Several sites including the Detroit Free Press and ESPN have now released the new NCAA Week 5 rankings and have placed Michigan at #19. This is an improvement from last week's #23 ranking. Although some of Michigan's improvement in the rankings is due to other team's failure (West Virginia and Florida State's losses moved them behind Michigan), it is still nice to see Michigan inside the top 20.
Last season, Michigan made it up to #18 before falling to the eventual Big Ten Co-Champion Michigan State team. It is very likely that Michigan will fall at some point, but after being ranked for two consecutive weeks, the analysis of rankings is bound to start.
Michigan has a pretty winnable game this Saturday (Minnesota, 1-3), but many teams above or slightly below Michigan have a tougher task on Saturday. Here are the ranked teams above Michigan with "tough" games on Saturday:
#16 South Florida @ Pitt
#14 Texas A & M @ #18 Arkansas
Northwestern @ #24 Illinois
#15 Baylor @ Kansas State
#13 Clemson @ #11 Virginia Tech
#17 Texas @ Iowa State
Obviously, two of the six games featured two ranked teams, so at least one has to fall, but of the ranked v. non-ranked match-ups listed, 3 of the 4 teams are in the receiving votes categories:
Northwestern - #34 in coach's poll
Kansas State - #31 in AP poll and coach's poll
Iowa State - #29 in AP Poll and #30 in coach's poll
The fact that these teams received votes in the polls does not mean they are going to win any of the above games, but it does seem very likely that at least 1 or 2 of the non-ranked teams in the above match-ups can pull off the upset.
Essentially, for Michigan fans, this could be a VERY good week in the rankings. If Michigan wins, which is very likely, but we don't want to jinx anything, it is quite probable that both teams above or below Michigan will fall. Even if all the ranked teams win in the above match-ups (excluding the 2 games where ranked teams have to lose), Michigan's votes should go up as the quality of non-ranked bids go down.
Obviously rankings are hard to predict, but this could be the week that sets up the season nicely for Michigan. I don't want to speculate too much or get ahead of myself, but we could see a Michigan team that could lose a game in the coming weeks and stay ranked, which is exciting. Plus we know Michigan State or Ohio State has to lose this weekend, so it can't be too bad, right? Haha Go Blue!