Ok. I don't think I will make many friends with the post, but it's a boring time of year and at least it could be fun.
I should start out by saying that my first prediction is that Rich Rod will be fired after this year and Captain Comeback Jim Harbaugh will come in on a white horse and attempt to lead the largest comeback of his career. The underlying rationale for my season prediction is your defense. I expect that regardless of the QB, UM will score some points and have an above average offense in the Big Ten. However, I am not buying that a defense that has been flat out awful in RRod's first two years will somehow get betting losing Brandon Graham and D. Warren. I am not buying the Will Campbell Kool-Aid. I think Mike Martin is your only "proven" plus player on defense. I think and Craig Roh are proven "serviceable" Big Ten players. I don't mean servicable in a bad way, I mean in it a "you can count on them way". I see Floyd, Ezeh, as Kovacs "minus" players and the rest as ?????.
This is not meant to be a flame either, just a sobering perspective from an outsider not looking at things thru maize and blue glasses. If I turn out to be wrong, I will come back and face the music.
Without further ado,
Uconn - Loss - (0-1) I'm sure when this game was put on the schedule, it was supposed to be a nice appetizer for a traditionally powerful UM as a tuneup for the Notre Dame game. Instead, this game is a legitimate toss up. I don't know the early line, but I suspect it will be within a FG either way. UConn returns a ton of starters from a team that beat USC (not that USC) in their bowl game last year. UConn is not flashy, but they have a solid team and a solid coach. I expect talk radio to be going crazy following this one.
@ Notre Dame - Loss - (0-2) I know Michigan won this game last year, but I thought Notre Dame actually was the better team that day (I realize I may be in the minority with that opinion). I also think that Brian Kelly is a damn fine coach. Notre Dame will be breaking in a new QB, but they still have Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph to ease the transition. Had anyone heard of Tony Pike before Brian Kelly? Kelly also won the Big East with 3 different starting QB's three years ago. He will have his offense ready and the game is in South Bend. I expect a similar shootout, will the home team pulling it out again.
Umass - Win -(1-2).
Bowling Green - Win - (2-2).
@ Indiana - Win - (3-2, 1-0) So, the rabid dogs are still rabid, but have been pacified by blowout wins over inferior opponents. Now hope is renewed with the Big Ten opener. I DO NOT think this game will be easy, as UM cannot just rubber stamp any big ten road game having lost @ Illinois last year. Also, Indiana put up a fight in the Big House last year. With that said, I expect Michigan to have too much offense for Indy to hang with and Michigan to pull away late and win by 7-14 points.
MSU - Loss - (3-3, 1-1) Like the Angel of the Big House, I too believe that this will be the biggest game of the Rich Rod era to date. Under my scenerio, the natives will be restless having lost to Uconn and Notre Dame. However, a win against MSU and Rich Rod would be 2-0 in the Big Ten and the momentum meter would be pointing in the right direction. Alternatively, a 3rd straight loss to f'ing MSU and Rich Rod may be facing an in-season dismissal. I know some do not consider MSU a rival, but I think that position is ridiculous. I understand and acknowledge that we may not be your 1st or 2nd rival, but I just don't believe any UM fan that claims he/she would not be stinging from a 3rd straight loss to MSU more so than say Illinois, Wiscy, Iowa or Minny.
Back to the game.....I think we are a better football team than UM. Sorry for that opinion. I'm sure UM fans look at last year's game and say we needed OT to win at home. I tend to look at the first 3.5 quarters of the game and see total domination. I'm not saying my opinion is correct, but I guess we will find out in October. I think our offense, while not the spread, will be dynamic this year. We have multiply playmakers at WR, a strong stable of TE's and I'm expecting an improvement from our true freshman RB's. OL is the only concern on offense. I acknowlege it is a large concern. Any any event, I predict an MSU win and this loss will probably be the one that signifies the end of the Rich Rod era
Iowa - Loss (3-4, 1-2) - Iowa is a team that seems to play better on the road. Their defense will be nasty and I think Clayborn is one of the top 2 defensive players in the Big Ten. For the record, I don't think Greg Jones is No. 1. That award goes to Clayborn/Heyward IMO. Anyways, I think Iowa is good. They don't seem to blow anybody out, but I think they will win.
@ PSU - Loss - (3-5, 1-3) - I always take the position that good defense beats good offense. I think PSU will struggle to break in a new QB, but playing at Happy Valley, I think Newsome (or whoever wins the job) just needs to be ok to win. PSU dismantled UM last year (us too) and this year the game is at home.
Illinois - Win - (4-5, 2-3) - I think this is the year you slay the Illinois dragon. I think they will absolutely blow this year. No Benn, Zook can't coach, game in Ann Arbor. UM gets an easy win here.
@ Purdue - Loss - (4-6, 2-4) - I know I am not making any friends and I do think Danny Hope is a prick, but playing @ Purdue was never easy even for the good Michigan teams. I see 3 straight losses to Purdue in Rich Rod's future. Another reason for his dismissal.
Wiscy - Win - (5-6, 3-4) - Playing to save Rich's job, I think you guys pull this one out. But too little too late.
@ OSU - Win - (5-7, 3-5) - Beat OSU maybe keep your job is the rallying cry for this one, but it aint happening. OSU's defense is great and Pryor is getting better. This day will sting, but at least it will bring an end to the RRod era and healing/re-birth can begin.
[mod edit: he would like to add the following. he made it a separate post but no need]
I see I ruffled some feathers. Not my intent. I do find it funny that predicting 5-7 is somehow crazy and automatic troll.
For the record, I had a typo. Martin was my plus player. RVB and Roh were my solid players.
Also, just because a guy is a starter does not make them a "plus" player IMO.
We've had plenty of 2-3 year starters that were not plus players.
I've read enough about Ezeh to conclude he is not a plus player, no matter how many years he started.
Also, seasons RARELY go by the chalk. So yes, losing to purdue but beating Wiscy dosn't make sense on paper, but isn't that what happened in 2008?
Like I said, I will be back when the dust settles. If you guys go 8-4, I'll come back and say I was wrong. So nobody on this board thinks 5-7 is possible? Wow.