Prognosticating 2018: Post-Spring Edition

Submitted by Eye of the Tiger on May 20th, 2018 at 11:08 PM

Though prediction is an inaccurate science, I enjoy the exercise. My predictions weren't very accurate during the RR and Hoke years, but they have been since Harbaugh came to town. I predicted 9-3 in 2015 (we went 9-3), 10-2 in 2016 (we went 10-2) and 9-3 in 2017 (we went 8-4). This, of course, could be dumb luck. But I think it's more a function of predictability. What you see is mainly what you get with Harbaugh, at least so far.

So what do I see for 2018? An improved but still flawed team playing against a tougher slate of opponents.

What follows is a breakdown of that argument. Keep in mind that this is just a preliminary analysis--I'll do a follow-up sometime in August, when there's more information available. Here's where I see things right now:

 

Defense

 

We lose our best player (Hurst), but bring back nearly everyone else from 2017’s #10 defense (according to Bill Connelly’s S&P metric). This includes 6 players who project to be All-B1G or better (Gary, Winovich, Bush, K. Hudson, Hill and Long) and far better depth than we had in 2017. Combine that with the apparent upgrade in our S&C program, and you’re looking at a defense that should be stronger, faster and have more stamina than our already strong and fast 2017 defense. 

We were also a very young defense in 2017, and the things we were not so great at were a function of our youth. The extra year should thus translate into fewer of the bad things that come from a lack of on-field experience (e.g. penalties, missed assignments, coverage breakdowns) and more of the good things that happen when you build knowledge of offensive tendencies (e.g. PBUs, interceptions, keeping contain on option plays).

In short, we should go from being a top 10 S&P defense to being a top 5 S&P defense, and may even match our senior-laden, NFL-bound 2016 defense in overall performance.  

 

Offense

 

There are reasons to be optimistic about our offense too, though equally there are reasons for concern. Let’s start with the good stuff. We began 2017 unclear whether we would be a zone- or gap-blocking team. Gap blocking won because we were better at it, but we wasted a lot of time and reps to the ill-fated experiment with inside zone.* We start 2018 as a team with a clear blocking identity and an excellent trio of inside linemen to make it happen. 

Youth among the receiving corps was another issue for us in 2017. Junior Grant Perry, playing out of the slot, was our most consistent receiver. Elsewhere the receiving corps was a flawed work in progress. Our most immediately productive freshman WR, Tarik Black, went down in the 3rdgame of the season, while our greatest raw talent, DPJ, needed more time to develop than he was given. Our sophomore receivers (Crawford and McDoom) disappointed, though a pair of underclassmen TEs (Gentry and McKeon) flashed tantalizing skillsets. Route running improved over the course of the year, but was never great—even by the bowl game. None of the receivers, aside from Perry, understood what to do when passing plays broke down, often leaving John O’Korn (or Brandon Peters, but mostly O’Korn) running around with no one to go to. 

With Black returning from injury and everyone else a year older, stronger and wiser, we project to have the receiving corps we needed last year—the kind that is the right place at the right time, and the kind that knows what to do when plays break down. We are likely to see improvement in every facet, from blocking to catching, and from route running to timely improvisations. And, because they will play with more knowledge and discipline, we are also likely to see more of the athleticism advantage that players like DPJ and Gentry have over the defensive backs assigned to cover them. 

Then there is our two-headed monster at tailback: Higdon (1a) and Evans (1b). By the end of 2017, both were running with vision and decisiveness—a combination we’ve lacked at the position since Toussaint’s one good year (and before that, Mike Hart). I don’t expect either to improve much over that late season renaissance, but I do expect them both to run that way from the get-go this time, which should result in one or both surpassing the 1,000-yard mark. I also expect them to improve in pass blocking, an area where neither was particular effective last year. (I’m unclear how much of an improvement can be expected, but even a moderate uptick would save a few plays per game—and by extension, a few drives—from implosion.)

Finally, there is the all-important QB position. Last year we started (1) a version of Speight suffering PTSD, (2) a madly-scrambling and erratic John O’Korn and (3) Brandon Peters with the training wheels on. None were very good, but injuries (to Speight and Peters) also meant that the team could never get used to one style of play. 

Poor performance at the QB position in 2017 was not just the QBs’ fault, though no QB was good enough to overcome the offense’s structural flaws. Peters was the best of the bunch, though even he played like a first-year starter who the staff didn’t quite trust to win (and not lose) games. When given the chance to grab pole position for 2018, against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, he flubbed it. 

