Schedule Tour: Michigan

With less than a month to the start of the 2010 Wisconsin football season, Badger Nation goes game by game for an early breakdown of the opposition. The 11th game is Wisconsin's last road game, heading to Ann Arbor to take on a Michigan team desperate for a winning season under Rich Rodriguez.

MADISON - Time is ticking down on a number of the Big Ten's 11 coaches, but the hourglass of Rich Rodriguez only has a few particles of sand left. The Rodriguez tenure at Michigan started off in controversy, continued with twice as many losses as wins and enters a tumultuous third season with more NCAA allegations.

Not exactly the pie-in-the-sky regime Michigan fans were hoping for once Lloyd Carr decided to retire (or was forced out, depending on your viewpoint).

The decision to hire Rodriguez and his spread offense was not a smart one by former Athletic Director Bill Martin, a fact that shows in the 8-16 record (3-13 in the Big Ten) and that the once proud franchise is now a Big Ten cellar dweller.

Sitting at Big Ten Media Days, however, Rodriguez didn't want to talk about the past or about how the NCAA has accused him and the program of five major rules violations related to practices and workouts. What Rodriguez wanted to talk about was how he has some pieces in place, particularly at quarterback.

Sophomore Tate Forcier was the main option through the air last season in his true freshman season, completing 59 percent of his passes for 2,050 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while sophomore Denard Robinson was the running threat, taking off 69 times for 409 yards.

Problem was that both were predictable – Forcier didn't run often and Robinson attempted only 31 passes. It will be interesting to see how Rodriguez handles the situation, especially since Michigan lost its two top running backs.

The Wolverines' 3-3-5 defensive alignment will only work if Michigan gets bounce-back performances from a number of returning starters, including senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk. Woolfolk only managed 46 tackles and zero interceptions in an injury-filled campaign.

Woolfolk battled shoulder and knee problems last season, admitting that he didn't play any of the last seven games close to 100 percent.

"I am not going to make any excuses because I don't think I would have played any different last season if I was fully healthy," Woolfolk said. "I know I am going to be good, and taken preventive measures to make sure I stay healthy."

Woolfolk is just one of 12 seniors on the squad and a group that believes that they are the one to push the Wolverines back towards the top of the conference.

"I think this is one of the best leadership groups that we have, besides the fact that we are one of the smallest," Woolfolk said. "We're the last Lloyd Carr group here and the fact that we bonded to Rich Rod is a tribute to all the other young athletes out there. Hopefully, we can make something out of it."

Two of those goals is beating Ohio State for the first time since 2003 and not letting Wisconsin get its first win in Ann Arbor since 1994. Unless things change in a hurry, neither of them will be possible.

If you go

Date/Time - Saturday, November 20 at TBA

Arena – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

Series – Wisconsin leads 49-13-1

Last Meeting – Wisconsin beat Michigan, 45-24, November 14, 2009 in Ann Arbor

Early Prediction - Wisconsin 31, Michigan 24

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