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Posted on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke votes his team into Top 25, but says they're 'overrated'

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke didn't vote for his team last week in the coaches poll, and said his team was overrated at No. 19.

He voted for the Wolverines this week, after they blasted Minnesota on Saturday, but still thinks his team is overrated after its jump to No. 12.

Michigan is 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten heading into this week's game at Northwestern (2-2, 0-1).


Michigan coach Brady Hoke voted for his own team in the coaches poll for the first time this week. file photo

"We're not playing well enough," Hoke said Monday during his weekly news conference. "We're not playing football we need to play. We're not playing well enough. We're not finishing things well enough."

Michigan hasn't been ranked this high since the preseason poll before the 2007 season, when it was ranked No. 5. It lost to Appalachian State, and hasn't been in the top-12 since.

Five games, and Hoke has Michigan back at that lofty perch -- but he's warning his players not to buy into the hype that is growing around his team.

They're not.

"We're not the No. 12 team in the country," said defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen, who didn't even know of the ranking until being told by reporters. "We definitely don't feel like we've played up to the potential of being a No. 12 team in the country.

"Can we be there? Possibly, but we still have to get a couple things in order. We're getting there, but we're not there yet.

"We've played five game, we've won five games. But, are we a top-15 team in the country? I don't think we've played like that."

Where should they be ranked?

“I don’t know, but we’re going to find out,” Hoke said

Hoke confirmed he did vote for his team in this week's coaches poll, where Michigan is ranked 11th. Where did he slot them?

"Somewhere in the top 25," he said, tongue firmly in cheek.

In injury news:
Ricky Barnum: The left guard still is listed as the starter on the depth chart, but Hoke said Barnum remains hindered by an ankle injury he suffered against San Diego State. The junior is "fighting to get back," but remains "a day-to-day deal," Hoke said. Sophomore Michael Schofield took Barnum's place against Minnesota and played well.

John McColgan: The starting fullback should be available to play against Northwestern after missing the Minnesota game with an undisclosed injury. Hoke called him "banged up" on Saturday, when sophomore tailback Stephen Hopkins took his place. Hopkins played well, rushing three times (one of which was called back because of a penalty) and caught a 28-yard pass.

Troy Woolfolk: The senior cornerback is beat up, but Hoke said he ran Sunday and is expected to be ready to go this week. Woolfolk is playing with a broken right hand, and also has dealt with a sprained left ankle.

Cam Gordon: The strong-side linebacker, who has yet to play this year because of a bad back, should "do more" this week, Hoke said. Gordon has been listed each week as a starter on the depth chart (and again this week) and Hoke has said several times Gordon would be available to play, but he's dressed only twice and has not played.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Ahh... We are in the next chapter of the coaches handbook. " If we are rated higher... we do not deserve it" There is not a coach around that would state they deserve a higher ranking or we are playing good enough at this point in the season. This reasoning always give the team room to grow and in case of a loss the coach can appear wise and note he was right. This approach generally does get the best out of the team and keeps them hungry til the end of the last game :+} GO BLUE


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

I love this guy (Brady Hoke), we definitely have the right man for the job. I'd rate them around 25 or so but I definitely see signs that this team is improving on both sides of the ball.

Kommandant Klink 1

Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

This Saturday will be a good test to see where this team is. Hoke is doing the right thing by not letting the team buy into the hype. Take em one game at a time. Loved seeing Gardner and Robinson in the same backfield last Saturday! Only good things can from that.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Hoke's just being realistic. This is a team that's opened the season with five straight home games, and their toughest competition so far has been a chronically mistake-prone Notre Dame team. Do they deserve to be in the Top 25 right now? Sure, why not — they are 5-0, after all — but not at 11 or 12. More like 22. This week is a bit more of a test — their first road game — but it's Northwestern, who are good but beatable. Michigan has a stunningly easy schedule this season: only four road games, all of them against teams that aren't quite firing on all cylinders (besides Northwestern, there's Michigan State on 10/15, Iowa on 11/5, and Illinois on 11/12). They don't play Wisconsin or Penn State this year, and they get both Nebraska and Ohio State at home. It's conceivable that they could be 10-0 heading into their last two games, but I doubt it — expect stumbles against MSU and either Iowa or Illinois, with another loss to Nebraska. Ohio State, for once, is a toss-up. They'll finish 9-3 at best, more likely 8-4, and then they'll get stomped in a bowl by an SEC team. They may still cling to the Top 25 when the dust settles, but I wouldn't count on it. Honestly, though, I'll take it. At least the program looks to be headed in the right direction now.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

Well, other than LSU and maybe Alabama, who has played anybody? Nebraska? Wisconsin? Who says either of them is any good (based on competition)? SDSU at least beat Wash State who has only one loss this year. BUt I will agree with you Johnny MSU Sprit: ALL of the Div I colleges play cupcake schedules to try to get the sure victory, and it is a bad deal for college fans. But as has been pointed out to me, it's all about the money!!

