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Posted on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Poll drop: Michigan falls to No. 18 in AP, No. 17 in USA Today after MSU loss

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway flashes a glove as he takes the field before the start of the Wolverines' 28-14 loss to Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell I

Related story: Michigan No. 18 in first BCS standings of the season

The Michigan football team took plenty of hits during its first loss of the season Saturday.

The hits kept coming Sunday, as the Wolverines fell seven spots in both The Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today coaches poll.

Following a 28-14 loss at Michigan State, Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) now finds itself No. 18 in the AP poll, and No. 17 in the coaches poll.

With the win, Michigan State rose to No. 15 in the AP poll, up from No. 23 a week prior. The Spartans (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) are now No. 13 in the coaches poll.

Wisconsin leads all Big Ten teams in the AP poll with a No. 4 ranking. Nebraska (No. 13) and Illinois (No. 23) also cracked the AP Top 25 this week. Penn State sits at No. 22 in the coaches poll.

The top 10 teams in the AP rankings remained the same after a weekend filled with blowouts. No. 1 LSU received 41 first-place votes, No. 2 Alabama had 11 and No. 3 Oklahoma got six. The rest of the top 10 was Wisconsin, Boise State (one first-place vote), Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon and Arkansas.

Oklahoma retained the top spot in the coaches poll with LSU, Alabama, Wisconsin and Stanford finished out the top five.

Full rankings: AP poll | USA Today poll

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.

This is a bit of trend. DR is not a big ten quarterback. That does not mean he is not the best player by far on UM's team. They can still get him the ball 15 to 20 times a game, just don't let him throw it. They are not going to be able to compete with strong run defenses with DR at quarterback. The play calling was bad, but we are not going to know how good of a coach Hoke is until 3 or 4 years down the road when he actually has a legit college quarterback with a bit of experience. A win against OSU to end the year does not look nearly as predictable as before Saturday. The last four games against Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio State will really be tough. If they go 2-2 they should be happy. That would put them at 9-3 and very respectable first year for Hoke and company. If DR is the quarterback against Alabama to open next year it is going to be a Butt kickin worse that what MSU got in the bowl game. On a final note, this team should not be ranked any higher than 23 or 24.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

And remember how Robinson eclipsed Forcier in 2010? Most thought Forcier a lock for the QB position. So yeah, perhaps Gardner can compete and win the starting QB role.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

2-2 in those four games would be outstanding, imo. I just don't see Michigan as being strong enough in the trenches against those upper-tier B10 teams, especially (unfortunately) OSU. As for Denard, I'm willing to see how he grows under Borges and trust this staff in their decision making as to who the best personnel are and at what positions. If they stick with Denard, I'm guessing that they see him as giving them the best chance to win. I don't think they'll stick with him at QB next year just to stick with guess is he'll have to compete, just like he did this season, with Gardner and the best QB will take the field against Alabama.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

The rankings continue to mean nothing but we are now beginning to see who the real best teams are. Wisconsin--still has played nobody. OK State--for real. OK, LSU, Bama--for real. Bama's win over PSu is looking better now. I think 18-20 is about right for Michigan. Denard as QB is more than just throwing the ball. It is game management, and for the most part, he manages the game well within the constraints of the offense. HIs throwing must improve, and looked better last year for some reason, but he always has to be accounted for as QB and not so easy to hem in. Teams lose, and it hurts more to lose to MSU than others, but nearly every team loses sometime. The trick will be to see how this team and coaching staff handles loss/adversity. That will be telling, but I feel good about it. The team will gradually change as Hoke et al get their recruits in, but they have embraced this team and its players and treated them as their own (rather than making asinine comments about the last 3 bad Februaries as prior coach did). The atmosphere is infinitely better and that is its own reward. It does seem funny, though that MSU fans continue to express inferiority complex in their comments, rather than treating the victory as one small step of the season as UM fans usually do.

Mush Room

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

"It does seem funny, though that MSU fans continue to express inferiority complex in their comments, rather than treating the victory as one small step of the season as UM fans usually do." UM fans hate losing to MSU, maybe even more so than losing to OSU. By no stretch of the imagination is this loss "small". I'll leave the analysis of the "inferiority complex" remark to the superior minds at THE University of Michigan.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

Good post.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

I think if they didn't have Denard Robinson, Pioneer Highs team could beat them.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:25 a.m.

