The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Michigan Wolverines.
No. 14: Michigan Wolverines
Spring Practice Starts: March 23
Spring Game: April 14
Michigan Wolverines Spring Status
Wasn’t last year supposed to be the big rebuilding year? It was, but it’s not like there’s a massive, obvious payoff about to come after going through the struggles.
Even with the turnover, it was a painfully disappointing season going 1-5 against teams that went to a bowl game, another loss to Ohio State, another loss to Michigan, and an embarrassing bowl gack to South Carolina.
There is hope, though.
The defense is going to be devastating – again. Even though DT Maurice Hurst and LB Mike McCray are gone, this will be a top ten overall D.
The offense is going to be a big question mark – again. The line needs a few new parts, the quarterback play has to be better, and the production has to be stronger overall.
And Jim Harbaugh has to beat Ohio State. Because he doesn’t know that already.
Michigan Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Left tackle. Center Patrick Kugler was terrific, and Mason Cole was often the best player up front. Now the Wolverines have to find replacements for both, with Cole the harder one to lose. It’ll be an open casting call for the job, with the finger-crossed hope that Rice graduate transfer Calvin Anderson will choose the Wolverines over Auburn and Texas and solve the problem.
Michigan Biggest Issue
An efficient passing game. There’s really no excuse. Harbaugh is a historically-strong quarterback whisperer, the young receivers were fantastic, and the quarterback talent just isn’t that bad. But the passing game just isn’t working like it should.
The program of Tom Brady finished a pathetic 115th in the nation in efficiency. Three Michigan quarterbacks combined to hit just 54% of their passes with nine touchdowns and ten interceptions, with just six scoring throws over the last 11 games.
Michigan Biggest Positive
No one’s running on this defense. The Wolverines finished 18th in the nation against the run, and now eight of the top 11 tacklers are back, including star LB Devin Bush, DE Chase Winovich, and future top ten overall pick DT Rashan Gary.
Really, Why Are The Michigan Wolverines Ranked Here?
It’s not going to take all that much for the Wolverines to be a whole lot better. If Ole Miss grad transfer Shea Patterson is under center – if the NCAA lets him – or if Brandon Peters is better, then look out. As long as the offense can be more consistent and stronger, everything else will be fine.
Michigan beats Michigan State last year with some semblance of an offense – and if the weather wasn’t awful – it might have stepped up in the second half against Wisconsin, and it definitely puts away South Carolina.
Considering the pressure on the program now, and Harbaugh, everything that happens this spring will be scrutinized more than normal.