If Michigan is back, this Saturday is the chance to prove it. Never mind guaranteeing a win over Notre Dame the way Michael Hart did. If the Wolverine running back really wants to put himself out on the line, let him guarantee a win over Penn State. Or even better, guarantee a Big Ten title. Now's the time for Michigan to show they're still the team everyone has to come through on the way to Pasadena.
The Wolverine psyche must be in better shape after last week's thumping of the Irish, but we should still assume the problems that led to those defeats are still in existence. Namely, the defense has not been able to stop anyone (well, other then teams who have not scored an offensive touchdown against anyone). Penn State will play it close to the vest offensively, so it probably won't get out of hand the way it did in the first two outings this year, and the last two outings last year. But Michigan can't assume it will hang a ton of points on this defense to bail them out. 21 may be all it takes for a Lion win. Michigan would have a tough time matching that with Henne on the field. Without him--and despite some intriguing rumors to the contrary, he's still assumed not to play--it's impossible to imagine UM hanging up 20+ points unless Penn State implodes with turnovers.
As for Penn State, they will have to take some shots down the field and utilize the quality of their receiving corps. But those should be carefully targeted shots and at a position on the field where an interception won't set up Michigan for gift points. Until proven otherwise, the Lion defense is not going to give up a game. If I were PSU, I'd make a freshman QB be the one that proves otherwise.
Down in South Bend, the Irish will look to get on track against Michigan State. The Spartans are off to a hot start, though that is hardly new. Shannon Shelton in The Detroit Free Press writes that MSU must convince fans they can win after the fourth game of the year. As for Notre Dame, Rakes of Mallow has a look at why things are so bad.