January 8th, 2013 at 3:29 AM ^

Keep expectations where they need to be. 


Offensive line is going to be totally reworked with many question marks after the worst O line we've had in 50 years with no guarantee it will be much better than the mess we had this year with Lewan gone, especially given the experience coming back at center.

No elite RBs with any experience.

Defensive line, especially pass rush, is still a question mark.

Deep teceivers are unproven.


Secondary should be strong.

Linebackers should be solid.

QB play should be solid assuming Devin makes any kind of off season leap.

Amazing recruiting classes slowly coming into their own.


I'd say the ceiling for next year is high given the chance some of the redshirts and young players live up to their recruiting class ranking, but realistic expectation is probably  making the BiG Championship Game and being delighted if we can get by Ohio there, who will have a disturbingly easy path to that game with their crap division.

Next  year will be the first of several upcoming years where we can find ourselves playing Ohio back to back.

Early guess: 9-4



January 8th, 2013 at 4:26 AM ^

The B10 is weak and Michigan could go undefeated. OSU and Notre Dame will be the biggest challenges. However, Michigan doesn't have enough experienced talent to beat a Alabama type of team yet.


January 8th, 2013 at 4:38 AM ^

1. Finish the recruiting cycle with 2/3 playmakers that are immediate impact guys.
2. Find or Develop a legit #2 QB who is more than a game manager.
3. Accelerate the development of the skill position through spring/fall.
4. Post a behavioral clean sheet to avoid off field suspensions heading into next season.
5. Identify the most athletic playmaking 22 players on defense and adjust the depth chart accordingly in the spring. Especially in the secondary.
6. Borges must develop offensive fusion and consistency in schematics and facilitate or most dynamic athletes through the offense.
7. Beat ND.
8. Develop a form of marketability. Could be simply taping into the greatest history of our program or possibly a DG Heisman run.
9. Avoid the classic road Msu/Iowa in '11..Neb in 12.
10. Continue the auora of invincibility at home. Make the Big House an absolute jungle.
11. Do not worry or concern with what Ohio is doing. They will be highly ranked and extremely hyped.
12. Beat Ohio in Ann Arbor.
13. Do not feel sorry for an unjust and senseless rematch that looms.
14. Lace up and Beat Ohio again in Indy.


January 8th, 2013 at 6:56 AM ^

Unfortunately what I feared happended. ND blow out. No undefeated Big Ten team will be picked to play in the NC until the playoff rolls around.  MAYBE OSU but that's just bc their coach is Urban so they will get a slight bump.

Next year NC is already set. It will be ALL SEC unless Oregon runs the table. The A&M and Bama blow outs will basically pull up the rest of the conf 2-3 spots in the preseason poll so that any 1 loss SEC team will make the championship. with Bama and A&M guaranteed a spot if they have 1 loss. 

The only other team that could slip in is Oregon since they usually run up the score so if they can actually go undefeated they will get a shot.

UM's dream season at this point would be beating OSU twice and winning the B1G championship. Not a bad goal, UM is light years from beating Bama or A&M though. I honestly don't even think the All Big Ten team would beat Bama considering the lack of playmakers. 




January 8th, 2013 at 7:30 AM ^

Is undefeated, they will be in the national championship game. They aren't relegated to a Mac school just because of sec dominance. That said, they are not going to be undefeated next year.

Perkis-Size Me

January 8th, 2013 at 7:44 AM ^

I think the case was just made last night for yet another all SEC matchup next year. Oregon probably would get in if they run the table, and may be able to give Alabama a run for their money. But giving Saban a month to prepare against Oregon, I could somehow see him finding a way to completely shut Oregon down.

Many teams in the SEC can be beaten on any given day. We've seen that plenty this year. Florida loses to Louisville and almost loses to UL-Lafayette, LSU loses to Clemson, Georgia could have lost to Nebraska, SC needed a last-second TD to beat us, and so on. But Alabama is just on another level. They are men among boys in the top conference in football. As long as Saban is around, that's just not going to change. It's a very safe bet that Alabama will be in Pasadena next year. If they're not playing Oregon, they'll be playing some other SEC team like A&M or maybe Georgia.


January 8th, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

Really Alabama is just a step above everyone else, including the rest of the SEC.

I mean although we didn't we had no problems competing with the SEC in our bowl game.

And other than Texas A&M and Alabama, the rest of the SEC didn't exactly cover itself in glory during bowl season.

So basically we're trying to get to the level which we can compete nationally (which we're not far away from), to a separate level where we can compete with Alabama (which we are far from, as are many other teams). Alabama has lost 5 games in the last four years for a reason.


January 8th, 2013 at 8:05 AM ^

..10-2 is probably the ceiling for them next year. That might be good enough for a trip to the B1G Title Game and The Rose Bowl, but I don't see them achieving much more than that. Now, I hope I am a stupid idiot.


January 8th, 2013 at 8:12 AM ^

A lot is going to hinge on the line play, both offensive and defensive. Not saying our line was good this year, because they weren't, but youth and inexperience could be a bad combination. If Taylor comes back that would help, but I don't see that happening. Roh wasn't great but was smart and had experience, at least Q will be back and hopefully be eating up space for our new breed of linebackers.


January 8th, 2013 at 9:01 AM ^

a few frosh (RS and true) to materialize. Copy & paste the ND formula from this year, because we won't have the talent or depth to "muscle" our way thru the entire 12 games.

Mathlete's chart on our upperclassmen talent gap is cold reality. It will take a few recruiting cycles for our roster to posses top tier potential.

Still, we could be slight favorites in every single game next year ...

