Michigan looking to heal; Northwestern, Illinois looking for bowl eligibility

There's no reason for Michigan to push tailback Mike Hart back into the lineup Saturday against Minnesota (ESPN Classic, 3:30 p.m. ET), which has proved it can't stop the run or the pass, be it against Division I competition or Division I-AA opponents. Hart's ankle sprain didn't heal in time for him to play in the Wolverines' 27-17 win at Illinois. All Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will say about Hart is, "Mike is going to be a lot better than he was last week. I think daily, he'll improve."

Not playing against the Gophers would give him essentially two more weeks to recover before a Nov. 3 trip to Michigan State. That's the first of a three-game finishing sprint in which Michigan absolutely cannot afford to be without a healthy Hart. After MSU, Michigan plays at Wisconsin and then finishes at home against Ohio State.