The 2017 season did not pan out as the Michigan Wolverines hoped. Despite starting the season with a win over Florida, the Wolverines suffered a home loss to Michigan State and then a humiliating defeat at the hands of Penn State. Jim Harbaugh’s team then closed the season with three straight losses to Wisconsin, Ohio State, and a bowl loss to South Carolina.
The Michigan offense struggled to find a rhythm all season, using three different quarterbacks without finding any answers. Harbaugh hopes that Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson can provide the answer the Wolverines need at quarterback and become the catalyst for a bounce-back year in Ann Arbor.
The oddsmakers are big believers in Michigan, as they are +2000 to win the national title, which is tied for the sixth-best odds. Michigan’s projected win total is also set at nine wins, despite playing in a Big Ten East division that’s loaded at the top.
Those are some lofty expectations for the Wolverines, who may want to pump the breaks a little. Patterson was a big-time recruit coming out of high school but he missed the second half of last season at Ole Miss due to injury. He also struggled with turnovers when facing quality defenses. There are also questions about the Michigan offensive line, which is never a good sign. Perhaps most concerning is that Harbaugh is yet to name an offensive coordinator, leaving a lot of unanswered questions for the Michigan offense heading into the season.
On the bright side, the Michigan defense returns several key players from a unit that was one of the best in the country last season. Regardless of what the Wolverines do on offense, the Michigan defense should keep them in games. However, they’ll face plenty of solid defensive teams in the Big Ten, so that may not be enough to separate them from the pack. Reaching their expected mark of nine wins may not be a sound bet for Michigan fans.
|Sep 1||@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish||7:30 PM|
|Sep 8||Western Michigan Broncos||12:00 PM|
|Sep 15||Southern Methodist Mustangs||3:30 PM|
|Sep 22||Nebraska Cornhuskers||12:00 PM|
|Sep 29||@ Northwestern Wildcats||1:00 PM|
|Oct 6||Maryland Terrapins||12:00 PM|
|Oct 13||Wisconsin Badgers||12:00 PM|
|Oct 20||@ Michigan State Spartans||12:00 PM|
|Nov 3||Penn State Nittany Lions||12:00 PM|
|Nov 10||@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights||12:00 PM|
|Nov 17||Indiana Hoosiers||12:00 PM|
|Nov 24||@ Ohio State Buckeyes||12:00 PM|
We’ll learn a lot about Michigan right off the bat as they open the season against Notre Dame in South Bend. The Wolverines also face difficult road games against Northwestern, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Home games against Wisconsin and Penn State are also among Michigan’s marquee games. That’s six games against potential top-25 teams for a team that has struggled to win big games in recent years. Even home dates against SMU, Nebraska, and Maryland may not be automatic wins.
In short, the Wolverines face a difficult schedule one year after failing to beat most of the quality opponents they faced. The defense will keep them in games and Patterson gives the Michigan offense some reason to hope. But the Wolverines face too many questions to think that they will finish any better than fourth in the Big Ten East or come anywhere close to reaching the College Football Playoff.