NCAA Football: Michigan at Rutgers

No. 3 Michigan vaulted up the College Football Playoff Rankings this past week, but it can't get caught looking past Nebraska this week if it wants to maintain its positioning in the top four next week. Luckily for Wolverines fans, that isn't likely to be the case as Michigan has made a habit of beating up on bad teams this season.

The primary knock against a Michigan team that's been dominant on a near-weekly basis is that it doesn't have impressive wins on its résumé. The Wolverines impressively handed Penn State 41-17 earlier this season, but outside the Nittany Lions, Michigan's second-best win is either Maryland or Iowa depending on how you view those teams.

They Wolverines made up for that by winning their nine games by an average of 30.1 points each and have never been in serious danger of losing outside of a close fourth quarter against Maryland. Still, with games remaining against an Illinois team that may win the Big Ten West and the annual showdown with Ohio State, the Wolverines can't look past a Nebraska team that may view this game as its last shot to prove itself.

How to watch Michigan vs. Nebraska live

Date: Saturday, November 12 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium -- Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Michigan vs. Nebraska: Need to know

Blake Corum is a darkhorse Heisman candidate: With Hendon Hooker playing poorly in Tennessee's loss to Georgia and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud putting up some pedestrian numbers lately, the Heisman race is wide open as we enter the final weeks of the season. Is it open enough to allow a running back to sneak in and steal the award with an impressive showing over the final months? If so, Michigan's Blake Corum is a great candidate to do so. Corum ranks seventh nationally in yards per game at 131.89 but is tied with Pitt's Israel Abanikanda for national lead with 16 rushing touchdowns. This week he has a chance to pad those numbers against a Nebraska defense that ranks 106th nationally in success rate against the run and 99th in yards allowed per carry.

Michigan's "weakness" is an ordinary pass rush: To be clear, we're nitpicking here. The term "weakness" is relative. Still, if there's one area the Wolverines defense has dropped off this season in comparison to last year, it's the pass rush. The Wolverines ranked 17th last season with a pressure rate of 37.9% on opponent dropbacks. This year the number has dropped to 34.7%, which ranks 42nd. The good news is that when Michigan does get pressure, it gets home. The Wolverines have a sack rate of 9.3%, which ranks 10th nationally. Last year it was only 7.0%. Still, the data shows that pressure rate is far more sustainable on a weekly basis than sack rate it because sometimes you're facing quarterbacks who have no idea what to do under pressure and get destroyed. So the lack of pressure is something that could haunt the Wolverines in any future games against good QBs. Like, C.J. Stroud for example.

Nebraska loses the battle, but wins the war: I don't know that this means anything, but it's interesting none the less. Playing Nebraska either leaves teams cursed, or beaten up. So far this season, Nebraska's opponents have a record of 18-6 before playing the Cornhuskers, but only 5-19 after playing them. For instance, Purdue was 4-2 before beating the Huskers, but has lost two straight since. Oklahoma was 2-0 when it beat Nebraska, but is 2-4 since. Illinois was 6-1 when it beat Nebraska, and lost for the first time in months against Michigan State a week later. All of which begs the question of whether Michigan would be better off forfeiting this game.

Michigan vs. Nebraska prediction, picks

Featured Game | Michigan Wolverines vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

It's a 31-point spread that I'm not very interested in betting. Even if Michigan would benefit from blowing the Cornhuskers out, 31 points is a lot to ask of anybody. Instead, I think the better play is the over because we know Michigan has no reason to slow down if it builds a big lead, and at least this way we're helped by a potential Nebraska backdoor cover rather than hurt by it. It's not insane to think Michigan might hit the over on its own. Prediction: Over 48.5

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