SI's Ellis Predicts Records for New Head Coaches (Harbaugh predicted 6-6)

Submitted by Caesar on August 11th, 2015 at 7:13 PM

Here's the link!

I think it's on the low half of 1st standard deviation events, and it's likely done to generate a reaction from a large and active fanbase. 



August 11th, 2015 at 7:43 PM ^

In all honesty, how do you get 6 losses when you look at our schedule?

You can say we will lose to OSU and MSU if you want.  You can say that Utah and BYU lean loss.  I could see those 4 losses . . . Utah and BYU are early before Harbaugh! kicks in, and OSU and MSU are frankly better. 

But then you are grasping after that.  Penn State will be tough at Happy Valley, but they are not a better team.  Minn and NW could give us problems, but they are not better teams than what we will be at that time of year.

To get to 6-6 you have to assume that everything that could go wrong will go wrong.  But it's just as easy to take the long odds in the other direction and say that we will sneak up on an OSU or MSU or we will gel early and surprise a BYU or Utah and go 9-3 or 10-2.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:13 PM ^

If you ever listen to Sirius radio Rick nehueisel and some other dipshits actually had us winning 5 games and lucky if we win 6. They actually argued if we could compete with Indiana...

I was shocked listening to how idiotic they sounded.. Of course they act like hoke was a great coach and our players have 0 talent


August 11th, 2015 at 9:15 PM ^

A healthy Peppers alone would have given us the Rutgers win.  11 men on special teams would have given us another.  Hoke could have bumbled into 7 wins easily.

I'm not saying that Harbaugh is just going to show up and we are in the Playoff.  He has a mountain to climb.  But Harbaugh + more experienced and deep lines + players returning from injury like Peppers and Drake Johnson + some key new faces like Rudock = a significantly better record than just 6-6.


August 12th, 2015 at 1:41 PM ^

Rick Neuheisel has a bad history of under-estimated Michigan teams.
My favorite memory of Rick Neuheisel is of him going on TV prior to facing Michigan in 1997 saying how their werent afraid of throwing at Woodson or of Michigan's defense in general.
Woodson answered by picking off the first ball thrown in his direction. He also went on to score a TD on offense.
The loss ended up Colorado's worst defeat under head coach Rick Neuheisel, its lowest point total in 101 games, and fewest yards of total offense (224) in five years.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:14 PM ^

Look, I think we're going to win 10 games, but lets not act like 6 losses is some far flung long-shot.

We are substantial underdogs in 3 games (Utah, MSU, OSU) and then there a handful of close games we could easily lose.  We've lost to Minnesota, Penn State, and RUTGERS! in recent years. If you don't think it's possible for us to lose to "not-a-better-team" you haven't been paying attention.

I know we all think we're gonna Harbaugh our way into title contention very soon but there are some very significant weaknesses to this team that no magician can fix over a few weeks of practicing. 

A couple wrong turns and things could be ugly again. Here is a short list of possible things that could submarine the season: 

  • the guy who got benched at Iowa looks like that was the right and we play the guy who couldn't run a functional offense against Minnesota or Kansas State.  In other words, we've been talking about this QB situation for so long that we seem to have forgotten what a big unknown it is.
  • The WRs make us pine for the passing game of the Gardner-Funchess era. We all know that a proven weapon isn't here, and it's hard to run with 9 men in a box no matter who you are.
  • Injuries to 2 OL starters lead to a true freshman starting again.  Speaking of the run game - it's contingent on our OL improving.  This is still a team that couldn't run against MSU, PSU, Northwester.
  • "3rd down pass to AJ Williams is ruled incomplete"
  • Our edge guys (Ojemudia and Ross) look about like they did last year despite the scheme change
  • Jourdan Lewis is hurt and our struggles with bump covereage remain
  • Julius Peppers is more Dymonte Thomas than Charles Woodson
  • Injuries in general.  Some places we are deep (DT, Safety, RB) but there are still players (Butt, Lewis, any OL, Rudock?) where their absence can cost us games.

ALL of these aren't going to happen, but some of them might.

The vegas consensus seems to be 7 or 8, and 6 is well within reason.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:43 PM ^

You only need one or two of them.  Crap play from the QB or injuries in the wrong spot at the wrong time of year and those 50/50 games become losses and you're sitting on 6 wins pretty quickly.

Of course the above things can be offset or mitigated. Possible impact 'good thing'

  • Jake Rudock is Brian Griese JR
  • Canteen or Cole are Manningham-level talents
  • Peppers is Woodson (Rod or Charles - you pick!)
  • Ty Isaac is Toby Gerhardt x Eddie George x Ty Wheatley x A-Train x Brandon Jacobs
  • Drevno is an OL magician
  • There's a starting-caliber OLmen ready to show himself out of Kugler/Dawson/LTT/etc.
  • Ty Wheatley Jr or Ian Bunting look like early entry NFL guys
  • Henry/Mone are the CFB version of Suh/Fairley
  • Marshall/Johnson/Jones are impact edge rushers
  • Delano Hill or Dymonte Thomas play at an all-conference level

The 'real' target is the objective/vegas target, not the Michigan fan target because we are all homers that can't be relied on to discuss this topic without injecting our hopes.


