The Michigan Wolverines, coming off a serious drubbing at the hands of Alabama's Crimson Tide in their season opener, hope to get in the win column this week when they take on the Air Force Falcons Saturday afternoon at the Big House (3:30 pm ET, ABC/ESPN2).
And if recent strength of schedule - the quality of a team's opposition - is any measure, then Michigan will be far more ready to deal with the substantial 21.5-point spread.
Michigan faced the juggernaut Crimson Tide last week, while Air Force was tangling with a less mighty foe - Idaho State.
The total was tabbed at 61 as of Friday morning and was lowered through the day to 60. Michigan has plenty of reason and motivation to rebound strongly here and many handicappers feel they will. Still, only about 46 percent of bettors were on Michigan, according to the NCAA football consensus data at OddsShark.com.
Michigan, with 13 starters back from last year's 11-2 squad, got dominated last Saturday night by the Tide at Cowboys Stadium, falling behind 31-0 in the second quarter on its way to a 41-14 thrashing. The Wolverines got outrushed 232-69, and couldn't come to close to covering the point spread as 13-point underdogs.
Michigan played 'Bama without RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, who was suspended for one game, although his presence probably wouldn't have mattered much. He has been reinstated for Saturday's game.
On the other side of this matchup is Air Force, with just six starters back from a team that went 7-6 last year. The Falcons began this season with a 49-21 victory over FCS Idaho State.
The Falcons jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead, on their way to racking up 484 yards on the ground, but even with that big halftime advantage they couldn't complete the cover as 32-point favorites.
Michigan was favored by two touchdowns or more four times last year, and covered three of those games. Air Force, on the other end of the stick, was dogged by two touchdowns or more twice last year, going 1-1 ATS.
As for a history between these two teams, the Falcons and Wolverines have only met once all-time, way back in 1964. The last time Air Force played a Big Ten team was three seasons ago, when the Falcons lost at Minnesota, 20-13.
Michigan vs Air Force Pick: Michigan got a beating last week, but sometimes teams can benefit from a good humbling. That might be the case here and getting Toussaint back will help. We'll give the points and take the Wolverines. (courtesy of Pick Shark)