Most Michigan fans have been patient throughout the first three years of the Jim Harbaugh Era. We understand that it takes time to develop a roster and build a team. Contenders are not made overnight. But we are going into Year No. 4 now-- and some people are getting impatient.
I have one word for those people. Relax.
This year is going to be the year for the Michigan Wolverines. I’m not going to go crazy and guarantee that we are going to be in the Big Ten Championship or make the playoffs. But the team Coach Harbaugh puts on the field is going to be pretty good.
Those boys are going to win a lot of games.
The defense will once again be one of the best in the nation. The players were supposed to learn how to play and grow as the unit was rebuilt last season. Instead, they ended up being one of the best in the country. These guys were third in the nation in total yards allowed and 13th in points allowed. With nine starters from that group coming back, it wouldn’t be surprising if we have a top-five defense this season. Losing a guy like Mike McCray is rough, but I have no doubt that Devin Bush is going to be ready to get the job done.
Of course, the defense has been great so the fact that it will be great this season is nothing new. What will be new is the quarterback, Shea Patterson. I believe he had a few 300+ yard games and even a couple 400+ yard ones before going down with an injury last year. With the offensive line coming back and all the talent at wide receiver, it is not hard to imagine him having similar games for Michigan this season. Should that be the case, then the lanes should be wider this year for Karan Higdon and the other running backs.
The talent is certainly there on both sides of the ball. We couldn’t ask for a better coach to put it all together for us. However, the road to the Big Ten title game or the playoffs is going to be a tough one because the schedule is stacked. We have five games against top-12 teams on the schedule including a road trip to start the season against Notre Dame. The Game is in Columbus this year; the Buckeyes are never easy to beat in their house. We’ll have to beat our little brothers in their house this year, too.
Home games against Penn State and Wisconsin are not going to be easy either. The Big Ten is full of stacked teams and that is what makes it the best conference in college football. It’s a brutal schedule but having one this tough is good for us. When we go undefeated, the playoff committee will have no choice but to include us!