The state of the Michigan Wolverines

Now in case you couldn't tell from my name, I'm a huge Michigan fan. I grew up there and have loved the wolverines for as long as I can remember. This season, for the first time since the Lloyd Carr era, I was optimistic about the upcoming season and the team has been a pleasant surprise. In case you haven't been paying attention, Michigan is 4-1 with wins over UNLV, Oregon State, BYU, and Maryland and a close loss to Utah. Now out of that record the two really impressive parts are the close 24-17 loss to Utah and the 28-0 win over BYU. This has been about as good of a start for them as I could have hoped to be honest, especially considering what we know now about Utah.

Utah has been one the surprise teams this season and has beaten both us and crushed what we thought was a pretty darn good Oregon, at oregon. I don't think I have ever seen Oregon get crushed like that for at least the last ten years, and definelty not in the Chip Kelly era. The fact that we only barely lost to them and then handidly beat a pretty good BYU team shows the team is on the right track and maybe Harbaugh is even better than I hoped and bringing us back to national prominence faster than I thought.

So far the most impressive part of this team has been the really stellar play of the defense. I mean who thought going into this ranked matchup against Northwestern (both teams are ranked??? what??) that we would have allowed more than 7 points only once and that was 17 against Utah and have allowed 0 points in the last two games. Jabrill Peppers has been the player we all thought he would be and is really holding that defensive backfield up along with the defensive line loking very impressive stopping the run as well as pressuring the quarterback. And thank goodness they have been so good cause at times our offense has not looked good, at all.

And so its time to talk about our weakest part of our team, the offense. Whew, they have been a mess at times this season. If you watched the Maryland game you know what I'm talking about. We have a pair of decent wideouts in Darboh and Chesson, and a pretty good tight end in Jake Butt. We also have a couple decent running backs in De'Veon Smith and Ty Isaac. However our offensive line play as well as our quarterback play has been, lets just say less than stellar. The offensive line has done a decent job in pass coverage but just can't seem to open up the holes we need to have a good enough running game to make up for our lack of passing offense.

The one part of the team that I thought would immediately improve with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh was the quarterback play, which over the years has been chaotic and unpredictable. Jim plus a fifth year senior in Jake Rudock, a transfer at Iowa and looked decent there, was supposed to at least be competent and able to complement the running game nicely. Rudock however has looked out of sorts in the offensive and a tendency to overthrow receivers when they are open, turning potential big plays into incompletions, and throws he should make into interceptions. In the Maryland game alone I counted four potential big plays that were wide open, Rudock just missed them. Rudock has just got to play better in order for Michigan to possibly win against Northwestern, Michigan State, or Ohio State.

Now looking forwards, the first hard game is next week against Northwestern who boasts an even stronger defense than Michigan and has played really well so far this year and will be a really tough test and tell us alot about this Michigan team. However the other two hard games, against Michigan State and Ohio State are starting to look better and better with the struggles of each team to win against any of the teams on their schedule. Of the two only Michigan State has even a decent win, a close one at home against an Oregon team we aren't sure is any good anymore.

With all this, I think that Michigan is going to lose two out of three of these tough games and finish with a record of 9-3 an extremely good start to the Harbaugh era. GO BLUE!