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Michigan Wolverines

College Football

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Schedule

Michigan is entering the Alabama territory of being considered an elite team even with a huge loss of talent and experience due to recruiting. The Wolverines will be tested in the third year of Jim Harbaugh, but they at least should be fine in terms of quarterback.

Wilton Speight (61.6% completion, 18 TDs, 7 INTs) is back for his second season under center and while he didn't have a great spring, he’s a guy that could lead Michigan to a Big Ten title. Of course, that’s if he takes a logical step forward from last season. If not, Brandon Peters and John O’Korn are in waiting. The rest of the offense is the bigger question with three new offensive linemen, which still weren’t decided in the spring. The Wolverines still have a stable of backs with Chris Evans (614 yards, 4 TDs), Karan Higdon (425 yards, 6 TDs) and Ty Isaac (417 yards, 5 TDs), but being as effective as last year will be important behind the new line. Receiver is the biggest unknown with all of their top guys gone from a year ago so that remains a work in progress with guys like Tarick Black, Zach Gentry and Nate Schoenle fighting for time.

The loss of talent is the same on the defensive side with a number of NFL-level players gone at every level. The line should be solid with Rashad Gary and Maurice Hurst the top options, but probably won’t be as good as last season. The same can be said about every other position with Khaleke Hudson coming in at Jabrill Peppers’s hybrid role to go with an entirely new secondary. Noah Furbush and Devin Bush should be set at linebacker, but the secondary is another story. The Wolverines have had an elite defense the past two seasons, but with so many new faces, it’ll be a stretch to expect the same in 2017.

Still, Michigan has some of the best spring odds to win the National Championship at +1500 (seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook), while they have the second-best odds to win the Big Ten at +245. With an elite recruiting class, the sky is the limit for the team and we’ll get a good look at them in the opener against Florida.

Even with a win against the Gators, things don’t exactly slow down for Michigan with Cincinnati and Air Force being difficult non-conference tests. The Wolverines should open Big Ten play just fine as long as they can get by in-state rival Michigan State, although that game is never easy. Winning the Big Ten will mean beating Penn State and Wisconsin on the road, which is set to be an extremely difficult task unless Speight turns into a consistent quarterback through the season. And then of course, the finale against Ohio State awaits, so three conference losses isn’t out of the question for this team. While the sights are continually high for the Wolverines, it’s going to take a lot for them to make the conference title game this season with so much inexperience.

2017 Michigan Wolverines Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Florida
Sept. 9 vs. Cincinnati
Sept. 16 vs. Air Force
Sept. 23 at Purdue

Oct. 7 vs. Michigan State
Oct. 14 at Indiana
Oct. 21 at Penn State

Oct. 28 vs. Rutgers
Nov. 4 vs. Minnesota
Nov. 11 at Maryland
Nov. 18 at Wisconsin
Nov. 25 vs. Ohio State

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