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2018

Michigan Wolverines

College Football

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Per usual, the odds are high on Michigan to do well this season.  A year ago in the spring, the Wolverines were +1500 to win the College Football Playoff. This time around, they’re at +1400 to win it (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) and +240 to make the playoff, the fifth-best odds. In that same vein, quarterback Shea Patterson is +2000 to win the Heisman. Outside of Ann Arbor, these numbers are a bit of a stretch considering this team went 8-5 last year with a 5-4 record in Big Ten play. To close the season, they let a 19-3 lead go down the drain in a bowl loss to South Carolina.

The only way for Michigan to have a chance is if Patterson lives up to the hype after getting eligible immediately following his transfer from Ole Miss. Patterson has all the hype in the world and now gets to work with Jim Harbaugh, but his numbers leave a lot to be desired. Prior to tearing his PCL, Patterson was mediocre in 2017 with Ole Miss. He had 17 touchdowns and nine picks in seven starts, but 15 of those TDs came against weaker competition. Against Alabama, Auburn and LSU, he managed two touchdowns and five interceptions. It’d be a surprise if he didn’t beat Brandon Peters for the job, but after the spring game was cancelled, there’s still some thought Peters could see early action. Outside of quarterback, Michigan’s biggest question on offense is the line that loses a couple guys, namely its regular at left tackle. The Wolverines will need to find a replacement in order to repeat last year’s rushing success between Karan Higdon (994 yards, 11 TDs) and Chris Evans (685 yards, 6 TDs). They also need their young receivers to step up after a miserable 2017 (three WR touchdowns). Donovan Peoples-Jones, Grant Perry and Tarik Black should all improve their numbers, especially Black after getting hurt early last year.

Michigan will be competitive in every game once again because its defense remains one of the best in the country with nine starters returning. A couple guys are gone to the NFL, but the Wolverines are still loaded across the board a year after giving up just 143 passing yards and 18.3 points per game. Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary are two of the best along the line, while Devin Bush is set for a huge season at linebacker. LaVert Hill and David Long combine to form the best set of cornerbacks in the conference and both should be enough in the secondary after the safeties struggled last season.   

To live up to the odds, Michigan will have to find its offense in the first game with a trip to Notre Dame. If the Wolverines can get past that, the schedule opens nicely with five of their next six at the Big House and the only road game coming at Northwestern. The last half of the schedule is a bit more difficult with trips to MSU and OSU as well as a home game against Penn State. The defense will keep Michigan in every game this season, but it’ll be up to Patterson and the offense to win them. Nine or 10 wins are on the table for this team, but reaching the College Football Playoff is a stretch unless Harbaugh can pull some magic after three mostly disappointing seasons.

 

2018 Michigan Wolverines Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at Notre Dame 

Sept. 8 vs. Western Michigan

Sept. 15 vs. SMU 

Sept. 22 vs. Nebraska

Sept. 29 at Northwestern

Oct. 6 vs. Maryland

Oct. 13 vs. Wisconsin

Oct. 20 at Michigan State

Nov. 3 vs. Penn State

Nov. 10 at Rutgers

Nov. 17 vs. Indiana

Nov. 24 at Ohio State


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