By: Doug Karsch
I am asked this all the time, “What are the Wolverines going to be this year?” And I often offer up the assessment, “I have no idea.” After a blow-out loss to Alabama and a ‘less than inspiring’ win over Air Force, you know what it means in predicting this rest of the season?
No, they are not doomed.
Why? Well there is little doubt that Alabama is the best team on Michigan’s schedule. Last year, Oregon lost handily to LSU is that same Cowboys Classic game and went on to win the Pac 12 and the Rose Bowl. It doesn’t mean that Michigan is CLEARLY going to follow that template, but it provides the perspective. That loss doesn’t mean doom.
Additionally, what Air Force did to Michigan last Saturday happens all the time. Teams that run that type of option offense have traditionally given quality opponents fits. Example, in 2009 Navy took that offense into the Horseshoe in Columbus and really tested the Buckeyes, before losing 31-27. That 2009 Ohio State team went 11-2 won the Big 10 and the Rose Bowl. In 2009 Air Force went into Norman Oklahoma and lost to the Sooners 27-24. That OU team went 11-2 won the Big 12 and the Fiesta Bowl.
Again, not that this means Michigan is clearly going to win the Big 10. But what it does mean is that it is very difficult to get a read on this particular Michigan team after these two particular games. Are there things that are a concern? Sure. But how concerning is yet to be seen. I have a hunch they are going to be much better than they have looked.
I have said on the air repeatedly that this Michigan team is evolving. What I mean by that is, this freshman class is going to play a major role moving forward. This Michigan team appears to have more immediate needs (O line, WR, LB, Dline and CB), and a higher regarded freshman class than last year to fill those needs. And keep in mind that a year ago as a freshman Blake Countess didn’t really start to play until week four against San Diego State. He was a solid fixture in the defensive line-up the rest of the year.
So when I’m asked what I expect, I think it is nearly impossible to predict.