NCAA Team Preview: Michigan Wolverines

The Michigan Wolverines were one of the several teams in the Big Ten that opened ears wide when Ohio State lost their quarterback Braxton Miller. Not that the Wolverines or anyone involved with Brady Hoke’s program is happy about any type of injury, the Miller injury opened the door for other teams inside the Big Ten to bring home a title. The Wolverines come into the season in “others receiving votes” in both the Associated Press poll and also the USA Today poll. The Wolverines finished the season a year ago with a 7-6 record, winning just 3 of 8 games against Big Ten opponents.

A season ago, the offensive line for the Wolverines was not very good. Outside of that, the Wolverines struggled to make big stops on the defensive side. Brady Hoke has added freshman Mason Cole to help lead the line offensively. On the defensive side, the front four will feature Brennen Beyer, Frank Clark, Matthew Godin and Willie Henry. On the back end of the defense, much of the plays will need to come from freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is the lone freshman on the defense.

Offensive, Devin Gardner looks to hold off Shane Morris. Gardner is a redshirt senior that has not quite lived up to his potential to this point. Garden has the weapons, but will have to make sure he does a better job of taking care of the football. In the back field, the Wolverines will send a trio of sophomores headlined by Derrick Green. Wide receivers for the Wolverines include Devin Funchess, Amara Darboh and Freddy Canteen. Michigan scored 32.2 points per game, and allowed 26.8 a season ago.

Michigan will start their 2014 season on August 30th against Appalachian State. The Wolverines then will play their rivalry game with Notre Dame on the road. The Fighting Irish will be short handed, missing guys due to academic ineligibility. The third Michigan game will be at home; in the first of three straight home games. Michigan will host Miami (OH), Utah and then start the Big Ten slate against Minnesota. Following that home streak, the Wolverines will then take their first trip to Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights have joined the conference. Michigan then hosts Penn State on October 11th. After a week off, Michigan will face it’s toughest conference test on October 25th at Michigan State. The final four games for the Wolverines are at home against Indiana, at Northwestern, with Maryland and then at Ohio State in their annual rivalry game to finish the season.

The Big Ten is split into two divisions this season; with an East and a West. The Wolverines are in the East; which appears to be the toughest in, in terms of football. Michigan will see Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Rutgers, Ohio State and Penn State in their division. The winner of the East will take on the winner of the West, which on paper should be the Wisconsin Badgers.

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