BY H. JOSE BOSCH
The parity bug has bitten college football. This is the fewest number of weeks it has ever taken for every preseason top-10 team to lose at least one game.
All these upsets have made for compelling television, but it has also made it hard to make picks. Now picking national games is more dangerous than standing between Kansas coach Mark Mangino and a batch of cookies.
For better or worse, these three weeks have had everybody scratching their heads, and this week will be no different.
No. 2 South Florida at Rutgers, tonight, 7:30 p.m. - ESPN/ESPN 360
BY DANIEL BROMWICH
Teammates say Hart will return for Illinois
BY KEVIN WRIGHT
Remember way back on Sept. 1 when Michigan was ranked No. 5 in the nation?
Now, after two blowout victories and three grind-it-out wins, Michigan once again cracked the Associated Press Top 25 poll this past Sunday.
No. 24 doesn't seem that impressive, but if you consider where this team has come from, the ranking is much more of an accomplishment.
How did the Wolverines, a dismayed group after an 0-2 start, win five in a row and find themselves one of just two unbeaten Big Ten teams in conference play?
It started with a shift in focus.
BY JACK HERMAN
After Michigan lost to Appalachian State to open its season, Associated Press voters added insult to insult when they dropped the fifth-ranked Wolverines from the top 25 rankings.
It marked the first time since an Oct. 15, 2005 loss to Minnesota that dropped the Wolverines' record to 3-3 Michigan sat unranked. No team had ever fallen further.
But one embarrassing loss and five straight redeeming wins later, and Michigan has inched its way back into the rankings. The Wolverines ranked 24th in the poll released this weekend.
BY SCOTT BELL
After back-to-back slow starts, the Michigan offense knew it had to strike quickly against Purdue. Facing a team with the ability to put up a lot of points, the Wolverines had to look to offensive stars Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Mario Manningham to outscore the high-flying Boilermaker offense.
And though all three of them had great games, Michigan's best weapon may have come from outside the trio. The most help came from an unexpected place - the defense.
Time and again, the Wolverine offense started in Purdue territory because of turnovers forced by their defense.
BY SCOTT BELL
Michigan was college football's laughing stock after week one. Now people are talking about a return trip to Pasadena. Where should expectations rest? Probably somewhere in the middle. With five games left, Michigan could do anything from run the table and win a Big Ten title, to falter against its rival and in some other tough road games. Who should you fear the most? Here's my guess.
(3-1 Big Ten, 5-2 overall)
The Michigan Daily football writers break down the weekend's stats that don't show up in the boxscore. The defense-o-meter measures the intensity of the defense, the Carr-o-meter judges Lloyd Carr's demeanor following the game and the hypemeter measures the fans' game performance.
The Michigan Daily Top 10 returns for its fourth installment in this young season. Each week, Daily Sports staffers will fill out ballots, with first place votes receiving 10 points, second-place votes receiving nine, and so on. The results are published with first-place votes in parentheses.
1. Ohio State (6): This ranking is more other teams losing than the Buckeyes winning. With a 48-3 over Kent State, Ohio State added another unimpressive win to its resume. Talk to us on Nov. 18.
Staff Picks recap: Oh how the mighty have fallen. After a great first four weeks, the Daily's football beat has, well, struggled, in the past two. Scott Bell topped everyone once again - his fourth time with that distinction already this season. He only managed to go .500 for the week, though. Everyone else was below that number, including returning guest picker Chad Gerencer, who won't be returning next week after a 9-15 performance. Daniel Bromwich was the only picker to get his best bet right this week.