Michigan Football 2016 – 2017 Season Preview and Predictions
Michigan fans have been waiting for this season to start as soon as the Citrus Bowl was over. Michigan’s first season under Jim Harbaugh went better than many, (including myself) expected. Michigan had a heart breaking loss to Michigan State, got stomped by Ohio State, and lost to Utah week one. Besides those games, they had some good wins over BYU, Florida, Northwestern and Penn State. Michigan ended 10-3 with a game away from the Big Ten Championship game and a possible playoff appearance. Now, with many familiar faces returning for their senior season, a better defensive coordinator and a top five recruiting class, Michigan has the best chance to get into the playoffs this year. Michigan will have a tougher schedule than last year, as they now travel to East Lansing and Columbus, but they also have to travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. If Jim Harbaugh wants to bring a championship to the city of Ann Arbor and the state of Michigan, this will be his best chance for that, as many experienced and talented players will be gone and he might not have a better chance until 2018. With that all said, let’s take a look a the upcoming season and see what could happen to the Maize and Blue with year two of Harbaugh.
Week 1 – Hawaii Warriors
First game of the year for Michigan is against the Hawaii Warriors and it should be an easy win. John O’Korn is the predicted starter at quarterback and the offense will have a field day against the weak Warrior defense and the new look defense with Don Brown at the helm will show off what it can do. Michigan can show off their new jumpman jerseys in style with an easy win.
Michigan Wins 49 – 9
Week 2 – UCF Knights
Week two is even easier than week one. Michigan takes on a team who didn’t even win a game last year in the UCF Knights. If Michigan will have a field day with Hawaii, expect them to go crazy against the Knights. This should be the biggest blowout of the season.
Michigan wins 63-7
Week 3 – Colorado Buffaloes
Michigan finishes non-conference play with a game against Colorado. The last time these two teams played, things were crazy and an upset happened at The Big House. Things this time around are very different and the outcome will not be the same. Michigan will finish non-conference play with a good win and the most important part of the season will begin in week four.
Michigan wins 42-10
Week 4 – Penn State
Michigan starts conference play with the Penn State. Last years game was somewhat close and it was at Happy Valley with Christian Hackenberg at the quarterback position. Now the Wolverines host the game and Penn State will have a new quarterback leading the charge. Michigan will be favored to win this game and it won’t be a blowout like the first three games of the season were, Penn State is a tough school to blow out.
Michigan wins 31-14
Week 5 – Wisconsin Badgers
Next up is the Wisconsin Badgers as they renew their series against each other for the first time since 2010. Wisconsin had a 10-3 season last year, finishing the year ranked number 21. This will be the first true test for Michigan and luckily they have this game at home. Michigan’s defense will really have to step up and make some key plays if they want to avoid a possible upset early in the season.
Michigan wins 28-24
Week 6 – @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The first away game takes Michigan to Rutgers in primetime as they take on a small rival here. Michigan has been going into Rutgers territory and taking recruits right out of its own state of New Jersey and Rutgers isn’t happy about it. Luckily for Michigan they have a more talented team and even though Rutgers will be rocking in a primetime game at their home place, Michigan shouldn’t have an issue with the Knights.
Michigan wins 31-13
Week 7 – BYE
Week 8 – Illinois Fighting Illini
Coming out of the bye week and with Michigan State the following week, Michigan could be in a trap game right here. Lovie Smith is the new head coach of Illinois and that is a huge help for the university and recruiting. Smith will help the Illini and could make them contend in the future. He will be looking to catch Michigan off guard and Michigan will slip, but luckily catch themselves and keep the dream season alive.
Michigan wins 21-18
Week 9 – @ Michigan State
Heartbreak. Revenge. Vengeance. These are three of the feelings many Michigan fans had last year when the Wolverines lost to Michigan State. They felt heart-broken to have the game wrapped up and won, only for it to get botched on a simple punt and seeing little brother get away with a lucky win. They wanted revenge, as they were cheated out of a victory. They want vengeance to just put a licking on the Spartans to prove last year was a fluke. This season will be that year. Michigan State is in a rebuilding phase as Connor Cook is in the NFL, Aaron Burbridge is gone as well along with three of the five starting offensive lineman. The defense lost some help on the line and in the secondary. Overall Michigan State is weak and Michigan has the more experienced and better overall players. If Michigan somehow loses this game, expect riots in Ann Arbor.
