Commentary

Summer Stock: Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines' ceiling is high, with a new-look QB and an improving D

Originally Published: May 25, 2011
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Denard RobinsonLeon Halip/Getty ImagesDenard Robinson will be asked to do more as a passer in 2011.

This article is part of our "Summer Stock" series, a three-week look at the programs generating the most buzz coming out of spring practice.

Michigan Wolverines

Up until the 1969 season, the rivalry between the Michigan and Ohio State wasn't all that compelling because of the one-sidedness of their battles. That changed with the Ann Arbor arrival of Bo Schembechler, who led the famous 10-year war against Woody Hayes that altered the state of the UM-OSU matchup.

Regrettably for Michigan backers, this rivalry has reverted to its pre-1969 ways over the past 10 years. Ohio State has come away victorious in nine of those contests and, while many of the games were close, the Buckeyes have won the past three by a cumulative score of 100-24.

New Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has been brought in to change this. He certainly fits the bill from an anti-Buckeyes standpoint, saying that the games against "Ohio" (he won't say the words Ohio and State together) are "almost personal."

But a passionate dislike of the Buckeyes won't be enough to get the Wolverines back on par with the defending Big Ten co-champions. Which is why it's a good thing there are many reasons to believe that Hoke's team could be a lot closer to making a run at a conference title than is generally thought, starting with a surprising element: the potential passing ability of quarterback Denard Robinson.