Utah Michigan Odds
A new era begins at Ann Arbor this weekend as Rich Rodriguez makes his on the field debut as the new Michigan Wolverine head coach, as they host the very talented Utah Utes this Saturday afternoon. With many people picking Michigan to have a down year by their standards and the Utes to have one of their better seasons in school history, it makes for a very interesting matchup.
Why Utah Covers
The Utes are coming off another solid season where they were able to put together another winning season, and their 3 consecutive bowl win, as they handed Navy a 35-32 defeat in the Poinsettia Bowl. Almost everyone remembers the shocking defeat Michigan suffered against Appalachian State in their first game of the season, but the Wolverines were able to bounce back an finish the season at 8-4, after a pretty surprising win over Florida in the Capital One Bowl.
When you take a look at both offenses, the Utes comes in rearing and ready to go, while many of the Michigan players are faced with learning a whole new system, and having to replace a number of players at key positions. The Utes offense relies on the arm of Brian Johnson, as he looks to come back strong after shoulder surgery. He should have no problem spreading the ball, he gets back Brent Casteel after he was lost in the second game of the season last year, and add in the play of senior Bradon Godfrey you got a nice 1-2 punch. Speaking of 1-2 punches with the emergence of Darrel Mack last season, after Matt Asiata was lost in the in opener, means the Utes have one of their best rushing attacks in years. When you talk about Michigan they are still are up in the air on their starting quarterback, as Nich Sheridan and Steven Threet continue to battle it out. Not helping matters is the fact that this unit has only 1 senior coming back, and players at the skilled positions of receiver and running back, have shown little in their limited playing time. In time this offense will be good, it is just very unlikely it picks up to start the season.
Why Michigan Covers
Defensively both teams look pretty strong, as they both come in with some big time playmakers. The Utes defense was a force last season ranking 5th in the nation in points allowed at 16.8 a game. This year the unit will be led by the outstanding play of senior defensive back Brice McCain, who joins a pretty solid secondary that also includes preseason All-Conference player Robert Johnson. Up front the Utes will count on the play of Paul Kruger on the line, while linebacker Stevenson Sylvester is expected to have an even bigger season in 2008. The Wolverines are solid up front as well, as defensive tackle Terrence Taylor and defensive end Tim Jamison are the stars on what should be one the best lines in the Big 10. With 3 starters back in the secondary led by senior safety Brandon Harrison, it really makes this unit solid all over the field.
When it comes down to it the battle will likely come down to witch offense is able to put the ball in the end zone, and which team ends up settling for field goals. Turnovers will likely play a key role in this one as well. So with a few days left till kickoff, be sure to keep up to date with the latest odds for both teams at our live lines.