After another good but not great season that ended in a 9-4 record under Jim Harbaugh, the oddsmakers may have figured out Michigan.
The past three years Michigan’s National Championship odds were set below +20 to 1, but this season, it opened +45 to 1 at 5Dimes with an over/under of 9 wins. The Wolverines were also +650 to win the Big Ten, third best in the conference.
Dylan McCaffrey Likely Starting QB
Michigan will have a new quarterback in 2020 and it’s likely to be former backup Dylan McCaffrey. He doesn’t have massive shoes to fill so it’s not like this offense won’t be able to top last year’s 401.5 yards and 31.7 points per game.
If McCaffrey, who may be more effective on the ground than through the air, doesn’t get the job, Joe Milton is next in line and the better passer.
Either way, the line has a lot of new faces after most of last year’s group was taken in the NFL Draft. Sure, there’s talent but given the lack of an offseason, the line could have some growing pains.
The hope is that the line will be good enough to keep the rushing attack moving along behind running backs Zach Charbonnet (726 yards, 11 TDs) and Hassan Haskins (622 yards, 4 TDs).
It’s the same case at receiver where Ronnie Bell (758 yards) and Nico Collins (729 yards, 7 TDs) return as the hands-down top options for the quarterback.
Defense Has Plenty of Talent
For the Wolverines to have a chance at 10 wins, the defense will need to match last year’s numbers after allowing 292.8 yards and 19.5 points per game.
The group was dominant at times, but they also struggled against the best teams on the schedule, highlighted by the 56 points allowed to Ohio State.
The thought is that youth and returning starters will be enough. Talent returns at every level with ends Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson standing out on the line, while linebackers Cameron McGrone and Josh Ross lead a stout unit.
The secondary will have some position battles, but guys like corner Ambry Thomas and safety Brad Hawkins put in work last season and should be the stand outs. Needless to say, this will be another elite defense.
Things get started right off the bat with a trip to Washington, but Michigan doesn’t get much time to rest with its first three Big Ten games coming against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State.
Wolverines Early 12 Point Dogs vs. Ohio State
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Wolverines opened 2-3 or 5-0. This team has the talent as usual, but there are questions on the offensive end. Even the trip to Minnesota can’t be chalked up as a win these days and then the rivalry in Columbus doesn’t help.
There isn’t as much hype on Michigan this season because of a new quarterback and mostly new offensive line. Surpassing nine wins is going to take a lot of work and for one of the quarterbacks to take over and get the offense to better numbers than a year ago.
That’s hard to bank on even in Year 2 of their new coordinator, especially given the loss on the line and that it’ll be hard for the defense to vastly improve from last season.
2020 Michigan Wolverines Schedule
Sept. 5 at Washington (early preseason line UM pk)
Sept. 12 vs. Ball State
Sept. 19 vs. Arkansas State
Sept. 26 vs. Wisconsin (UM -3)
Oct. 3 vs. Penn State (UM -1.5)
Oct. 10 at Michigan State
Oct. 17 at Minnesota
Oct. 24 vs. Purdue
Nov. 7 vs. Maryland
Nov. 14 at Rutgers
Nov. 21 vs. Indiana
Nov. 28 at Ohio State (UM +11.5)