This year we bring in Shea Patterson, who has been described as “Tate Forcier but goes to class.” That seems fairly accurate. Another way to describe him, though, would be “John O’Korn but better.” His skillset is a lot like O’Korn’s, but Patterson is a better runner, has a stronger arm and is a more accurate passer. To put it in perspective, if he starts for us last year, but everything else stays the same, we probably beat both MSU and OSU. 

Now, the bad. We experienced poor play from the OT position last year, thanks to (1) Mason Cole playing out of position (a function of necessity), (2) the staff’s disastrous decision to pass on Eric Swensen in 2015 and (3) the also bad decision to start Nolan Ulizio over JBB. Once JBB took over RT, coupled with the commitment to gap blocking, we started to develop a more effective running game. But pass protection remained poor throughout. 

This year we project to start JBB, who could not pass protect in 2017, at LT—where he will cover the QB’s blindside. We will start either the guard-sized Runyun or a redshirt freshmen (J. Hudson or Filiaga) at RT. Of course, if Grant Newsome comes back, and can play at or near his 2016 level, then the problem is solved—JBB can move back to RT, where his pass protection issues are less of a problem, while the freshmen can ease into their future roles as starters by being our backups in 2018. But nobody knows if Newsome will be able to come back from his injury, or whether this is advisable for his long-term health. Even if he does come back, he will have been away from contact for almost two years. Rust would be expected. So I don’t expect him to be our savior in 2018. In all likelihood, we will have to work with a bad set of options, and this is likely to create problems against the small number of good defenses on our schedule (ND, MSU, Wisconsin and OSU).       

 

*It’s unclear whether we lost games as a result of this poor strategic decision, but it’s plausible that the MSU game goes differently if we had come in to it with a more effective running game.  

 

Michigan vs. The Schedule

 

Michigan’s schedule is either the toughest in the FBS or one of the toughest. We play all 3 rival schools away, and draw Wisconsin, Northwestern and Scott Frost-edition Nebraska as our Big 10 West crossover games. By my count, there are 7 potentially difficult games on the schedule this year (@ND, vs. Nebraska, @NW, vs, Wisconsin, vs. PSU, @MSU, @OSU). For comparison’s sake, there were 5 last year (Florida, vs. MSU, @PSU, @Wisconsin, vs. OSU). 

On the other hand, a couple of those games will be easier than they were, or would have been, in 2017. ND projects to have a good defense, but they got torched in the spring game. Their offensive line, meanwhile lost multiple starters to the NFL. Though I don’t quite expect to win the game in South Bend, I think it’s winnable—more so than a hypothetical matchup between 2017 ND and 2017 Michigan. 

Wisconsin, meanwhile, should be about the same as they were last year, but we should be a significantly better team andwe play them at home. The biggest difference, though, should be PSU. They return an excellent QB (McSorley) and an OL that looks to improve on a shaky performance in 2017. At the same time, they lose a generational talent (Barkley), a near impossible to cover TE (Gesicki), their best WR (Hamilton) and the heart of a pretty good defense (Cabinda and Allen). Most importantly, they lose the Joe Moorhead, whose RPO-based offense fueled PSU’s 2016 transformation. And who did they replace him with? A long-time Franklin guy. That’s a big net loss. Oh, and we play them at the Big House, where they often struggle—instead of at Beaver Stadium, where we often struggle.  

 

Projected Record, Based on Available Information and Reasonable Conjecture

 

It’s not possible to accurately predict our record with so many unknowns, both on our side and among our competitors. But given what we do know and what it looks like we can assume at this point, I see us going 9-3. In fact, I think the season will be quite similar to 2015. Here’s how that breaks down:

1. OSU. This will be the most difficult game on the schedule. We could win, but based on what we know now, they project to be the more complete team. Given that and recent history, it seems more prudent to expect a road loss from this one than an upset win.   

2. ND. They will benefit from playing at home and playing us in week one. I expect this game to be a bit like Utah in 2015—hard fought but ultimately uphill for us. Of course, this is also what I thought would happen against Florida last year, so who knows. We could easily win; I just don’t see convincing enough reasons to predict that we will.   

