Like Northwestern, Michigan has a rather favorable schedule as long as the Wolverines meet a certain baseline. Of the four teams projected 21st or better, three come to Ann Arbor, including Notre Dame early and Ohio State late. Only two road opponents are projected better than 40th. If Michigan can improve to around the top-15 level, the Wolverines could win a lot of games. Hell, they could win allof them.
But the projections are lukewarm for a reason. Only about half of last year's starters return. The offensive line is pretty green. The pass rush isn't guaranteed to improve, nor is the secondary. The best defensive player is going to play half the season at best. And perhaps most importantly from a numbers standpoint, Michigan has played at a top-15 level only once in the last six years.
That the Wolverines held steady at 20th overall last year is a positive sign, and I do think that there is some addition-by-subtraction going on in substituting a little explosiveness for a lot of efficiency on offense. They are still a few ifs away from a truly elite season, but I like their chances of getting to 10 wins overall, much more than the numbers do, anyway.