Der Alte

January 8th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

On the D line Pee Wee will fill in for BWC as a space-eater. But from whence cometh the pass-rusher? In the bowl game John Gruden commented ad nauseum that the lack of a true pass rusher forced M to frequent (too frequent) blitzes. For the most part Carolina picked up the bllitzes, and devastating big plays resulted.

Frank Clark seems a little smallish for a designated pass-rusher. Jibreel Black seems to have regressed a little --- at least in Mattison's estimation. Beyer hasn't yet shown he can elude O-linemen with any regularity. Maybe one of the redshirts or even an incoming freshman can assume that role. But if the bowl game proved anything, it was that against good teams, "he who (is forced) to live by the blitz might die by the blitz."

We need if not a Clowney-clone then maybe someone fairly close in ability.


January 8th, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

Size-wise, I don't see how Clark is too small.  You generally have two kinds of pass rushers at defensive end - the 6'2", 260 lb. types like Dwight Freeney and the 6'5", 260 lb. types like Aldon Smith.  Long and lanky or short and quick-ish.  Clark isn't as quick as Dwight Freeney, but he fits the mold of that kind of rusher.  Personally, I think he's the best pass rusher on the team outside of Jake Ryan, and I wish Clark would get some more playing time.  Beyer is generally a non-factor.


January 8th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

until UM gets a DL pass rush it doesn't matter how good the LBs or safetys are. UM will not get off the field on 3rd downs and continue to give up HUGE plays over the top against good teams (see all 5 losses this year).

simple as that really. The only pass rusher I see on the roster is Super Mario. My hope is that he bulks up and explodes on the scene next season. Frank Clark and can be a good SDE on passing downs bringing the occasional heat but Mario has shown flashes that he could be a legit WDE pass rushing threat.

If he doesn't develop UM is pretty much screwed and will have to out scheme top notch opponents with Mattison craziness. That can only take you so far and with new safeties coming in they will likely get burnt trying to execute it.

DL pass rush and the OL jellying before Big Ten play are key. Everyone knows the OL RS frosh have the talent if they can put it together the O will be fine. I like that Justice Hayes passed Rawls on the depth chart and hopefully Derrick Green can come in make a splash.

Also don't want to hear about experince for skill players. Bama led the nation in yds by Freshman this season. Elite teams play freshman studs all the time and then watch them go pro. UM needs to start landing these types instead of hopeing we can "build" an upper classman team of 4 stars. UM is not PSU or Iowa. They shouldn't have to wait for upperclassmen-laden teams to compete at elite levels.


Dutch Ferbert

January 8th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

People forget our O-line in 97 was mostly redshirt freshmen or sophomores. Two of the starters switched from D-line as well. Granted we had Jansen (too bad it looks like we won't have Lewan).

Our O-line was:

Center: Adami-SR

LG: Huthinson -RS FR

LT: Backus - RS FR

RG- Zieman - RS SO and Brandt - RS FR

RT: Jansen - SR

I think our O-line could honestly be better if the hype about some of our redshirts is true.

It's time to find out how elite our last couple of recruiting classes really were.


January 8th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

Mario O will be our pass rusher, IMO.  He has the burst but lacks the size and strength at the moment to be effective.  I'm confident a full offseason of S&C work will get him to where he needs to be.


January 8th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

ND proved anyone can make it to the BCS (not necessary win it). Never count Michigan out. The announcers did have a tid bit on the controversial split national championship between Michigan and Nebraska last night. But like most said, the focus is the B10 championship, then whatever comes. As a team Michigan is not that far off from being top shelve elite again. We will win some of the 5 stars and lose some as always. The bigger picture is that our coaching staff has proved we can win with the players we have. Damn the day Mattison retires, and we need a new DC.


January 8th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

I wouldn't be too sanguine about ND being anywhere close to the MNC next year; they lose 4 of their Oline, top 2 RBs, Eiffert and Teo.  Their D-line will still be a challenge with Nix in the middle (I think he's already announced that he will return, and he got the better of all-world OL B.Jones last night).

Alabama, though, will probably be back.  Even with the early entries they will lose...they have so much talent on their roster they really will just reload.  They will be the preseason #1.

Would guess that Ohio State, Oregon, Florida, LSU round out the top 5.  Think Michigan will be in the mid to low teens.  Offensive line scares the crap out of me for next year...and if Fitz can't come back healthy and if D.Green doesn't choose us....


January 14th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Let's look at this realistically....which position groups for Michigan next year are superior to Ohio State's and which are significantly inferior??

QB - OSU returns Braxton

RB - OSU very strong and deep with Hyde, Smith, Hall, Dunn, Elliott etc

OL - OSU returns four starters from a very good unit, and other starter is likely elite prospect  2nd year Taylor Decker

WR - OSU returns all contributors (Brown, Smith, Spencer, Thomas), plus adds Jalin Marshall plus maybe Corey Smith JUCO who could start right away

TE - OSU returns two that got lots of PT, Vannett and Heurman

DL - Spence, Bennett, Schutt, Washington, Steve Miller, Joel Hale, Joey Bosa - young but very high ceiling

LB - other than All-American Shazier, young and unproven Grant/Trey Johnson/Cam Williams in the middle, Josh Perry, Perkins, Jamal Marcus, on the outside

DB - OSU: Roby, Bryant, Barnett all return, nickel-back Doran Grant likely to take other cb spot.

ST - Return good kicker Basil and punter will be HS all-american Townsend

So, OSU likely siginificantly better at QB, RB, OL, DB.  A push at WR, LB, DL and ST? 

Maybe Michigan has better receivers & TE, do they? 

Which team has the x-factor player that can override what's on paper?  OSU has playmakers Miller & Shazier.  UM?

Anyone disagree that OSU appears to be sigificantly stronger than UM overall next year?