Sunday, September 18, 2011
Wolverines move into top 25
By Michael Rothstein WolverineNation
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Ohio State is out, Michigan is in. Who would have thought that three weeks ago?
The Wolverines entered the Associated Press media poll at No. 22 and the USA Today Coaches' poll at No. 21 after starting 3-0 for the third consecutive season. It's the first national ranking in the Associated Press poll for Michigan since Oct. 10, 2010, and the first in the coaches' poll since Oct. 24, 2010.
The Wolverines crashed into the top 25 by virtue of their 3-0 start.
Michigan managed it after pulling away to beat Eastern Michigan, 31-3, on Saturday.
As Michigan rose, Ohio State fell. After struggling against Toledo last week, Miami beat the Buckeyes, 24-6, and they tumbled from No. 17 out of the AP poll for the first time since 2004, snapping a string of 103 consecutive weeks ranked in the poll according to the AP.
It also marks the first time since the 2007 preseason poll -- before Michigan's loss to Appalachian State and the three-year Rich Rodriguez era -- that Michigan has been ranked above Ohio State.
In the first week of that season, the Wolverines lost to Appalachian State, 34-32, and fell all the way from No. 5 to out of the poll. Ohio State started that season No. 11 in the nation.
It was also the last time Michigan was ranked ahead of the Buckeyes, Michigan State and Notre Dame -- the school's three main rivals -- at the same time. Right now, only the Wolverines are ranked of the four.
A season ago, Michigan entered the AP poll at No. 20 and the coaches' poll at No. 22 after beating Notre Dame in South Bend in the second week of the year. In 2009, Michigan entered the AP poll at No. 25 after beating then-No. 18 Notre Dame, 38-34, and entered the coaches' poll a week later at No. 22.
Both seasons, Michigan went through the non-conference schedule and opening Big Ten game undefeated before falling apart in October and November. In 2009, Michigan finished 5-7. In 2010, the Wolverines were 7-6, and after a 52-14 loss to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl Michigan fired Rich Rodriguez and replaced him with Brady Hoke.
Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mikerothstein.