ANN ARBOR — College football is only a few weeks away and everyone is beginning to provide their predictions on how the season will play out. That now includes USA Today, who believes both Michigan and Michigan State will be bowling this year.
USA Today released its win-loss predictions for all 130 FBS teams on Monday, and they have both the Wolverines and Spartans returning to the postseason in 2017. The news service predicts Michigan will repeat last year at 10-2 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten play, while they believe Michigan State will somewhat rebound to finish 6-6 with a 4-5 record in conference play. Michigan will finish tied for second place with Penn State in the Big Ten East Division and Michigan State will follow in fourth place.
USA Today didn’t predict who each team will beat or lose too, but we can read between the lines to determine some of the possible wins and losses. With the Wolverines projected to pick up both of its losses against Big Ten teams, that means Michigan will go 3-0 in non-conference play and beat Florida in its highly anticipated season opener in Arlington, Texas on Sept. 2. For the Spartans we see five of their six losses will come in conference play so one would assume that non-conference loss would be against Notre Dame on Sept. 23 at Spartan Stadium.
Another thing we can determine through these projections is that USA Today believes Ohio State will beat the Wolverines for the 13th time in 14 years. USA Today has the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten and as the lone team in all of college football to finish the regular season undefeated.
USA Today is also high on Wisconsin this year, predicting the Badgers to finish 11-1 and win the Big Ten West Division.
As for the three Michigan-based MAC schools, USA Today has mixed reviews. Western Michigan is predicted to follow up last year’s undefeated regular season with a 7-5 record, and both Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan are projected to finish 5-7.