Michigan Football Preseason Circuitous Rankings Come Full Circle

Submitted by Arb lover on August 4th, 2018 at 8:31 PM

While this is all pre-season and essentially useless, I thought I'd share what I find an interesting tidbit of (lack of) logic.

We've already seen some people rank Michigan lower based on strength of schedule, that Michigan has to play some likely really good teams in 2018, many of them on the road, and likely doesn't come out unscathed. They are, I believe, looking at end of year results. 

The Wolverines do have to face Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State all on the road and Wisconsin and Penn State at home. They are No. 6 in my Power Poll, but the schedule has them down here (at No.11)."

Now, we have a preseason poll where the logic is that because Michigan is ranked lower than many of the teams it plays (due to it's strength of schedule, remember)... it is going to underachieve based even on its rankings. 

The only problem with that is they were the lowest ranked Big Ten teams in the Coaches Poll Top 25. Michigan State (No. 12), Penn State (No. 9), Wisconsin (No. 7), and Ohio State (No. 3) were all ahead of Michigan in the poll. Another opponent on Michigan’s 2018 schedule, Notre Dame, was also ranked higher at No. 11. All this is a long-winded way of saying that the Wolverines will have a difficult time getting through their schedule unscathed, no matter how great their roster may be.
It’s because of that schedule that some analysts are picking Michigan to underachieve this fall, relative to preseason expectations.

I'm all fine and dandy with these guys chasing their tails, as long as they don't continue to hold Michigan back from increased rankings because "they still have to play some really good teams and might lose". 



August 5th, 2018 at 10:20 AM ^

UM is probably a top 10 team.  I don't the record will reflect it.  9-4 is a likely outcome, but it will include an incredible SOS.  Auburn was able to make the top 10 at 10-4 last year, so I think a top 12 finish is realistic. 


S and P will probably like UM more than human voters.  The good news is if UM can limit the losses to 2 they possibly could sneak in CFP.  The hard part is going to be accomplishing that with so many tough games.


August 4th, 2018 at 8:41 PM ^

 There is no need to obsess over preseason polls.  Heck, many thought UM was shafted in last season’s pre season poll.   At the end of the year, when the hopes, dreams and aspirations are crushed, you will be unranked again.  We can call this 2018 or 2017 part II.  The bottom line is win and you will be fairly ranked, lose and you will be as well.  


August 4th, 2018 at 8:47 PM ^

Football rankings are fucking stupid. Teams frequently will drop in rank for losing to teams ranked higher than them while the teams that jump them did nothing to justify the jump. Shouldn't you lose to a team ranked higher than you, isn't that kinda the point of rankings?

Theoretically, if the season played out exactly the way the rankings say for Michigan and it's opponents then Michigan would lose to all of those teams but nothing about that should prevent them from being number 13, but there is no way a 5 loss Michigan is even in the top 25.

Der Alte

August 5th, 2018 at 11:21 AM ^

Yes, Michigan (#14 in the preseason poll) opens against ND (#11 in the poll), while Wisconsin (#7 in the poll) opens against powerhouse Western Kentucky, somehow unranked. Other nonconference, formidable foes on W's schedule include Brigham Young and New Mexico. The only two preseason ranked teams W plays are Michigan and Penn State, both on the road. No wonder pollsters look at that schedule and say hell, how can they not finish the season at least 10-2, and probably better? Michigan, on the other hand, plays three ranked teams on the road and two at home --- five of the twelve regular season games are against teams ranked higher than M is ranked. Pollsters look at that as well and say "how the hell can M beat any or all of those teams? Maybe one or two, but all five? --- the odds are definitely against it.

This 2018 season, M's battle is uphill, to be sure. But better to have played the strong teams and lose a couple than to play the patsies and boast on a one-or-two loss season, as Wisconsin does virtually every year. 

Eye of the Tiger

August 4th, 2018 at 9:15 PM ^

Ignore the noise. Most placings are based on last year's results more than on roster analysis. If we beat ND, PSU, Wisconsin and MSU, we will be a top 5 team (at least). If we don't, we will be farther down the list. Where we are placed now doesn't really matter. 

Our schedule is a challenge and an opportunity. I also don't think we come out of it unscathed, but you never know. 

Durham Blue

August 4th, 2018 at 9:42 PM ^

JH still has to prove (at Michigan) he can win road games against ranked teams.  There will be several tests this season.  I think he will prove it this season.  I said it in previous threads and I'll say it again...we goin' 11-1 with the only loss to NW.


August 4th, 2018 at 10:23 PM ^

I personally prefer to be the underdog when playing those 5 (ND, PSU, MSU, Wiscy, & OSU).  It's generally easier to be on top of your game and motivated when you are the underdog.

Go for two

August 5th, 2018 at 7:55 AM ^

I prefer to be around 15 in the preseason. If you go on a roll, you are in the top 5 by mid October anyway. From there, you just need to win. 



August 5th, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

Preseason polls are meaningless clickbait.  Just keep reminding yourself of that.  Every fan base wants to have their lofty hopes confirmed, but what happens on the field is all that ultimately matters.  

In an ideal world, there would be no polls until after the first weekend of October, when enough games have been played to get a real idea how good this year's teams are on the field.  The media will never let that happen, though, with their need to hype their early season games.

Blue in St Lou

August 5th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

I looked at the articles OP quoted (https://247sports.com/ContentGallery/Phil-Steele-releases-college-football-preseason-Top-25-119668699/#119668699_15 and https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Article/2018-Michigan-football-ESPNs-Chris-Low-picks-Michigan-as-his-overrated-team-in-2018-120357550/ ) (sorry, I don't know how to embed a link).  

The first is about the picks of an analyst, who says he picks based on his prediction of where teams will finish the year.  As the statement OP quoted says, he dropped Michigan from No. 6 to No. 11 because of its schedule.  The second article is about the Coaches Poll, which had Michigan at No. 14.  What's unclear is whether any of the voters in that poll dropped Michigan because of its schedule.

But what I wonder is whether anyone who has Michigan lower in their rankings because of its schedule will drop Michigan anyway if it loses, as they expect, to a higher ranked team.  

The Fan in Fargo

August 5th, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

I just wish Michigan fans like yourself weren't such wimps in their mind. Set aside logic and just have exploding confidence. That actually goes way further. This Michigan team is good and already has a more talented roster than everyone on the schedule. Ohio State doesn't have this defense and JT Barrett made a ton of plays with his feet over the years. That's gone now. Oh and Lewerke will choke once he hits the ground more than 3 times. Every player has a number just like every one has a price they say. Wisconsin is the best team Michigan faces this year.


August 5th, 2018 at 4:05 PM ^

You're an idiot if you think that.

Why are these morons allowed to post here?  If I said something equally as stupid as "Brian Lewerke will run over Devin Bush" on RCMB they would not just ban my account, they would ban my IP address.

The czars need to get this figured out before it turns into something resembling the toxic dump that is the comment section of the freep.


August 5th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

Prefacing a post that it doesn’t matter, then arguing a point as if it matters is mental masturbation. Just Win The Game and everything else is blah blah blah


August 5th, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

Just for giggles, the may or may not confirm my conclustions.  It tells me how teams in other conferences may stack up and provides some information about strength of conference and strength of schedule.  One or  two is sufficient.

On the other hand, I find talk about a tough schedule to be of little consequence.  I am content to schedule 'em and play 'em.