Do you believe in teams of destiny?

If so, it’d probably be accurate to describe Jim Harbaugh’s 2022 Michigan Wolverines in such a way.

For the first time since 1997, Michigan is 12-0. Back then, there were only 11 regular season games, no College Football Playoff, and the opportunity to play in just 1 postseason contest. This year, Michigan could reach 13-0 for the first time program history — and then 14-0, and maybe even 15-0 when it’s all said and done.

While Purdue has earned the moniker of “Spoilmakers” around the Big Ten, it hasn’t shown that it has enough talent to down the Wolverines, who are fresh off a stomping of Ohio State, 45-23, at The Shoe this past weekend in Columbus. They might be able to hang around and compete, but the Boilermakers simply don’t have enough firepower win Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Jim Harbaugh has never lost to Purdue as Michigan’s coach. Purdue hasn’t beaten Michigan in more than a decade, and when it did, it beat a downtrodden Michigan program that lacked identity. That’s not the case this year.


Aidan O’Connell is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten, and has been for 2 years, but he’ll face his biggest challenge when goes against DJ Turner, Mike Sainristil, Rod Moore, Makari Paige and Will Johnson, among others.

Michigan is deep in the secondary and has allowed just 9 passing touchdowns this season.

In order to dissect UM’s defensive backfield, O’Connell would need miracles to unfold at every turn.

JJ McCarthy

He’s a man on a mission, and that was evident by his postgame comment after beating Ohio State.

“The job is not finished,” Michigan QB JJ McCarthy said while surrounded by a crowd on Safelite Field at The Shoe.

It’s plain to see that McCarthy, only a sophomore, has made major strides in the right direction. He’s becoming the star QB for which Michigan fans had hoped. Michigan hasn’t had a quarterback take center stage, and so soon, like McCarthy has done the past 5 or 6 weeks. With each victory and each interview, he continues to grow more comfortable in his role.

McCarthy just shredded the Buckeyes, and that was his first start in the rivalry (and it was on the road). It’s hard to bet against him at this point.


While Purdue has an impressive stat, Michigan simply has the results. There is a difference.

As an unranked team, the Boilers have 17 wins against Associated Press top 10 teams — the most in the AP era (since 1936). Again, that’s a cool stat that suggests that Purdue can come out of nowhere and knock out a giant — which it could — but it’s not enough to suggest that it’ll get the best of the Wolverines, who are 22-2 during the past 2 seasons.

Since taking over at UM in 2015, Harbaugh is 4-0 vs. Purdue. (The Boilers haven’t beaten Michigan since 2009.) Two of those wins were as a top-25 team vs. an unranked Purdue, so take that into account while analyzing the Boilers’ “unranked vs. ranked” stat.

Jake Moody

If the game is close, which is entirely possible, kicker Jake Moody will have to go to work and play the role of hero.

With 131 points this season, Moody finished as the top scorer in the nation. Two of Purdue’s past 3 games have been 1-score affairs. Even if the Boilers keep this one close, they’ll have to deal with Michigan’s award-winning kicker. Moody averages about 11 points per game.

They call him “Money Moody” for a reason.


And this kind of ties in with the Team of Destiny idea … and maybe some of the history aspect as well.

Harbaugh spent the majority of his career in Indianapolis, landing in the Colts’ Ring of Honor. Indy is like a second home to Harbaugh, who won there as a coach last year, 42-3 over Iowa in the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game. Yeah, he’s only played there one time, but he’s never lost — and Purdue doesn’t seem like the type of team that’s capable of ruining the moment.