Wolverines wounded after another loss

Updated: October 6, 2003, 9:48 PM ET

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Grant Bowman has a strategy for dealing with the onslaught of criticism Michigan's football program is enduring.

"I don't read the newspaper, I don't listen to the radio and I don't watch TV," the fifth-year senior defensive tackle said. "We analyze our own game enough so we know what's going on better than any people out there, whether it's other students, media or all those armchair quarterbacks that know how to do it better than we do.

"But obviously, there's going to be a backlash when you lose and there's going to be doubters. There's always people second-guessing what you do. But that's what comes along with being at Michigan and we accept that. Bottom line, we haven't gotten the job done."

Michigan (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) started the season with the highest of hopes.

The Wolverines, with a slew of returning standouts and a favorable schedule, wanted to end the season playing at the Sugar Bowl for the Bowl Championship Series' national championship.

They got off to a good start with a 3-0 record and a No. 3 ranking in The Associated Press poll.

Then a loss at Oregon hurt their chances to make it to New Orleans. Another setback followed Saturday at Iowa, eliminating any chance the Wolverines will make it to the Sugar Bowl and making it very challenging for the team to play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1998.

Michigan plummeted to 20th in this week's AP poll.

"It's tough because you have a plan for the season and this is definitely not how we planned it," Bowman said.

Senior quarterback John Navarre fell to 0-6 on the road against ranked teams, but Michigan coach Lloyd Carr defended him again on Monday.

"John Navarre played extremely well and anybody who thinks he didn't doesn't know anything about the game," Carr said.

"The quarterback is always going to take the blame. What's remarkable about John is he deals with it much better than most people can."

Navarre's next chance to beat a ranked team on the road will come quickly because Friday night the Wolverines play at No. 17 Minnesota (6-0, 2-0). Michigan has won 14 straight against the Golden Gophers.

The game was moved from Saturday when the Minnesota Twins qualified for the playoffs. Navarre said playing Friday night may be positive for the Wolverines.

"We're going to be anxious to play," Navarre said.

The Wolverines are focused on winning their remaining six Big Ten games.

"If we win out, we'll have a chance to have at least a share of the Big Ten title," Navarre said.

Even if the Wolverines beat teams currently undefeated in the conference -- Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State -- they will need Wisconsin to lose to another team because the Badgers do not play Michigan this season.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index