Brady Hoke and the Wolverines are coming off of a spectacular season where they lost only two games, one to a very good Michigan State team and one where they just didn’t perform, Iowa.
Hoke has his man man, junior quarterback Denard Robinson back. Robinson (Derp) has had some issues throwing the ball and making mistakes, but his big play potential is through the roof, and as Rich Rod said this week “‘He’s an extreme competitor. Anytime you have someone like him running your offense, you have a chance.”
Robinson threw for 2100 yards and rushed for 1100 yards. Robinson accounted for 36 of Michigan’s TDs. He’s a great weapon, but he needs a surrounding cast like he had last year. Junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is back this season, but he may not see the field for the first game after being suspended earlier in the off-season for a DUI. If Toussaint is in the lineup, Michigan would return 80 percent of their starters from last season.
Hoke has drastically improved the Wolverine’s defense, moving them from 110th in total defense in 2010 to 17th overall in 2011.
Why Michigan should be ranked higher:
Returning this many starters after finishing last season with a BCS bowl win would normally warrant a top 5 ranking for a team with a weapon like Denard Robinson. Michigan has a tough schedule, but they get Michigan State at home and avoid Wisconsin. Hoke’s defensive improvements have helped push the Wolverines forward and back into a top tier program.
Why Michigan shouldn’t be ranked higher:
Michigan leads off with Alabama, and while they may put up a fight, they probably won’t win that game. They also face Notre Dame on the road this season, where hopefully we’ll all be treated to another thrilling game, and play at Nebraska and at Ohio State.
Returning Starters:6 Offense / 8 Defense
Best games: Alabama, at Notre Dame, Michigan State, at Nebraska, at Ohio State
2011 Total Offense: 8th
2011 Total Defense: 17th <- up from 110th overall in 2010
2011 Turnover margin: 109th
Championship odds: 50:1
Projected record: 10 – 2
12. Michigan, 13. Virginia Tech, 14. TCU, 15. Arkansas, 16. Kansas State, 17. Texas, 18. Nebraska, 19. Ohio State, 20. South Carolina, 21. Stanford, 22. Oklahoma State, 23. Boise State, 24. Cincinnati, 25. Notre Dame