There are questions surrounding resurgent Michigan as the Wolverines prepare to invade Ohio Stadium for this week's high-stakes showdown with Ohio State.

There are questions surrounding resurgent Michigan as the Wolverines prepare to invade Ohio Stadium for this week's high-stakes showdown with Ohio State.

Will regular starter Wilton Speight be healthy enough to start at quarterback, or will Michigan go with backup John O'Korn for a second straight game?

Can the Wolverines stand up to a true road test two weeks after their only loss, at Iowa, and do so at Ohio Stadium, where they haven't won since 2000?

Will Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh take his shirt off, climb a tree, and send out a barrage of tweets to Judge Judy?

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With Harbaugh, you never know, but don't let his eccentric behavior distract from the fact that he has done what he was hired to do, despite being in only his second season: Restore the wounded Wolverines to national prominence.

There are far more certainties than questions about this Michigan team. This is not another tissue-soft version coached by Rich Rodriguez or Brady Hoke. Longtime close observers of the Wolverines say that Harbaugh has forged a solid, tough, disciplined team.

Statistics bear out the new reputation, and it shows in how Michigan (10-1) controls its destiny in the chase to add to its record 42 Big Ten titles, which would be its first since 2004.

Win on Saturday, and the Wolverines (7-1 in the East Division) advance to next week's Big Ten championship game and keep alive their chances for a playoff spot as they try for their first national title since 1997.

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"I feel like we're ready to go to battle in a football-fighting way," Harbaugh said. "I'm ready to lead them."

Harbaugh knows he has his hands full with the Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1), who thrashed his first Michigan team 42-13 a year ago with an astounding 369 yards rushing in Ann Arbor.

"It's a large task," Harbaugh said. "It's a tremendous challenge. They're a great football team - great coaching and tremendous talent."

Ohio State has won four straight, 11 of 12, and 13 of 15 in a series that defines legacies and ends coaching tenures. Hoke was fired after four years with the Wolverines soon after the 2014 season concluded with a 42-28 loss at Ohio Stadium.

That completed the worst seven-year stretch of football at Michigan in 50 years under Hoke and his predecessor, Rodriguez. The Wolverines went 46-42 in that span, including 24-32 in the Big Ten, with 11 losses in their final 17 conference games.

Harbaugh immediately infused the sagging program with his kinetic energy, albeit in often quirky fashion. He pounded the Wolverines with four-hour practices in his first spring. They responded with a 10-3 record last year, and then won their first nine games this season.

Michigan's streak ended Nov. 12 with a 14-13 loss at Iowa, where Speight injured his left (nonthrowing) shoulder. Harbaugh was coy about the junior's possible return. Speight practiced some on Tuesday.

More certain is Michigan's defense, led by versatile linebacker Jabrill Peppers - a finalist for numerous national awards - and All-America cornerback Jourdan Lewis. The Wolverines, leading the country in total defense, limited Indiana to 255 yards in last week's 20-10 win to finish 8-0 at home.

"Any big game, any championship game, also any road game, you've got to pack your defense," Harbaugh said.

Michigan also will bring an experienced team to Columbus. The Wolverines have 43 fourth- and fifth-year seniors. They began their careers mocked for ineptitude, and now want to end them in memorable fashion.

"Our guys will be up for the challenge," Harbaugh said.