Jonny Spirit

Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

Money does make the world go around, I have to agree.


Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

It is good that the schedule isn't that strong as the team adjusts to a new coaching staff, but I believe they (at some point) during the season will be worthy of that ranking. They are improving weekly. Go Blue!

Jonny Spirit

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

I totally agree with you. Nicely said Tim.

Jonny Spirit

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Michigan has played NOBODY! 5 home games against 3 MAC schools, 1 AWFUL big ten team, and a bad ND team. Same as the last 3 years. The AP poll just likes the your name. They will lose 5 out of the next 6 and be out of the top 25 all together. But hey, you will barley win your 6 games to make it to a bowl game.


Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

MSwho? Oh yeah. Little Brother. See you in a couple weeks, kid.


Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

good one tell us!

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

well. i mean we beat a ND team that beat state... sloppy as it was, the W was given to Michigan. see you in 2 weeks. you'll need the prep time, i hope you enjoyed the rich rod era.

Jonny Spirit

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

LOL, must be getting thirsty. Once again I don't think MSU should be in the top 25. They look terrible. The only way we beat OSU is they still have 4 suspended player and they have a water boy as the coach. Now lets talk about Michigan. Do you really think they deserve to be in the top 25? Play a road game, a good road game and win, and then lets talk. You have to be kidding yourself if you think Michigan has played anybody good.


Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Says the Spartan whose team lost to ND and has only played nobodies, lol. I guess you're feeling pretty big coming off of your win against a hobbled, coach-less OSU with their suspended starters, fledgling quarterback and nonexistent offense, a Spartan whose team has big wins over lower division Youngstown St., Florida Atlantic and Central Michigan. If I didn't know better, I'd think you're talking about your own team. But hey, you will "barley" win your six games and make it to a bowl game. Hang in there, sport. Enjoy your new uniforms with the wrong colors and what not. Go Ann Arbor Huron River Rats, is it? ; )

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

When did San Diego State get demoted to the MAC? And how do you win games with barley? Does that have something to do with too much beer at the pre-game tailgate?

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

barely* (barley is a type of grain that is one of the main ingredients to beer.) But, okay, lets play. 1. Youngstown State. FCS team. If you want to brag about beating them, go right ahead. 2. Florida Atlantic. #114 in passing, #119 in rushing, and #119 in scoring. Wow. Way to make a statement there, guys. You had a good day against the worst offense in the entire country. Woohoo. 3. Notre Dame. You really want to knock Michigan's victory on this one? Especially since you LOST to that same bad ND team? 4. Central Michigan. 62nd overall passing, 103rd rushing, 99th overall scoring. You really want to brag about that one too? 5. Ohio State. 110th overall passing, 54th overall rushing, 91st overall scoring. Who have you played, exactly?

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

I am just going to repeat what I said in an earlier column... The only poll that matters is the one at the end of the season, AFTER all regular season and conference championship games are finished. You will win the games you win, you will lose the games you lose, regardless of whether you have a #1 before your name or a #119. It simply doesn't matter. IF, at the end of the season, Michigan's record is appropriate for a #12 ranking, great. You are what your record says you are, and all of that...But the season isn't even halfway through yet, teams vault up the rankings and back down in a few short weeks. I don't care what Michigan is rated, I only care that they have a W at the end of each game. The rest will take care of itself.


Mon, Oct 3, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

The key to this team's success is that they feel they are not playing up to their potential. They may, in fact, be overachieving. Either way, they are improving because of their attitude and desire. They are focused. Playing on the road the next few weeks should cause them to remain very intense and even more focused. I hope Cam Gordon is healthy enough to go. Nice to see some redemption from Stephen Hopkins. The next two weeks will really determine if we should be ranked this high. GO BLUE!!!