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Herbstreit on Wolverines hype: Not so fast

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
De'Veon Smith and the Wolverines open the season Sept. 3 against Hawaii.

There’s considerable preseason hype for Michigan this season, with some prognosticators projecting the Wolverines in the national playoff, but ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes they’re not quite in that running. Yet.

Herbstreit said during an ESPN conference call Wednesday he understands why so many analysts believe the Wolverines could make a huge splash this season in Jim Harbaugh’s second year as coach. He believes they will finish the season as a top-10 team.

“If you look at what he did in his first year and you look at what they have coming back, there’s obvious reason to be optimistic about what they can accomplish this year,” Herbstreit said Wednesday. “I still would make the argument that the roster he inherited in these first couple of years will be the least talented roster he coaches while he’s in Ann Arbor because of the way they’re going to recruit.

“Whether they do satellite camps or sit in their backyard in Ann Arbor, (Harbaugh’s) going to recruit his tail off, and he’s gonna get a very, very high caliber of skill players at receiver, running back and quarterback.”

Michigan opens with five straight home games, and the Wolverines’ final five feature games at Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State.

“I personally think they’re about a year away,” Herbstreit said. “With that being said, it’s pretty obvious they’re going to be 7-0 getting ready for the big rival game against Michigan State in East Lansing. They’ve got to go to Iowa and they’ve got to go to Ohio State.

“If those three games are in Ann Arbor, I might be saying something a little bit different. I just have a hard time imagining them going on the road in those three games and be able to win all three of those. Even two of them would be tough to do. I think they’re about a year away from being the team that everybody’s kind of excited for them to be.

“I still think they’re going to be one of the top 10 teams in the country.”