Michigan Wolverines Have A Big Need For The Little Brown Jug


This year’s Little Brown Jug is a very big deal.  I know what you’re thinking.  The Michigan Wolverines aren’t playing Ohio State or Michigan State (again) this weekend.  They’re not even playing Penn State.  Michigan is “only” playing Minnesota.  They’ve beaten the Gophers 23 of the last 26 times they’ve met.  Minnesota stands merely 4-3 this season, and Michigan is a 13 point favorite. Even so, this year is different.

Sometimes it’s not who you’re playing, but when you play them.

This Saturday’s game comes at a critical point in Michigan’s football season. The Wolverines have had two weeks to stew over the last second disaster against Michigan State. Coach Jim Harbaugh has made it a point (a few times) to explain and exclaim how Michigan’s season will not be defined by the loss to the Spartans.  Harbaugh has also pointed out that he will not really be over the loss to MSU, until Michigan gets their next win. Next up is Minnesota.

Wolverines fans want to know things are different (and better) than past disappointing years under Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez. Six games into this season, Michigan supporters had reason to believe whole-heartedly in the Harbaugh era. The Wolverines were 5-1 (their only loss, a close one, to a seemingly quality Utah team). Big Blue had a dominating defense. They were shutting teams out, left and right. They were getting explosive and timely plays from their offense and special teams.  They were winning big.

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Then the disaster against the Spartans happened, and doubts started creeping in (again). Are things really different under Harbaugh?  Hoke and Rodriguez lost most of their rivalry and big games at Michigan. To be blunt, Harbaugh’s Wolverines have lost to their two toughest opponents this year.

But the Wolverines have a chance to steer the ship back on course. That makes this Saturday’s game against the Gophers such a big deal. The Wolverines can take that doubt, or those doubters, and shut them up again. The Wolverines can win Saturday’s game, win big, build momentum for a positive next chapter of the season, and show that this year’s team is different.

And sometimes it IS about who you’re playing.

Minnesota is not Michigan state or Ohio State (or even Penn State). But they are a conference opponent, with a winning record, (who won last year’s matchup with Michigan – and expected to do so), playing in front of their home crowd, and likely playing with extra motivation and inspiration (in light of head coach Jerry Kill’s sudden retirement). Minnesota’s defensive coordinator (now coach) Tracy Claeys claims he sees a different Michigan team this year, under Harbaugh.  That could be true. Or it might just be lip service, in order to give the Wolverines a false sense of security (and motivate his own team).

Michigan doesn’t just want this win. They need it. The Harbaugh era needs it. The Wolverines themselves need it. And Wolverines fans need it too. It’s time to take back the Little Brown Jug, and take it back with a vengeance.

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Go Blue!