August 11th, 2015 at 10:06 PM ^

The problem is, you can't predict what new coaching will do.  None of us can.  If you had told people that the year after we were in the 100's in defense we'd go to a 30's ranked squad, we'd have called you a delusional homer.

This is above all other reasons why I am excited for this season.  Football has many variables and sometimes a golden horseshoe up your ass wins you a Sugar Bowl - sometimes that golden horseshoe dislodges itself and you find yourself 5-7 out of a job.  The biggest variable was changed this year - coaching.  We'll find out soon enough if the recruiting evaluations were done poorly or sufficiently in the last few years.

I'm going on the 8-5 or 9-4 bandwagon.  At this point it is just a baseless guess, just as your pessimistic outlook is.  


August 11th, 2015 at 10:35 PM ^

(which I agree with) than it is uncertain. In other words, you can't assume it's going to make the team better.

We all think it will, but we don't know if 'better' will be enough to compensate for the personnel losses, changes in schedule, transition costs, etc.

My outlook is 10 wins -- I don't see how that is pessimistic.  My point is simply that 6 isn't crazy either.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:30 PM ^

I agree that 6 is within reason, but it is near the absolute low end of the realm of possibility.  Harbaugh alone has to be worth more than only one more win than Hoke, and we have 17 returning starters from last year, not 11 as SI wrongly said. 

Logic dictates that this team should improve, probably drastically over last season with a lot of upperclassmen with a head coach who has proven that he can win everywhere.  There are offensive issues, yes, but those were there last year and we went 5-7, with a dud head coach.

I think 8 wins is the expectation, with 10-2 being slightly more likely than 6-6.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:46 PM ^

Harbaugh's going to be worth a lot of wins in the long run, but we're talking about this team in 2015.  Remember how Hoke won with Rich Rod's guys in 2011?  Now Harbaugh has to win with Hoke's guys.

Big picture - I agree with you.  I'm saying 10 wins and vegas is saying 7.  But if a guy wants to go -1 off the Vegas estimate that isn't crazy.


August 11th, 2015 at 8:51 PM ^

"Harbaugh has to win with Hoke's guys"

I don't really see this as an issue.  We have a ridiculous amount of talent on the roster - it just hasn't been fully utilized yet.  Harbaugh is a genius in efficiency  (and Hoke was quite obviously not), and he is going to find a way to squeeze every drop of talent out of these guys. 


August 11th, 2015 at 10:38 PM ^

But Michigan had ridiculous talent under Carr, Hoke, and Rodriguez and lost games it shouldn't have too.

Coaching transitions are tough, injuries happen, etc.  Michigan is lacking talent at some positions (QB, WR, DE), experience or depth at others.

I think we'll win 10 games but some injuries could swing us in the wrong direction too.


August 11th, 2015 at 11:28 PM ^

They demoted him because someone thought they had a better option but Rudock didn't get worse. If anything he should have more talent around him than he had at Iowa. That is our floor.

If Morris beats him out it will mean that he should be showing he has improved dramatically and would likely continue to improve during the year.

Granted Rudock has to learn a new system, but it's not like he was dumped because he couldn't do the job.

Other item you mentioned could happen. There is also a very real possiblity they improve dramatically.


August 12th, 2015 at 1:47 AM ^

would go 12-2 in his first season? I was thinking 7-5 or 8-4, especially after that awful beat down by MSU in the bowl game and a defense that looked years away from playing well again. I'm actually starting to think JH first year may be his best season until 2017. I'm thinking 8-4 but may be 10-2?


August 11th, 2015 at 8:33 PM ^

While the comparison seems a little odd, I suppose if you forced me I would say he is definitely more like Charles Woodson than Dymonte Thomas.  I am not sure how either way adds to any wins or losses for Michigan, though.


August 11th, 2015 at 10:37 PM ^

I don't like teams on the road, in conference, with shaky QB play.  If our QB play mirrors the last 1.5 seasons, then we're in trouble.  

Plus, I'm finally giving Jerry Kill some credit.  He's a darn good football coach.  He'll have his guys ready.

I think 6-6 is as likely as 11-1, which is not very likely until we see the product on the field.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:51 AM ^

If he's only as good as he was last year, he'll be a fine game manager type.

This team should win at least 7-8 games. If Harbaugh can get as much out of these players (relative to the talent level) that he got out of his first Stanford team, we should win at least one of Utah, BYU, and Penn St (who have comparable talent) and lose at most one of the 7 games against the less talented teams.


August 11th, 2015 at 7:36 PM ^

Yeah I don't get his math. We get literally every offensive lineman back, that's five by itself. Then there's EVERY RB, TE, FB and WR coming back except Funchess, regardless it is common knowledge we return more starters than any other team in the Big Ten PLUS we get two 5th year transfers who are above average starter quality. Citing our number of returning starters as a weakness tells me the guy pulled all of this out of his anus.