Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Matt Charboneau preview the opening games of the college football season: Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee and Michigan State vs. Tulsa. The Detroit News
Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (7:30 p.m., BTN/950).
Angelique S. Chengelis: A season-opening night game at Michigan Stadium is quite the stage for the official unveiling of Josh Gattis' no-huddle pro-spread offense, and there will be plenty of scrutiny as quarterback Shea Patterson takes the reins of this new attack. How will the receivers look? Who will be the starting running back? How has defensive coordinator Don Brown replaced all the key starters he lost from last season? Middle Tennessee State no longer has veteran quarterback Brent Stockstill and the offense will be in less experienced hands. This bodes well for the Michigan defense, which will have to contend with a couple solid skill players in receiver Ty Lee and running back Chaten Mobley. Defense is the strength of MTSU. It is undersized but quick, but how will it match up with the Wolverines' new spread? Michigan 42, Middle Tennessee 7
Matt Charboneau: The Blue Raiders aren’t exactly the pushover some early-season opponents tend to be, having won eight games last season and having played in their fourth straight bowl game. However, they likely won’t be able to hang in there as the Wolverines play their first game with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. Michigan might not cover the point spread (34.5), but it will get a comfortable win to kick things off. Michigan 35, Middle Tennessee 14
John Niyo: There's a lot of anticipation for Josh Gattis and the Michigan offense. But one thing they'll need to avoid is getting careless with the football. No Power Five team committed fewer turnovers last season. It'll be interesting to see whether a quicker tempo and more plays changes that. That's also the only way Middle Tennessee can keep this game interesting. Michigan 45, Middle Tennessee 10
Bob Wojnowski: The Blue Raiders generally are a dangerous mid-major, 8-6 last year and a bowl team five times in six seasons. They like to fling the ball around but they’re unsettled at quarterback and young in a lot of places. The Wolverines have a prime-time chance to unveil their new offense under Josh Gattis, and their offensive line should control the game. You can expect a few early hiccups, and then you can expect Shea Patterson and the receivers to hit a few big plays. Michigan 46, Middle Tennessee 10