Michigan Wolverines College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Forget about Ohio State.
It’s like blaming an SEC team right now for not being better than Alabama, or an ACC program for not being able to get by Clemson, or any fast foot restaurant’s fries being compared to McDonald’s. It’s not fair.
Take the rivalry factor out of all of this and accept that Ohio State has become a bigger monster than ever that’s showing no signs of slowing the roll.
Of course, if you’re the Michigan head coach and you don’t beat that team at least once in a while, you’re soon no longer the Michigan head coach.
But again, that’s not really fair – even for Michigan. Ohio State is Ohio State. That’s not the problem … for now.
27-24 to a bad Michigan State team. Losing to Indiana by 17, being totally outclassed by a mediocre Wisconsin, and being dropped by a losing Penn State team 27-17 – that’s the problem.
For all of Harbaugh’s issues over his era, he has almost always been able to beat the teams he’s supposed to beat. That might seem like a low bar for Michigan, but there was a painful stretch before Harbaugh took over when taking down the winnable wasn’t always a given.
Before 2020, under Harbaugh, the tough 14-13 walk-off loss at Iowa in 2016 was the only time Michigan dropped a game to a team that didn’t finish with at least ten wins.
But you’ve heard this before – like in last year’s Michigan preview and as the guts for my stump speech on the Jim Harbaugh Apologist Tour.
2020 was 2020 – everyone deserves a break – but Harbaugh lost to two teams that finished with losing records and at home to a Wisconsin team that was a mere shadow of its normal self.
And no, Michigan shouldn’t be losing to Indiana no matter what.
Set The Michigan Wolverines Regular Season Win Total At … 8.5
As always, there’s talent at Michigan. As always, there’s no reason the starting 22 shouldn’t at least be able to hang with anyone outside of the elite of the truly elite.
It’s not like Harbaugh can’t coach – he came within a completion of possibly winning a Super Bowl; that trumps anything any college coach without a national title has done – but he just can’t seem to get his offense right.
Yeah, Ohio State is Ohio State, but Harbaugh is supposed to be able to create to offensive attack that can overcome the talent difference. But to be fair, the realistic goal right now is to get the Wolverines into a position where the game at the end of the regular season truly matters.
Yeah, it stunk in 2018 when they got rimrocked 62-39 in Columbus, but that was for a shot at the Big Ten title and the College Football Playoff. So set the bar there. Be in a position on a regular basis to play for something massive, and eventually that break will come.
But after last year, Michigan has to work to get there again.
The 2021 team is better. The offense isn’t going to be that inept again and the defense won’t be anywhere near as soft. The schedule is full of enough wins to bounce back with at least a winning season, but that’s not good enough.
Washington, at Wisconsin, at Michigan State, at Penn State. With at least three of the four, don’t whiff the winnable home games against Northwestern and Indiana, and don’t get caught napping at Nebraska.
Michigan needs to be good enough to win those games in Camp Randall and Happy Valley – but it won’t win them both – and forget about it if there’s another loss to the Spartans.
It’ll be a much better team, and this will be a bounce back year.
That might not be good enough.