3. MSU. I think we win this one. Dantonio was right: home field advantage doesn’t mean all that much in this series anymore. In fact, I don’t think playing them away is much different from playing them at home. And while they were clearly ahead of us last year, we have more potential for growth. 

4. The rest. I’m not sure who else we lose to, as we can win every other game on our schedule. But given the big fat question marks at OT, I see us dropping one more game—possibly on the road, or at home against Wisconsin. Probably Wisconsin. 

Comments

Jasper

May 21st, 2018 at 6:11 AM ^

Nice piece, EoT. I didn't get this, though:

"... staff’s disastrous decision to pass on Eric Swensen ..."

Disastrous? Sure, he'd at least be another guy to throw out there at tackle. But .....

Everyone knows it's hard to project with O-line types, but it's far from clear that Erik Swenson is going to be a star (or even a starter) at Oklahoma. According to this, he is running with the second team going into his redshirt sophomore year:

http://www.normantranscript.com/oklahoma/ou-football-things-we-learned-…

I think I'm interpreting it correctly. They mention another guy as the starting left tackle.

 

UMgradMSUdad

May 26th, 2018 at 8:19 AM ^

I think I read that same source, but it seemed to be a writer just going by class and star rating from high school, IOW, not really solid information.  The only source I saw that seemed based on real information had Swenson as a possible second string RT behind a player the class behind him, so passed up by a younger player.  There is also a new JC transfer to throw into the mix, 6'9" 315  David Swaby.

Obviously it's too soon to say, but so far there's no indication that Swenson is likely to start any time soon.

Eye of the Tiger

May 21st, 2018 at 5:51 PM ^

If something unforeseen happens at OT, like Newsome coming back at full strength, JBB learning to pass protect and/or the young guys developing ahead of schedule, then this is possible. 

That said, it does not appear possible given what we know now and can reasonably assume about the tackle position. 

Night_King

May 21st, 2018 at 9:20 AM ^

Nice write up. I've been thinking the team would be in the 10-2 range, with adding the 11th win in the bowl game. If they could manage 11-1 with this schedule, you're looking at a potential top 5 finish and depending on if they make it to Indy or not, a potential playoff berth. I just think 2 losses is more realistic, given the schedule. 

maize-blue

May 21st, 2018 at 10:27 AM ^

This is a big year not only for the national perceived image of UM football but for Jim Harbaugh.

I feel like they'll have to find a way to get double digit wins to get some momentum back. Sure, the schedule is tough but they should have more talent than a majority of the teams they face. 

After a quick look at the schedule, the games against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State appear to be the toughest. As of today.

If they can get three out of those five, it's a 10-2 record. That means that they'll have to sweep the rest of the 7 teams on their schedule. I know weird things happen in college football, but if UM wants to take a step forward then they can't lose to the caliber of teams like Western Michigan, SMU, Rutgers, Indiana, etc.

MSU is an absolute must win game.

ScooterTooter

May 21st, 2018 at 10:46 AM ^

8-4 if disaster strikes (Patterson injured!), 10-2 is the floor with a normal season (no crazy MSU 2015 losses), 12-0 is entirely possible if Michigan wins the one or two games that will come down to a lucky break (which they didn't get in 2016). 

BTW, the take on Swenson is atrocious. The real disaster was losing Hamilton to Stanford. Swenson would have been as much of a turnstile as anyone on the roster last year. 

leonidaswolverine

May 21st, 2018 at 3:00 PM ^

but 10-2 is the floor with a normal season? The reasonable floor  if the tackle situation doesn't pan out is losses to ND, MSU, Wisconsin, PSU, OSU, and one of Northwestern/Nebraska/Maryland. We have an absolutely brutal schedule. Last years team (with last years bad luck) probably goes 7-6 this year. 

 

That being said, I think 9-3 or 10-2 are our most likely options barring major injuries. But in no way are they the floor. 

 

WestQuad

May 21st, 2018 at 9:08 PM ^

I think 10-2 is the fan expectation floor.  

12-0 to 14-0:  Harbaugh = God

11-1 or 10-2:  Harbaugh = Bo

9-3:  Harbaugh = Average Lloyd Carr year

8-4: Harbaugh = the worst of Moeller

7-5:  Harbaugh = Brady Hoke

6-6 or worse: Harbaugh = Rich Rod or 1984 Bo.  

 

Remember half the fan base wanted to run Lloyd Carr out of town and he won a national championship. 

I think Harbaugh will be Bo or better.