You are so Right about DR.Brady Hoke has a Losing Record as a Head Coach at Mid Majors Jobs.You,Your Coaches,and Your Team are not who you think you are.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Michighan has 8 homes games,and over half of them are cupcakes.You were very Lucky to beat ND.You better hope you can finish 8 an 4.Quit worrying about the Polls.Your New Coaching Staff,who came from Mid Majors Progams has alot to learn.The way Hoke handled the Press Conference,shows you alot.He wanted the Michigan Job,now he has it.DEAL WITH IT.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Hoke wanted the job and IS dealing with it...quite well in my opinion. He's 6-1 with a roster that is not ideally suited for the way he wants his teams to play football, but he's not making excuses and he's winning far more than he's losing. As for how he handled the press conference, he handled it fine. What are you talking about? And the ND game, call it what you will, but UM made all the plays when they needed to and earned that victory. Further, our coaching staff did not come from mid-majors. Hoke coached previously at Michigan (D Line on National Champs), Borges coached at UCLA and Auburn (where they went 13-0 while he was there), and Mattison has been D-Coordinator at Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida (National Champs), and the Baltimore Ravens. If that's mid-major, than State's staff is mid-minor. This staff knows how to get it done and will get it done. 8-4 would also be a pretty good first season when you consider Pete Carrol and Nick Saban (who dumped MSU) both went 6-6 in their first seasons at USC and Alabama, respectively. Yeah, Hoke got the job...and he and his staff are doing just fine dealing with it.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

Lucky? I was at the State game and it got real quiet in the 4th quarter. We know right now we are not going to be 12 - 0. But we have the best facilities, made a coaching change and have two pretty good recruiting classes shaping up. Thing are looking up. State acts like it is life or death comparing themselves to UM. You DEAL with it. I can't imagine what the 6 years prior to these were like for you. For us, we suck and we are still ranked I think too high. What the heck will you be like next Sunday when you drop below us. Now that is strange polling.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

"The way Hoke handled the Press Conference shows you a lot" That could be read as either a negative or a positive. Which way did you mean it? I'm very serious with my question. I'm interested in how Hoke's handling of the post-game press conference was perceived.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

No doubt the #11 or 12 ranking was too high. I would think we belong on the low to mid 20s. The change in the fan attitude is amazing. This sour attitude and ledge jumping appoach by many of the Wolverine fans goes back to any of the losses under Lloyd Carr, let alone Rich Rod. Denard may or may not have cost us this game. If anything, he could have won it for us if we either took the high percentage play on 4th and inches or Denard throwing the pick 6. Was it Al Borgess or Denard that cost us a chance to at least tie it up 21-21? Purdue is winnable, after that, this team goes back on the road again. It is up to them to prevent a repeat of 2009 and 2010. It is also up to the coaching staff to bring them along. Thank goodness for the bye week. Do not think for one mimute that this humiliating loss to Sparty will not be major bulletin board material for the Maize and Blue. I am sure they have taken names and numbers of those returning players on the MSU roster in 2012.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Dudes! Any one of you guys were a student athlete back in the day? Trust me, The Wolverine football team to an individual who will be returning next year, WILL remember how physical that game was and WILL work harder in the weight room and WILL mumble the names of those MSU players who were dirty and WILL get some redemption.

Ken Boyd

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Listen,... You don't think names and numbers were not taken last year, or the year before? You are missing the point. Michigan is mentally fragile and other teams know it. Look for other teams to tee off on the poor Michigan O-line and for DR to continue to be crushed.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

@XTR ... perhaps. While I concede the point that "taking names" in that context does seem pointless, it in no way diminishes the class of Hoke (and Denard) in resisting the urge to call out the dirty plays. Hoke was providing a lesson in manly graciousness. The players take notice of such things. If the coach won't bitch and whine, neither will they. I for one applaud Hoke for his class and grace. He's a credit to Michigan.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:50 p.m.

