2021 Michigan Wolverines Football Predictions: Season Win Total Picks
2020 Record: 2-4
2021 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2021 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: ‘Over’
Heading into this season, there are a lot of “now or never” coaches in the Big Ten and in college football writ large. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is not exactly in a must-win/hot seat/coaching to save his job situation. But he is definitely running out of chances with the Michigan faithful.
I’m not going to defend or destroy Harbaugh here. There are plenty of hot takes out there that you can find to reinforce whatever your own personal feelings are about the controversial coach. All I will say is that the guy has proven that he can coach and proven that he can win on multiple levels of football. And if the Wolverines break out in 2021, I won’t be entirely surprised.
Doc’s Sports offers college football picks against the spread for every game on our college football predictions page.
This year’s group is one of the deepest and most experienced that Harbaugh has had since the 2016 Heartbreak Squad that went 10-3 (with the three losses that year by a combined five points). Their 17 returning starters ties the 2018 team (which also won 10 games) for the most of the Harbaugh Era.
The anchor around this program during Harbaugh’s tenure has been poor quarterback play. This year it appears that third-year redshirt freshman Cade McNamara will seize the reigns. McNamara was the starter in Michigan’s final two games last season, throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions, and beat out highly touted prospect J.J. McCarthy and transfer Alan Bowman. His play is going to be the determining factor in what Michigan’s true ceiling is this year.
Everything else is in place. Michigan returns its entire starting offensive line, its leading rusher, and its top two receivers from last year’s shockingly disappointing 2-4 team. Their top four tacklers are back on defense, and the entire secondary returns intact.
The defense will need to make major strides after getting strafed for 34.5 points per game last year. Considering that between 2015-2019 the Wolverines allowed an average of just 17.9 points per game, I am expecting a significant turnaround on that side of the ball.
Michigan opens the season with four straight home games. That includes a big-time matchup with No. 20 Washington in Ann Arbor on Sept. 11. That opening month stretch will offer the Wolverines a chance to build some momentum heading into potentially season-defining road games at Wisconsin and at Nebraska in back-to-back weeks. Michigan also has to head to Penn State and closes the year at Ohio State. Therefore, if they are going to get to 10 wins this year, they will have to earn it.
I think that the Wolverines are definitely underrated and undervalued heading into this season. They aren’t even in the preseason Top 30, and their national expectations are nil. That’s a mistake. I think Michigan is going to make plenty of noise in the Big Ten East, and I have them winning nine games and easily getting ‘over’.
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