What we learned from Separation Saturday

Despite LSU's loss to Auburn, Kirk Herbstreit explains why the Bayou Bengals were one of the biggest winners on Separation Saturday.

Updated: September 20, 2006, 5:49 PM ET
By Kirk Herbstreit | Special to ESPN.com
After having played two lethargic games to start the season, the Michigan Wolverines came into South Bend on Saturday and made a huge statement. The anger and desire that had been building up the past nine months was on display in the Wolverines' 47-21 win over Notre Dame. To see Michigan not only win but dominate every phase of the game was the most impressive performance so far this season. I was happy to see the defense, under new defensive coordinator Ron English, play with great passion.

Mario Manningham
Joe Raymond/AP PhotoMario Manningham is just one of a handful of offensive weapons that Michigan QB Chad Henne has at his disposal.
Now that he's healthy, RB Mike Hart is the spark plug for that team, providing toughness in the running game. The Wolverines have a veteran leader in QB Chad Henne and an arsenal of wide receivers led by Mario Manningham.

The question has never been about Michigan's physical ability but about its passion and competitiveness for four quarters. (Michigan lost five games last year despite leading in the fourth quarter in each.) It's not practical for Michigan to play with that much energy every week; but as long as the Wolverines play with the same kind of focus and determination, they have the ability to beat everyone on their schedule and arrive in Columbus, Ohio, undefeated.

Kirk Herbstreit

College Football analyst
Kirk Herbstreit has been an ESPN college football studio analyst since August 1996. Herbstreit, who joined ESPN in September 1995 as a college football sideline analyst for ESPN2, is also a game analyst for ESPN's Thursday night college football telecasts.