"What good is taking names?" Detroitrocks is referring to the fact that Michigan players just accepted all of the dirty tricks that Sparty did to them and never retaliated. Heck, even Brady Hoke did not even say anything negative about the cheap shots which seems to say that those things are not bad. If Michigan could let those things get away, what is the point of taking names? I think that is what Detroit is saying.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

"What good is taking names?" See MSU and the name "Mike Hart" plastered all over their motivational programs.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

Take names? Who are you kidding? They did NOTHING during the game when they were getting punked!What good is taking names? This team is soft, and will continue to lose against good teams as long as it is soft.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

This team being ranked at all is a joke. The way they played yesterday against a mediocre team shows how far Hoke has to go. We has regressed at QB, we need an o line, and our defense while much improved still gave up too many points to a team with virtually no offense. Look at the OSU vs moo u game. RR has left us drastically undersized and lacking in strength. This team I thought would come out with fire in their eyes and take it to sparty. The offense seemed to do that first drive but then the D just laid an egg for ther first shot. All day long with a suspect o line we never got to cousins whom it is known is prone to getting out of sync and making poor passes under pressure. We also took a back that had not ran for a 100 yards all year and made him look all conference with 167 yards. A disappointing day for sure. Hopefully Hoke can bring the kind of players that will not tolarate such crap from sparty.

Ken Boyd

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Engineer, you have over simplified the problems in the program. Michigan State is not mediocre, not great, but still a legit top twenty team. We, on the other hand are not a real top twenty team. Yes, we have "talent coming" if you can ever really predict the final athletic excellence of a sixteen or seventeen year old. I fear the real problem is that Hoke is not that great a game coach. This rebuild will take three or more years asssuming Hoke can keep it together. I look for at least three more losses.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

See prospective 2012 recruiting class. Assume similar focus into future. Size is back.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Not sure even #17 or #18 are an accurate reflection of how good the team is at this point, but it's certainly more accurate than #10. This team needs to feel that it has something to prove, not that it has proven anything, which is along the lines of what Hoke has already said. I don't agree with replacing DR at QB, though, at this point. He needs better blocking which will make him a more effective passer, as will utilizing a shorter passing game which includes screens, etc. to offset blitzing. Further, get our backs more touches to further keep the focus off of DR. I say work on those things, integrate Gardner a bit more in certain packages, and DR is still the QB. He can get it done under the right circumstances...he just has to be provided with those circumstances. If he proves that he can't, then make the change moving forward next season.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

@XTR - "Gardner has 5 games and 2 seasons to go. No reason not develop Gardner." Oh, I agree Hoke and staff should develop Gardner. But that's something different from jettisoning Robinson as QB in favor of Gardner full time. I'm pretty sure Hoke and staff are *trying* to develop Gardner when the situation allows it. But first downs are precious and except for the Minnesota game there just hasn't been much opportunity to put Gardner in for complete drives.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

Denard started 20 games already in and around the Big Ten plus the Bowl Game. Gardner started 0 games. Everyone already knows what Denard could and could not do, Gardner is still unknown unless you let the guy play many minutes. One cannot judge a QB that has not started a single game. Denard has 5 games and 1 season to go, Gardner has 5 games and 2 seasons to go. No reason not develop Gardner.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

Plus, I'm not convinced Gardner is, at this point, any better passer than Robinson. He might have the arm, but he doesn't have the experience or judgment. So "edjasbord's" comment would still hold -- they'd stack the box and dare whatever QB to beat them with the pass.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

Competent O-line or not, when facing competent a defense, you will never have a run game if you don't have a passing game. Yes, a run game would take the focus off Denard. But the catch is, with Denard in the game, there is no passing threat to open up the run. You can't have one without the other.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

Every team we will face from here on now knows what to do - stack the box on defense, run/pass to the edges on offense. We might beat Purdue and Iowa, but we will lose to Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio. Unless we make a drastic change. Like putting in a QB who allows us to open up a running game (i.e., who can actually complete a pass). Its time for Hoke to make a tough decision. Get Devin going, get him real experience - whole drives, perhaps a whole quarter or two, then whole games. It is the best thing for the team.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

That was true last year as well. It *should* have been absolutely no surprise to any of the teams we faced already. Robinson *can* beat you with the pass given just a touch of time to see the field and set. He received sufficient time from the O-line yesterday in a lot of cases. Something else was going on in yesterday's game. My theory is that Robinson was playing hurt from the start of the game. But I can't prove that.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

In a sense this drop in the polls is a good thing. Now the focus can be on improving as players and as a team. They never deserved the high rating they had before. Hoke knew it and said as much. Okay, that's now off the table. As Hoke said in this post-game press conference: "They need to feel this one for a while. Then we'll find a way to turn the page."