In Week 1 of the season, Notre Dame looked pretty dominant in a 24-17 win over Michigan football. The score wasn’t totally indicative of how far apart the two teams played.
Both teams look much different than they did back in early September.
Ian Book has taken over has starting quarterback at Notre Dame. Brandon Wimbush was dynamic in that win over the Wolverines, but Book adds a lot to Brian Kelly’s passing attack.
Michigan kept with Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson at quarterback after his struggled against the Fighting Irish. He has gotten much better over the course of the season, and Karan Higdon has emerged as one of the Big Ten’s best running backs.
In the latest College Football Playoff poll revealed last night, Michigan football slid into the No. 4 spot, right behind Notre Dame.
The Wolverines are on a hot streak, and it isn’t a stretch to argue that they’ve looked better than the Fighting Irish over the last few weeks.
That head-to-head win means a lot as these two teams continue down the Playoff path. It might not hold up if Notre Dame loses a game, though.
FS1’s Joel Klatt joined Colin Cowherd on The Herd this afternoon. He think the Fighting Irish are going to have their hands full with Syracuse next week at Yankee Stadium, and if they lose, Michigan will jump them despite the head-to-head result.
From his appearance, after Cowherd questioned Klatt having Michigan ahead of Notre Dame as his third best team in the country:
“…that was a long time ago. Michigan’s playing better football right now. They just beat Penn State, basically to death. They just boat raced them.
Notre Dame has struggled during these last few weeks. They struggled against Pitt. They didn’t play great against Northwestern. I think they might have some trouble down the stretch here against Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. That’s a neutral site game in New York.”
Cowherd asked about the scenario in which Michigan and Oklahoma both win out, capturing the Big Ten and Big 12 titles respectively, with one loss a piece, as well as how Notre Dame factors in with a hypothetical loss.
“I would put Michigan ahead of Oklahoma… I think Notre Dame with one loss would lose an argument to Michigan or Oklahoma. I think Georgia is going to get a second loss to Alabama.”
Head to head results mean a lot, but they aren’t everything, and Michigan benefits from that game having gone down in Week 1. The Wolverines look like a different football team here in November, and if they do run the table, whether or not Notre Dame is undefeated, it is hard to imagine them not making the College Football Playoff field.