over Wisconsin, now control their own destiny with regards to the Rose Bowl. That's right, if Michigan wins out, they will get at least a share of the Big Ten title, and without getting into the tiebreaker specifics, they will be the Big Ten's representative in the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines control there own destiny...but so does John Navarre.

Up Next...Halloween

The Italian Theme went over very well. Thanks to all that participated. Next week, we will celebrate Halloween with a turkey fry. So, wear your best Michigan costume, and we'll see you all there.