Michigan wins 31-21
Week 10 – Maryland
Former defensive coordinator now head coach of Maryland, DJ Durkin will be back in the Big House, this time on the opposing side of the field. Durkin will know how to take down the Wolverine offense, but Harbaugh could mix things up with DJ knowing the team from last year. Maryland will improve on defense, but Michigan’s defense will be better and will win them the game.
Michigan wins 24-14
Week 11 – @ Iowa
The second hardest game on the schedule is late in the year. Michigan hasn’t played Iowa since 2013 and since 2009, Michigan has only won one game against the Hawkeyes. That was in the past with two bad coaches and now there is a new man in town to help lead this team. Coaching will really help here as Iowa is always a tough team to compete against and with them being one game away from appearing in the College Football Playoffs and not losing many of their star players, Iowa will be hungry to come back and get that playoff appearance. The game is a prime time game and at Iowa, so the stadium will be loud and rocking. It will be a battle of the two best cornerbacks in college football in Desmond King and Jourdan Lewis. This game could go either way and will make or break the Wolverines chances of being in the playoffs. With that said, Michigan did have a top five defense last year, so the edge will go to them.
Michigan wins 17-14
Week 12 – Indiana
Last season Michigan had some trouble with the Hoosiers, only winning by a defensive stop on the goal line. This time, Michigan still has the same players, while Indiana lost their quarterback and others. Michigan will have an easy day with Indiana before playing Ohio State.
Michigan wins 42-10
Week 13 – @ Ohio State
This game could be like 2006, a battle of the top two teams in college football. Michigan will be coming in 11-0 and Ohio State could be in the same boat. Ohio State is losing a lot more than Michigan though. JT Barrett is still at quarterback, so Ohio State is fine there, but backup Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller are gone. Elliot is gone in the back field and some of the offensive line is gone. Defensive line loses Bosa and the linebacking core lost two starters and the defensive backs lost some help as well. Michigan should have the talent advantage here, but if Ohio State comes in 11-0 as well the game will be a lot tougher. Michigan will be really hungry, just one win away from a conference championship and a chance to play for the title. This is Michigan’s year and they will knock down Ohio State in their own stadium.
Michigan wins 28-17
Big Ten Championship Game – Iowa
Well Iowa we meet again. Iowa will be in the title game again this year and after losing to the Wolverines and getting a second chance at a conference title, Iowa will be more ready for a game then they ever have been before. Sadly for them, Michigan has a better coaching staff and they will learn from their mistakes from the first game against the Hawkeyes in the year, and they say defense wins championships.
Michigan wins 24-10
College Football Playoff Semi-Final – Clemson
Michigan comes in to the college football playoff as the number two seed and they take on the Clemson Tigers. DeShaun Watson will be a very tough test for the Wolverines and he will dominate the first half. The second half though, that is going to be a different tale. The defense will start shutting him down slowly and the offense will come alive and lead to a comeback victory.
Michigan wins 28-24
College Football Playoff Championship Game – Alabama
Michigan vs Alabama for the college football championship. The last time these two teams played each other, Michigan got beat down in Dallas. Last time Alabama was in the title game against a Big Ten opponent? They lost. Saban just won a championship again last year against the Clemson Tigers and this year against the Michigan Wolverines will be a different tale. The game will be very defense heavy and hard hits. Both offenses will be slow to gain yards and points will be hard to come by. In the end, Michigan will have the number one defense and one final stop will win the Wolverines a championship!
Michigan wins 17-14
Michigan Football Season Review
Now there is my season prediction for the 2016-2017 season. Is it bold to predict an undefeated season? Definitely. One of the things coming into 2015 with coach Harbaugh at the helm was “it is only year one for Harbaugh, Michigan won’t be a contender yet.” He proved us wrong with a 10-3 record and a top five recruiting class. With year two and new freshman who can contribute, and veteran players who returned to give the state one more shot at a title before they move on to the NFL, Michigan is in the best scenario to win the championship. Harbaugh wanted to bring a title to Ann Arbor, and in just two years he turned Michigan back into what it once was, a powerhouse, a dynasty.