The Michigan Wolverines' quarterback battle is bleeding into the 2022 regular season.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has decided to roll out incumbent starter Cade McNamara for Saturday's season opener against Colorado State and returning backup J.J. McCarthy for Week 2's matchup against Hawaii.
Harbaugh will chose the team's starter after watching them both operate in real-game action.
Former Michigan star and current College GameDay analyst Desmond Howard agrees with this decision.
"Unique circumstance call for unique resolutions and I think this is the best way they’ve come up with as a staff to try to resolve this quarterback battle they have, a legitimate battle," Howard said this week on CBS Sports HQ, per 247Sports. "Cade McNamara played in 14 games last year and took Michigan to the College Football Playoff and J.J. McCarthy participated in 11 games and we’re not talking about mop-up duty. He played in games when games were still hanging in the balance. He came into games, it's like, 'OK, this game could go either way.' It speaks to his talent level and even more importantly, the amount of confidence the coaching staff had in him a year ago and continue to have in him based on what they’ve seen."
McNamara started every game last year and led the Wolverines to a College Football Playoff appearance. He logged 2.576 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions on a 64.2 completion percentage.
McCarthy, a five-star recruit in the 2021 class, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman — collecting 516 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Both of these quarterback options split first-team reps during spring practice.
"You can try to set up game-like scenarios in practice, but those aren’t the same because the bullets are live in games and everyone’s going for broke," Howard added. "Harbaugh is taking this competition to where it’s going to be judged in real games. I understand it. It’s a unique approach, but it’s where they find themselves today because they have two great quarterbacks."
Saturday's home opener against Colorado State kicks off at noon ET in The Big House.