Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Michigan Wolverines season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Michigan Wolverines
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Michigan Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It’s going to be okay. And if it’s not, what else are you going to do?
Of course, Michigan fans, you want a win over Ohio State.
Of course you want to put Michigan State back into “little brother” status.
Of course you want a national title, and Big Ten championships, and all of the things you were hoping for when Jim Harbaugh took over.
But so far under the favorite son, who has it better than Michigan? Nooooooobody …
Except the Buckeyes and Spartans, and just as importantly on a national scale, Penn State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Washington, USC, Oklahoma, Florida State, and just to turn the screws a little more, Stanford.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, there are all sorts of snarky ways to make it seem like the Harbaugh era is basically Brady Hoke Part 2 so far, but that’s obviously not the case.
What’s the alternative, find a different head coach? When your guy is Jim Harbaugh, you wait it out for the payoff.
Remember, this is the program of Bo Schembechler and his zero national championships. This is the school with a fan base – to generalize, of course – that never appreciated Lloyd Carr before he won a national title, and was never quite smitten enough after he got the job done in 1997.
Forgetting what strange polling systems are acknowledged, when it comes to the ones that matter, Michigan has a grand total of one national championship from 1948 until now.
At some point, Michigan really is going to beat Ohio State again. At some point, those breaks and those close games will all go the right way.
Of course, Michigan is supposed to be a leader and best, or something, and it’s supposed to be the star program that rips through everything in its path no matter what, but by normal and realistic standards, this just hasn’t been that bad.
Of the 11 losses so far in the Harbaugh era, nine of them came against teams that went on to win ten games or more. Three of those – sorry – were against fantastic Ohio State teams, one was to a Michigan State squad that went to the College Football Playoff, and one was on the road against a fabulous 2017 Wisconsin team.
And the two losses to teams that didn’t hit the ten-win mark? Last year’s Outback Bowl meltdown against nine-win South Carolina, and the epic 14-13 thriller in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes two years ago.
It’s not like Harbaugh has a 55-24 – cough, cough, Buckeyes – loss to Iowa, or a Spartan-like 3-9 record in 2016, on the resume.
Remember, last year’s Michigan team had to replace almost everyone, especially on defense, and spent the year trying to find something that worked at quarterback. Few wanted to hear it, but it was supposed to be a do-over year.
To hammer home the point, the five losses were to Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State – all four of those went on to roll to wins in major bowl games – and to South Carolina.
But yeah, you want more, Harbaugh deniers – and you’re right. We were all promised more magic.
So here’s the deal. If you acknowledge that last season really was a rebuild, then you’re allowed to demand something amazing in Year Four, even with a brutal schedule with road games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State, and with Penn State and Wisconsin to deal with.
If last year was a bit of a redo and a rebuild, then this is when it all needs to come together.
The defense that had to replace just about everyone now gets just about all the parts back after coming up with a phenomenal season. There wasn’t any rebuilding needing be done on that side of the ball last year, or this season, either.
On the other side, the young receivers and skill stars who needed to get their feet wet now should blow up, especially after getting free agent quarterback Shea Patterson from Ole Miss to sling it around. The running backs are great, the O line is fine – not special, but fine …
And, of course, the head coach is special, too.