Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh delivered a stunning statement on the day in which the Wolverines learned they will face South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Simply put, his team isn't all that good.
Harbaugh sees an 8-4 record in his third season at the helm and knows that isn't what anybody was expecting. Including him.
"We look at it right now, we're not good enough. Not good enough to win all our games," Harbaugh said on a conference call. "We need to be better. We need to be good enough. ...
"We'll go forward building and attacking, using our meeting time, training time, practice time and this next bowl game to motivate us and improve as a football team."
Michigan was supposed to be pushing for Big Ten titles and berths in the College Football Playoff on Harbaugh's watch.
But right now, facing another 8-4 squad like South Carolina is the school's reality. And the outgoing players know it is time to make the best of the situation and enjoy suiting up against the Gamecocks.
"I don't know a whole lot, but it's just an exciting matchup," senior left tackle Mason Cole said. "Two big-time programs. Playing an SEC team. It's exciting. It's a great opportunity for us."
The Wolverines and Gamecocks have met in the Outback Bowl before and that Jan. 1, 2013 meeting is remembered more for a singular play than the outcome of the game.
That was the contest in which then-South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney delivered the hit that went viral and remains one of the fiercest blows in recent college football history.
Clowney broke through the line unblocked and clobbered Michigan's Vincent Smith in the backfield. Smith's helmet went flying and so did the ball with Clowney recovering as the most memorable moment of the Gamecocks' 33-28 victory.
"I'm going to see if he's got a year of eligibility left. Even a quarter," South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said of Clowney as he joked with reporters. "I've seen it a lot, it looked good. I don't where I was at the time, but I've seen it a bunch. It was a nice hit."
While there are no Clowney-like dominators on the Gamecocks this season, the defense did allow 20 or fewer points in five of their victories.
Michigan hopes to test the unit behind redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters, who will be back in the lineup after missing the regular-season finale against Ohio State due to a concussion.
South Carolina has won two of the previous three meetings.