Michigan’s season is far from finished.

Just because the then-No. 6 Wolverines lost 37-33 to then-No. 8 Michigan State doesn’t mean that Jim Harbaugh has to close up shop and prepare for next year. If anything, it may have been a wake-up call, reminding the Wolverines that they still have some work to do before taking over the Big Ten.

Saturday’s game was very much winnable for the now-No. 9 Wolverines. They’re still 7-1 and they’re still one of the best teams in the nation. One could make an argument that they’re the third-best 1-loss team, behind Alabama and Ohio State. That may not mean too much right now, but it should: Michigan still has the means for a strong finish and enough gas to remain in contention for a Big Ten title.

Sure, some things have to happen. Michigan State needs a loss, Ohio State does too. … UM probably wants that to happen before the final game of the regular season. Some math needs to happen, but the Wolverines are still in it as of today.

Quarterback Cade McNamara couldn’t have played a better game vs. Michigan State. He threw for a career-high 383 yards, just 1 yard short of the rivalry series record. Shea Patterson threw for 384 in 2019. McNamara is firmly secure as UM’s starter, and there shouldn’t be any contrary discussion.

Michigan can still win some games with McNamara in charge. He’ll have to remain himself and continue to progress. Who knows, maybe he has another 300-yard game up his sleeve? Maybe a couple?

Of course, everything starts with Indiana, which scored a major win in 2020 as the No. 12-ranked team in the land, beating Michigan 38-21 in Bloomington. That was arguably one of Hoosiers coach Tom Allen’s finest wins and a significant milestone for the IU program, so it’s safe to say he’s looking for a repeat — only this year, it’d be saving face and restoring a little bit of dignity. Last year, the Hoosiers were a surprise team that was supposed to really blossom this season.

Right now, IU is in the dumps with 2 injured QBs — starter Michael Penix Jr. and backup Jack Tuttle — and nursing a 2-6 record, in search of its first Big Ten win of the season.

Nov. 13 vs. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are also struggling, falling from the top-1o and looking like a big dog in the Big Ten, to No. 22 and barely hanging onto a national ranking. They’ve lost 3 in a row, including a 9-OT craziness-filled 20-18 loss to Illinois and, most recently a 33-24 loss to then-No. 6 Ohio State. Don’t forget about the one that started the slide, a 23-20 loss at Iowa.

If Michigan beats Indiana, which it should, then downing Penn State would be the next step toward redemption. Regardless of Penn State’s record, a win would definitely be a highlight for the Wolverines, especially because it’s at Penn State. Imagine if the Nittany Lions are still ranked? That’d give Harbaugh an elusive win over a ranked team 

And it’d probably restore some confidence.

He’s 11-17 while facing ranked foes at Michigan.

Nov. 20 vs. Maryland

The Terps just took out Allen’s Hoosiers, 38-35, so that should serve as some sort of positive sign in regard to Michigan’s chances in a few weeks. Maryland started out hot, in terms of scoring, during the first 2 weeks, scoring a combined 92 points in two victories. Since then, the Terps have struggled to put a pair of touchdowns — and maybe some pocket change — on the scoreboard, having been held to 20 or fewer 4 times this year.

This one is a must-win for Michigan, and it’s likely that UM will take care of business. Maryland has been a punching bag for Michigan during the past few seasons, and it’s due for another beating later this month.

Nov. 27 vs. Ohio State

Well, a 10-2 season wouldn’t be a total failure, right? Well, if  you ask UM fans, they’d probably say yes, knowing that 5 more points against MSU would have probably secured an 11-win season. An 11-1 finish would be Michigan’s first since 2006, when, you guessed it, Ohio State ruined the party with a 42-39 victory during one of the greatest games of the millennium. No. 1 Buckeyes vs. No. 2 Wolverines — oh, it was a dream game if there ever was one.

Four points kept Michigan from its first 12-0 season since 1997, when it shared a natty with Nebraska.

Brady Hoke went 11-2 in 2011, but his 11th win was the bowl win over Virginia Tech (thanks to K Brendan Gibbons).

Beating Ohio State would be a fairytale ending for the Wolverines. The loss to the Spartans wouldn’t sting nearly as much and they’d be a legit College Football Playoff contender/selection.