Is anyone else fine with this? I mean, beyond the whole 'pre-season rankings are meaningless.' Top 15, with Michigan's schedule, is striking distance for top 4 when it counts, especially with the Game to end the season. It'll allow the young guys and QB to get settled in and generally reduce the pressure (though I'm not sure Harbaugh is a fan of that).
He lists 14 teams that seem like possible national champions this year based on a long list of historic precedents. Of course, other teams on the list include Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and North Carolina(!) while teams that don't make the cut include USC, Louisville, Georgia and Texas (who Steele ranks #4 overall in his preseason picks.) So take it for what it's worth.
2013 Phil Steele Preseason Top 40 Countdown revealed he has Michigan #24 and MSU #23. More importantly, you can get a PDF preview of his writeups on both teams on his website. I still think Steele's previews are the best of all the preview mags just for the stats page.
Michigan (#24): http://www.philsteele.com/Pdf/2013Top40Countdown/24Michigan.pdf
The links for previously covered teams are still active if you are interested. Some teams of note:
Northwestern (#32): http://www.philsteele.com/Pdf/2013Top40Countdown/32Northwestern.pdf
Has Michigan 7th in his 2012 AP Top Ten Projection. http://blog.philsteele.com/2012/01/30/2012-preseason-ap-top-10-projection/
7 Michigan-The Wolverines were one of the biggest surprises in college football last year winning 11 games and a BCS Bowl under first-year HC Brady Hoke. This year they return 7 starters on offense led by QB Denard Robinson and RB Toussaint who should be more comfortable in the 2nd-year of the new offense. UM also return 7 starters from a defense that allowed just 17.4 ppg (#6) which was nearly an 18 ppg improvement from 2010! Michigan finished #12 in the final AP poll and figure to be the favorites to win the Big Ten this year.
He also posted some Vegas odds to win the 2012 BCS National Championship. Michigan is best in the Big Ten at 22/1, Neb 35/1, Wisc 40/1, Iowa and MSU at 75/1. http://blog.philsteele.com/2012/02/14/odds-to-win-2012-13-bcs-national-championship/
Phil Steele has posted the selections for his pre-season All American teams on his site today. He has Molk at 2nd team Center and Martin at 2nd team DL, but no mention of Denard.
Side note: he has OSU at #15 in his pre-season countdown on his site as well with a PDF file of the 2 page coverage that will be available in his 2011 preview which should be in stores next week.
The Bible---Phil Steele's 2009 Preview--described as the "Most Accurate Preseason Magazine" is out today.
UM's pre-season national rank is #48, (6th in B10) despite having many of its units ranked in the top 25 (O Line #17, D Backs #17, Special Teams #20--including the #1 ranked punter in the Nation, D Line #24 and Running Backs #24--although Brandon Minor is rated the #31 draft eligible back in the country and #3 back overall in the Big Ten. QBs, LBs and WR units not ranked.
He does have UM as the #4 Most Improved Team for 2009. Where else you gonna go but up?
Amazingly, OSU has no skill position players that are draft eligible (QB, WR & RB) ranked in the Top 60 at their position (other than Ray Small #45 WR).
Weird note: Ryan Mallett is the #7 ranked draft eligible QB in the country.
OSU's only 1st Team All Big Ten on offense? Yep. Justin Boren.
Brandon Graham and the Mesko-nator are 1st Team All Big Ten. Minor, Schilling and Martin are 2nd Team All-Big Ten. Martavious 4th Team WR.
Team Rankings: FLA #1, TX #2, USC #3, OK #4 and PSU #5.
Others: OSU #10, Illinois #19, Iowa #20, MSU #29, Wisky #38.
Notre Dame....wait for it....is pre-season #7. Wow.
Heisman Hopeful Top 3: Gatorade into Wine Tebow Jesus, Colt, Bradford. Juice Box Williams is the #7 hopeful followed by Royster at #8. Pryor mentioned as a contender.
Interesting stuff. Discuss.