If you look closer at Michigan's 2012 schedule and compare it with this week's Associated Press top 25 poll, you'll notice something - Michigan faced the nation's top three college football teams this season (as ranked by members of the media).
And the Wolverines lost all three matchups - in chronological order: 41-14 Sept. 1 against No. 2 Alabama in Arlington, Texas; 13-6 Sept. 22 at No. 1 Notre Dame and 26-21 Nov. 24 at No. 3 Ohio State.
Will it benefit the Wolverines, in preparation for the Outback Bowl, where they'll face No. 11 South Carolina on Jan. 1 in Tampa?
"When you play good football teams and whether you win or lose, I think you learn how you have to play," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday. "You learn that you have to do a better job taking care of the football. You've got to be able to run the football better. You have to be able to get the ball back for your offense at the end of the game to give them an opportunity to score.
"Those are all things you take out of the last game (Nov. 24 at Ohio State), that we didn't do."
In addition, Michigan simply got manhandled by the Crimson Tide in the season opener at Cowboys Stadium. Three weeks later, the Fighting Irish picked off Denard Robinson and Vincent Smith five times and held the Wolverines to a pair of field goals.
In retrospect, the Wolverines now consider those games learning experiences.
"Going into this game, that might be a boost," Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said. "We lost those games, still, but it gives us a boost to know that we can play with anybody. Any time we step on the field, we can play with them, but we've just got to finish. We all know how to finish games, now."