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Michigan received quite the vote of confidence from one of its own, ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard, who predicts the Wolverines will win the national championship this season.

Howard, the former Michigan receiver and Heisman Trophy winner, made his bold prediction Saturday during ESPN’s College GameDay season preview show, alongside host Rece Davis and analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit.

Michigan is coming off an 8-5 season but Howard believes the Wolverines have been bolstered by the addition of Ole Miss quarterback transfer Shea Patterson. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh last Monday named Patterson the starter when the season opens Saturday at Notre Dame.

Howard predicts Michigan will face West Virginia in a national championship semifinal game and Alabama will face Clemson in the other. He has the Wolverines facing Alabama for the national title.

“The dual-threat quarterback Shea Patterson is going to give Alabama fits, because we know (Crimson Tide coach) Nick Saban has problems with those types of players.

“Michigan wins it all.”

College GameDay will be in South Bend for the Michigan-Notre Dame series renewal.

Herbstreit, during a conference call Friday, also gave the Wolverines high marks entering the season.

“I’m high on Michigan,” Herbstreit said. “If they can beat Notre Dame in South Bend to kind of get their confidence up after an 8-5 year, that will be important before they go on the road. They’ve got to go to East Lansing, you have Penn State at home and of course at the end, in Columbus. They’ve got a tough path to get there, but I think it’s going to be a much, much better team than it was a year ago because of the offense.”

Just how high on Michigan is he as the Wolverines enter their fourth season under Harbaugh?

“Between us,” Herbstreit said on the conference call, “I think they’re going to go to South Bend and win, and I think they’re going to get on a roll. I think they’re going to be able to create an identity. I think people that are down on Jim Harbaugh, by Week 3, they’re going to go back to saying how he’s the greatest coach in the country, and I think the momentum is going to be created there.”

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