Eye of the Tiger

May 21st, 2018 at 6:17 PM ^

I wish you were right about 10-2 being the floor, but I think you're (a) overestimating the ability of JBB, Runyan and a couple redshirt freshmen to face down the schedule's best DEs in pass protection and (b) underestimating our schedule. 

We certainly can go 10-2, based on available information and reasonable conjecture. But a team that doesn't even project to have one viable pass protecting tackle does project to have serious problems against teams with good DEs--especially on the road. A team with a 10-2 floor looks more like OSU than Michigan at this point in the pre-season: a more complete team with an easier schedule. 

In my view, our non-injury floor is 7-5 and our ceiling 11-1, with the mean normally distributed around 9-3.    

TheGoatin99

May 21st, 2018 at 11:51 AM ^

I think OP may have been referring to Devry Hamilton rather than Erick Swenson in the post. Hamilton is currently starting at tackle for Stanford and would be a huge help on this years roster. 

soniktoothe

May 25th, 2018 at 11:10 AM ^

It was documented that the guy came off as complacent to Harbaugh.  If I remember correctly, it seemed he slacked off his senior year and declined to come work out at the University. I am sure that when he had his offer pulled, he got a fire lit under him and decided he would show the doubters that they were wrong. 

His performance at Oklahoma does not necessarily directly correlate to his potential performance at Michigan. For example, see Peters.  He was third string and complacent, according to the accepted narrative. Once it looked like he would get his shot, he took his role serious and buckled down to learn the playbook. Motivation can be a huge determining factor when looking at performance.

Mongo

May 21st, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

assuming Shea is the starter, protecting his blind-side is critical.  He appears to be a great playmaker when things break-down, but that left side can't constantly be an issue or he will get happy feet like JOK or get injured like Speight/Peters.  Harbaugh's offense is not the quick-hitting spread so routes demand some time to develop.  The RBs are going to need to improve pass pro alot to make JBB or Runyan serviceable on stunts and blitzes.  There are a lot of good defensive minded teams on our schedule, which really concerns me.  Like last year, this offense could be all over the map and prone to lapses in quality.  Hopefully, having Shea allows the coaches to scheme around that weakness.  And with our defense, we should be in every ballgame into the fourth quarter.  So 8-4 seems unlikely again but that schedule is a real challenge.  There are potential toss-up games in each of the ND, MSU, PSU, UW and OSU games with NWU on the road as a trap game.  Winning 3 out of those 6 games seems very doable based upon what we know today - heck, winning 4 or even 5 of those games is not a huge stretch if Shea pans out as a true playmaker.  However, if pass pro is a disaster and/or Shea gets injured losing 4 or even 5 of those games is a possibility. 

MichiganAggie

May 21st, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

I still don't understand why ND is seen as a juggernaught in 2018.

They lost multiple assistants including their best one (Ecko - their DC). They lost the two best OL in the country to the NFL. They lost their stud RB. Those are a lot of question marks for them to answer, especially for Week 1.

GRMaizenBlue

May 21st, 2018 at 2:49 PM ^

While I do agree their defense is going to be formidable, their offense looks soft at best. If we can find a way to make it to the endzone once or twice, this game is over. OP I am all for being conservative on your projections but you mention we might have a top 5 defense but this looks like a likely loss? I dont see it.

Eye of the Tiger

May 21st, 2018 at 6:29 PM ^

Our defense will be great, no doubt. But our offense is likely to struggle against better defenses, and this is doubly true in hostile road environments like South Bend. (Not all road environments are that hostile, FTR.)

Like most people, I see a grind not entirely unlike the MSU game last year. And I do think we can win this game. I just don't think, based on available information and reasonable conjecture, that we should be *favored* in this game. That said, I don't think it's a big advantage for ND. Maybe 60/40 or even less. Close to a tossup, but with ND slightly favored. 

If we played them at home, then I'd probably pick us to win. 

Also, worth noting: my record prediction is less about firm win/loss predictions and more about predicting mean losses based on uncertainty in multiple games (including those I expect us to win). I may think we lose to ND with 60/40 probability, but I also think we beat MSU with about the same (60/40) probability. We could win both, we could lose both, but I think the likeliest scenario is we lose to ND and beat MSU. 

