So the season comes down to this - a one-game, winner take all (the buffalo wings) contest for a bowl game victory that won't salvage a disappointing season, but will help one team feel better about its year.
Sounds exhilarating, no?
It's now about making the best of a bad situation now for Michigan, one that got worse when it became clear redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner wouldn't play. Queue freshman Shane Morris, aka Laser Rocket, aka the latest, bestest quarterback recruit ever guaranteed to only thrown incompletions in clock situations at the ends of games.
Sarcasm aside, Morris has all the tools to be a very good quarterback in time. It's hard to believe that time is now, but - you never know. We'd feel better about his chance for success if the offensive line, running game, etc. were better, but it is what it is. It's trial by fire, and the former Elite 11 standout will face 12 angry men on the Kansas State defense (we're including the Wildcats' coordinator, though we're told he's a pretty nice guy) Saturday night.
Congratulations again to our staff in failing to gauge yet another game, Michigan's narrow, one-point loss over Ohio State. We give you credit if you read beyond this point.
This week's winner receives a lifetime supply of Detroit Lions playoff tickets, including Super Bowls!
Chris Balas: After years and years of astute picks (just ask me), Team 134 has me stumped. This team should lose without Devin Gardner. It's just not very good. And that's why it will probably (not) win.
Logic be damned. And pass the parmesan garlic.
Michigan 24, Kansas State 21
John Borton: This will be great experience for Shane Morris. Perhaps not a great experience for one night, but eventually.
Kansas State 27, Michigan 20
Mike Spath: If Michigan is to win this game, it needs to have its best defensive performance of the season, limit turnovers and eke out a narrow victory, 17-14 or so. But the defense will have a difficult time with Kansas State's option attack, and Shane Morris, in his first career start, can't expect to play turnover-free football. It won't be ugly, but it will be a loss.
Kansas State 24, Michigan 14
Andy Reid: This isn't a fight for the 2013 season. The Wolverines lost that battle a long time ago - sometime between the dud in East Lansing and the thing that passed for a football game against Nebraska the following week, the start of a miserable run in November. The difference between 8-5 and 7-6 is merely trivial. Instead, this is a fight for the future, a chance for the Wolverines to close the door on a disheartening season and lay the foundation for something - anything - better in the immediate future. This is a fight for a solid start to 2014, and I fully expect this team, especially the full cast of youngsters who will be back, to come out swinging.
Michigan 28, Kansas State 21
Tim Sullivan: Michigan's season didn't live up to expectations - and they're always higher than in Manhattan. However, the Wildcats were minutes from playing for a title last year, and started this season very rough. Despite their late-season rebound, there should be enough talent with the Maize and Blue to get a wil.
Michign 28, KSU 27