Another 10-win season for Michigan? A return to bowl eligibility for Michigan State?
Maybe, writes Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports, who on Wednesday offered his over/unders for projected win totals on every Big Ten team supplied by the South Point Sportsbook in Las Vegas.
Michigan’s was set at 8.5, a number Fornelli speculates is the result of a the Wolverines’ losses to the NFL draft. He didn’t say Michigan would notch its third-straight 10-win season under coach Jim Harbaugh, but he doesn’t see the Wolverines falling too far, either.
Michigan opens the season Sept. 2 against Florida in Arlington, Texas, and also has road games at Penn State and Wisconsin. It plays rivals Michigan State and Ohio State in Ann Arbor.
“Many people consider this a transition year of sorts for the Wolverines, and I understand why,” Fornelli writes. “Michigan will have to replace a lot of key starters from last year’s team, which is why it’s number seems pretty low. I’m pretty confident in the over anyway. During his college coaching career, Jim Harbaugh has never been in charge of a team that won fewer games than it did the year before. It might finally happen this year, but even if it does, 9-3 will be good enough for me.”
Michigan State, meanwhile, is coming off a disastrous 3-9 season following a College Football Playoff appearance the year before. It’s seemingly only gotten worse in East Lansing, with ugly off-the-field issues plaguing the program in the offseason.
Vegas has MSU at five wins. Fornelli’s taking the over there as well, putting the Spartans in line to possibly return to a bowl game. Barely. Michigan State's schedule includes a three-game stretch in September of Notre Dame, Iowa and Michigan — the first two coming at home — and back-to-back games in November against Penn State in East Lansing and at Ohio State.
“... The problem is that the Spartans have to replace a lot, but that may be a good thing seeing as how they went 3-9 last year,” Fornelli writes. “I’m banking on a bounce back, though I’m not sure how big of a bounce it’ll be.”