1. Win the Big Ten Championship
That was the last time Michigan won the Big Ten title – sharing it with Iowa – but along the way, it lost to Notre Dame on the road early and at Ohio State late – both of those things can’t happen this time around if it’s going to be a College Football Playoff season.
Since that year, Ohio State has won seven Big Ten titles – and was the best team in an unbeaten 2012 season that doesn’t count in the record books.
Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin have each won three Big Ten championships since 2004. It’s time for Michigan to finally be do that whole Leaders and Best thing.
With its nasty schedule – forgetting for a moment the second part of this Path to the Playoff – it might really be possible to lose at Notre Dame right out of the gate, get better and better as the season goes on, lose in a close battle once more, and still get in at 11-2 with a Big Ten championship.
But with this defense, improved offense, and with the pressure on, just go 12-1 – at least – and take away a Big Ten Championship. Do that, and the Harbaugh era will finally come close to fulfilling its destiny.