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Odds and Schedule
Michigan's stock continues to rise in the preseason much like it has since Brady Hoke took over two years ago. Even though they finished with an 8-5 record last year, many could say it was better than 2011's 11-2 record. All of their losses were either on the road or at a neutral site against some of the best teams in the country. They had to deal with Denard Robinson getting hurt late in the year, and the transition went smoothly as Devin Gardner took over under center in a more pro-style offense. They're still making that transition on offense, but things can only go up for them. A torn ACL to defensive leader Jake Ryan will hurt them early on, but he could be back as early as October. The Wolverines have their sights set on a Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance.
Michigan's current odds to win the BCS Title are 40 to 1 at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
This team only returns 11 starters from last year, but the new talent coming in should help out plenty. Gardner still has plenty of room to improve and will obviously be the most important piece in this puzzle. Losing Denard Robinson takes away their biggest playmaker from the last few years and they don't exactly have someone to take his place yet. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is the one player that needs to step up after breaking his leg last year. They'll hope a couple freshmen can help supplement Jeremy Gallon in the passing game. While they are losing three starters on the offensive line, they have two tackles returning which should make the process easier.
The Wolverines are losing four All-Big Ten studs on the defensive end, but they have plenty of talent to go around. Even with Ryan injured early on, they have enough depth to be able to deal with anything that comes about. Michigan is once again at the top of the recruiting trail which means they don't really fall off when some of their stars leave. That's exactly what's happening this year. In what many thought was going to be a down year, the Wolverines are back right where they started and possibly even better.
Michigan Wolverines Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Central Michigan
Sept. 7 vs. Notre Dame
Sept. 14 vs. Akron
Sept. 21 at UConn
Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota
Oct. 12 at Penn State
Oct. 19 vs. Indiana
Nov. 1 at Michigan State
Nov. 9 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 16 at Northwestern
Nov. 23 at Iowa
Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State
As usual, Michigan will get an early test with Notre Dame in September. They'll be in Ann Arbor for this one which should give them the extra edge. Their opening schedule is quite friendly outside of the Fighting Irish which means a 5-0 start could be likely when they head to Penn State at the beginning of October. The Nittany Lions impressed many last year and will be an interesting team to watch in 2013. Not many are giving them a chance to be good once again.
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Michigan's next road game comes just an hour up the road in East Lansing. They grueled out a 12-10 win last year over the Spartans and will be in for another in-state battle. Michigan State puts a lot in this rivalry and it wouldn't be surprising if this was the Wolverines first loss.
From there, UM will get two road games at Northwestern and Iowa before rounding out the season against the Buckeyes. It wouldn't be surprising if they met Ohio State again in the Big Ten Championship game. The difference with these teams is that Michigan wants a Rose Bowl while Ohio State has their eyes on a National Championship.
If all goes smoothly for this offense, only two or three losses should be expected for the Wolverines. If they end up with more, they will likely come from some of those conference road games late in the year.
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