The pressure is on for Michigan football. The Big Ten could see a huge shakeup with Urban Meyer’s departure from Ohio State, and Jim Harbaugh’s team is the favorite to step in and take the league title in 2019.
Of course, that is easier said than done. Ohio State remains very talented, and the Big Ten East is one of the toughest divisions in the league.
The best case scenario for Michigan is pretty clear. The Wolverines defense remains elite through some departures, and Shea Patterson takes a leap with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis remaking the team’s offense.
That team can win the Big Ten crown and crack the top four to land a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The worst case is a bit shakier for Harbaugh’s club.
247Sports outlined the best and worst case scenarios for every Big Ten program, including the league frontrunner Michigan football.
Despite those tough division games, a cross-division battle with Wisconsin, and the non-conference rivalry showdown with Notre Dame, the site’s Brad Crawford can’t see Michigan going worse than 9-3 this year. That is obviously a good place to be in for most teams, but would still be pretty disappointing for a team looking to take the next step.
It’s hard to pick out three Big Ten losses on the schedule this season for the Wolverines outside of another potential loss to Ohio State and a 1-1 split in road games with Penn State and Wisconsin, so we’ll go with No. 3 coming via Notre Dame in October. That’s a must-win game for Michigan as far as College Football Playoff hopes are concerned and could really turn this season from good to potentially great. It’ll come in handy too in the eyes of the selection committee if the Wolverines are in contention down the stretch.
The 12-0 ceiling, 9-3 floor is exactly the same as rival Ohio State. The Buckeyes may well be the more talented club, and have the Big Ten title pedigree, but Michigan retains, and may have upgraded, its coaching staff, and has plenty of experience itself.