UM game-by-game predictions from Angelique S. Chengelis
Click through the gallery above to view Angelique S. Chengelis' game-by-game predictions for Michigan's football season. (Go HEREif you have trouble viewing the gallery.)
By now everyone knows Michigan returns only five starters from last year’s 10-win season, and everyone knows the most significant losses are on defense.
There is plenty of youth and inexperience on the roster, but Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is confident because he and his staff have recruited highly-talented players who can make an immediate impact. And they’re going to have to.
Michigan has a core group on the defensive line, which will be the strongest unit on the team. The linebackers should be solid with Mike McCray and Devin Bush, but the secondary will be all new.
The Wolverines’ offensive line must replace three starters from last year, and while the coaches continue to search for the best five, it appears Mason Cole will move back to left tackle, where he started the first two seasons, from center, and fifth-year senior Patrick Kugler will finally get his chance to shine at center. The left side is filled out by sophomore Ben Bredeson, and the right side likely will feature Michael Onwenu at guard and either Jon Runyan or Juwann Bushell-Beatty at tackle.
Wilton Speight started last season at quarterback and is expected to lead the offense this year, and he will be working with several young receivers who were highly touted in high school, including Donovan Peoples-Jones. Tarik Black, who also enrolled early, has turned heads in the spring and preseason camp. Chris Evans, Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon and Kareem Walker will be relied on to run the ball.
Michigan opens the season against Florida at neutral-site AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be tested by Air Force’s tricky offense in Week 3 and then opens October play against in-state rival Michigan State. The Wolverines will have tough road games against Penn State and Wisconsin and need to at least win one of those for that signature road win before facing Ohio State at home in the season finale.