Michigan Football: 2016 Game-by-Game Predictions

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The Michigan Wolverines football team enters the 2016 season with high aspirations. This game-by-game breakdown predicts that there’s reason for optimism.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Michigan
NCAA Football: Oregon State at Michigan /

Entering year two of the Jim Harbaugh era, the Michigan Wolverines are set up for success. Currently ranked #7 in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 poll, Michigan seems to have the pieces in place to at a minimum, have a shot at a Big Ten title. They’ve even found themselves in the conversation as a possible NCAA College Playoff team.

The major question on the Wolverine’s roster is at quarterback. John O’Korn, Wilton Speight and Shane Morris are all competing for the starting role. Unlike Jake Rudock last year, all three quarterbacks have spent a year in the system. Now it’s a matter or who studied and can execute the offense.

Apr 1, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh listens in on the huddle as quarterback John O
Apr 1, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh listens in on the huddle as quarterback John O /

John O’Korn (redshirt Junior) has been the presumed leader, as he has starting experience when he was a freshman at Houston. But don’t be surprised if redshirt sophomore, Wilton Speight wins the job, as he was Rudock’s primary backup last season and looked good in camp. Shane Morris is running third in this race and seems unlikely to make much noise in the competition.

Helping ease the quarterbacks transition will be a bevy of talent. Michigan returns four of its five starting offensive lineman. The most talented of the group is Mason Cole, who is switching from left tackle to all important center position. He will be replaced by sophomore Grant Newsome or incoming freshman stud, Ben Bredeson.

Michigan is very experienced at all their skill positions. They have a trio of running backs in DeVeon Smith, Ty Isaac, and Drake Johnson will can churn out the yards. All-American tight end Jake Butt, and senior wide receivers Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh are all dynamic targets.

On defense it gets even better.

Newly appointed defensive coordinator Don Brown (Dr. Blitz), has a wealth of experience maximizing the talent he has to work with. And talent he has in bunches with this year’s Wolverines defenders. He will create pressure through complicated blitzes, which he does upwards of 80% of the time.

Returning defensive linemen, Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, Ryan Glasgow and Maurice Hurst should all be playing on Sunday next year. When you add in last year number one overall recruit Rashan Gary, offensive coordinators will be losing sleep when Michigan is on the schedule.

The Linebackers are the weakest part of the defense, but the addition of All-American Jabrill Peppers will make this unit function. Peppers will spend most of his time as Don Brown’s hybrid SAM linebacker role and will be asked to create havoc all over the field.

Michigan’s third All-American is cornerback Jourdan Lewis. Lewis will shut down half the field and lead a strong secondary who will blanket opposing offensive weapons.

Michigan is loaded with talent. I broke down the nineteen draft eligible player in a previous article that you can find here: NFL Draft 2017: Top Prospects from Michigan.

Make sure you click on the next page for a breakdown of Michigan’s week 1 opponent, the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii.

Next: Week 1: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors