The Real Michigan Wolverines Football Season Begins Now

Photograph: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Photograph: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Winning all their out of conference games is a good start, but the real test for the Michigan Wolverines football program will be their Big Ten results.

The Michigan Wolverines football performed well last season – their first under coach Jim Harbaugh. Finishing the 2015 season at 10-3, they returned quickly to national relevance.

But the bar for season two is higher. The Wolverines aren’t fighting for relevance, they’re working on becoming a national powerhouse – once again. If Harbaugh is to get them there, Michigan will have to perform better in conference play than they did last season.

And how can they better themselves in conference? Last season he Wolverines finished with a 6-2 record in the Big Ten. They took care of business against much of the league, but they lost two their two biggest Big Ten rivals – Michigan State and Ohio State.

If Michigan wants to build on last season’s success, they will have to take care of business against everyone in conference, MSU and OSU included. Technically one loss in conference would be an improvement from last year, but like I said, the bar is high.

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If Harbaugh wants to restore Michigan to a national powerhouse, they should be playing in the college football playoff sooner rather than later. And they can’t do that without doing better in their big games against their biggest rivals.

Last year Michigan had Michigan State beat. Then a blocked punt, and a comedy of errors turned victory into defeat. Michigan should be hungry for revenge. And a Wolverines victory this year should help U of M on the in-state recruiting front as well as national perspective.

Of course, more often than nought, the final game of the regular season – the game against that school from Ohio – is the biggest one the Wolverines schedule.

Especially this year, with the Wolverines finally in a legitimate position to return to being a national powerhouse, their rivalry with Ohio State is even more crucial.

Only four teams get to participate in the college football playoff season. If Ohio State is a part of this year’s playoff it’s likely Michigan will not be. And if Michigan wants to return to being king of the hill, they at least have to be invited to play on that hill.

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High goals, big hills, the Michigan Wolverines football team has much climbing left to do this season.