 

 

GRMaizenBlue

May 22nd, 2018 at 10:21 AM ^

I can get behind that, especially since this is our first game. Without the spring game to give me some level of confidence, I am admittedly a little anxious to see how he performs right out of the gate against that defense. You are absolutely correct that we should not be favored in this game, as home field advantage in this rivalry seems to mean a lot. That being said, even without my maize and blue goggles off I think we grind out this win. I see no avenue where they put up big numbers against us. 

wahooverine

June 7th, 2018 at 10:09 AM ^

I think with the revamped o-line, the scheme changes and overall reorientation of the offense from the offensive staff shakeup (Drevno, Frey leaving), the improved QB situation, the multitude of receiving options and some steady/playmaking backs, we into ND with a very unpredictable offense even if it hasn't gelled yet.  That gives us an advantage. 

Eye of the Tiger

May 21st, 2018 at 6:22 PM ^

I think they'll be good-not-great. Also, interesting factoid: Kelley has never won 10 games in back-to-back seasons at ND. 

Unfortunately for us, we play them early and at their stadium, which I think makes the game more challenging than it would be if it were 3rd on the year and at home. I think we certainly can win, though. The only game I'm really pessimistic about is OSU. All the rest are winnable, even with our tackle issues. 

That said, I think--given our tackle issues--we are bound to have a couple bad performances, either on the road and/or against the small number of teams that project to have very good defenses (ND, OSU, MSU, Wisconsin). 

canzior

May 24th, 2018 at 8:58 AM ^

means that they won't be in mid-season form either. They will have rust as well. 

I don't know if MSU will have the offense to score points against an improved M defense. 

I also think OSU has a lot of unproven players on offense. They still haven't really solved their OL issues. None of their WR's have lived up to their stars and they are implementing a wholesale change to their offensive identity. Haskins was good in reserve duty, but there's no way he puts 11 games on film for Brown/Harbaugh to study and then lights it up against a top 5 defense. Seth put up a post about how Harbaugh has basically outcoached the talent differential last year and with competent qb play, Michigan wins. Not to say M wins, but I don't think their talent is so far ahead that it's assumed they will. 

 

DHughes5218

May 21st, 2018 at 9:27 PM ^

I don't think ND will be very good at all next year with everything they lost. I'm a self-admitted pessimist at times but I think we roll them by 20+. We may still go 10-2 or worse but we will be predicting a National Championship after the first game. I also hate ND more than OSU and MSU so that could explain the feeling.

LeCheezus

May 21st, 2018 at 3:49 PM ^

I think you missed a key piece here in special teams.  I've gone back to watch a few of the whistle to whistle versions of the games and one thing that stands out in 2017 that is a huge contrast to 2016 was the yards we lost in the punting game last year.  Robbins was well below average in the B1G and while DPJ certainly had some great returns, his inability to field/fair catch punts cost a ton of field position.  I'd drag up his numbers compared to Peppers but Peppers' ability to fair catch short punts wouldn't show up in simple return averages.

You can see this in the close losses as well as the 3 B1G blowout wins in the middle of the season - we would maybe get a first down (sometimes 2) then go 3 and out (so a 4 or 5 and out), punt, hold the other team to a 3 and out, force a punt, and end up with the same or sometimes worse field position than we had when originally starting the drive before.  We would basically lose any field position that first down or two had given us.  This happened...A...LOT.  For an offense that struggled, I think losing this 5-15 yards on every change of possession, while certainly not the main cause of the offense's issues, made a bad situation worse. It also negates the impact of the defense when a highly positive outcome like a 3 and out results in no real improvement in field position.

If Robbins can improve to just above average in the B1G and DPJ or whoever they put back there can do a better job of fair catching when required, this will have a big impact on the season, particularly close games.  Not as impactful as the OL, but still a big factor.

Eye of the Tiger

May 21st, 2018 at 8:40 PM ^

...mainly I don't feel qualified to predict special teams play the way I can predict offense or defense. So the omission is a function of my ignorance, not thinking it doesn't matter. 

Basically I've assumed ST as average--on balance, either (a) not remarkable enough to swing games our way or the other way or (b) swinging games in both directions in roughly equal measure. I agree this is a tenuous assumption, but it seems like a reasonable stand in for pretending I can talk about something when I don't feel like I can.  

 

pz

May 22nd, 2018 at 9:34 AM ^

Nice analysis.

I'm projecting a 2006-style beatdown of ND to kick the year off culminating in Football Armageddon 2.0 the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Let's do it!

reddogrjw

May 23rd, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

but this is a dumb comment

(2) the staff’s disastrous decision to pass on Eric Swensen in 2015

first off, it was 2016, and had he camped, he could have still come in

secondly, he has been passed by a RS Freshman on this version of OU's depth chart

https://www.diehards.com/oklahoma/oklahoma-football-way-early-offensive…

 

and Swenson isn't mentioned in the mix for starting anywhere here

https://newsok.com/article/5585998/ou-spring-football-preview-linemen-l…

 

so quit making up stupid shit to fit a narrative

Eye of the Tiger

May 23rd, 2018 at 11:22 PM ^

But otherwise I stand by it. We need viable tackles--desperately--and do not have them. He's a viable tackle. We should have taken him. 

Also "quit making up stupid shit to fit a narrative?" Seriously? I'm actually very supportive of this staff. I think they have done a much better job than many people credit them with, considering the 8 years of dysfunction they inherited. And I'm confident that the offseason staff changes will pay major dividents. They need time and the fanbase need to be patient. 

That said, they have made errors, and it's not wrong to call them as you see them. The worst one, to me, was the attempt to go inside zone when our identity and skills are much better suited to gap blocking. Credit for recognizing that mid-season, but I wish it had been recognized pre-season. 

Denard's Pro Career

May 23rd, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

I will be happy with 11-2 (unless we draw a horrific bowl matchup). I would take 9-4 provided one of those losses is NOT ohio state. Really, I expect us to be able to get 8 wins regardless of scheduling, but any season that ends with an OSU loss is going to be a disappointment...maybe this is why my life sucks.

ST3

May 24th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

That's your opinion, one not supported by Seth's re-watch of the OSU and Bowl Games. Wow, it seems JBB had the 3rd best P-Pro percentage. Huh. With Cole leaving, that means he's the 2nd highest returning pass-protector.

Ruiz was the worst, but that's fine for a true frosh. It's tough seeing that 93% from a 5th year senior.

 

mickblue

June 6th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

I'd be very happy with 10-2. Losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State. I believe that would put us in Rose Bowl. We would have beaten Wisconsin in this scenario and I feel Ohio State would take them in Indy. That would probably put us in Pasadena which is on my bucket list. I feel the Rose Bowl would take us over Wisconsin since we beat them head to head and we haven't been there since '07. Also, my daughter lives less than an hour from Pasadena.

JTGoBlue

June 7th, 2018 at 6:15 PM ^

So...after a good analysis that essentially says we will be much better than last year on offense and better on defense than 2016, we win only one more game than last year in regular season? 

How anyone can predict the OSU game amazes me as records, rankings, and home/away have proven to mean nothing. ND maybe, as it is away, at night , and first game. 

The worst is the mystery throw-away game that we are bound to lose ‘just ‘cause’. 

Another contrived effort to look objective...the analysis does not support the prediction.

 

Cdat33

June 8th, 2018 at 8:15 AM ^

Great piece and I love the analysis. I do however disagree with "And while they were clearly ahead of us last year,"

I just do not think that is accurate. As you said all things the same, with Patterson we probably win that game. I'll say we would've won that game.

Eye of the Tiger

June 10th, 2018 at 10:29 PM ^

We were close, but they had a more balanced team and so did better than we did. I mean, look at the difference in the two bowl game performances. I don't think it's a stretch to say they were ahead of where we were at the end of the season. 

That said, I think we clearly have more growth potential. So while a lot of Sparties expect to beat us *because* they were a bit ahead of us last year, the smarter ones understand that we'll be a tougher nut to crack this year. 

uminks

June 11th, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

Given how great our Defense will be our floor will be 8-4. The five tough games on our schedule, @ND, WI, @MSU, PSU and @OSU. Out of these tough games I doubt we would lose all 5 of them that is why the floor this season is 8 wins, even if our offense sucks again. Odds are is that we will split the tough games and finish the season at 10 wins. However, if Shea turns into a good QB and our OL improves,  I think we could 11 or 12 games and win the B1G.  I think we may lose a tough opening game at ND and we may have a tough loss to WI but could win the rest of our games. We then would play WI again in the B1G championship game and I think we will beat WI.

kurpit

June 11th, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

I've been saying 9-3 too. All the people that look at this team and this schedule and say that the floor is 9 or 10 are just the same old hardline homers who predict 11+ wins every year.