With the college football season officially over, many outlets have put out their way-to-early Top 25 rankings for 2019. Michigan makes an appearance in the top-10 in most of these rankings.
“Now that Jim Harbaugh finally has his guys in place and any holdovers from the Brady Hoke era are gone, could this finally be the year he beats Ohio State? (No, but we’re going to keep doing this every year anyway),” Alex Kirshner wrote.
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 3 and Penn State at No. 14.
“The Wolverines looked like they were finally ready to turn the corner under coach Jim Harbaugh — until they flopped in the regular-season finale against Ohio State and were rolled by Florida in their bowl game,” Mark Schlabach wrote. “Still, they won 10 straight games before that and were in the Big Ten race until the end.
With quarterback Shea Patterson deciding to return to school, the Wolverines should be back in the mix again in 2019 — if they can replace several key contributors on defense.
The Wolverines will have to find a replacement for Higdon, who ran for 1,178 yards with 10 touchdowns, and Harbaugh will have to decide whether his offense needs a facelift in terms of philosophy.
The Wolverines are losing their top three tacklers — Kinnel, Bush and Winovich — and Gary was another key piece of Don Brown’s defense, which was exploited for 103 points in the final two games.”
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 4, Notre Dame at No. 5, Penn State at No. 17 and Wisconsin at No. 21
“With quarterback Shea Patterson, four starting offensive linemen and several skill players who only scratched the surface of their potential this year returning, the Wolverines should be in good hands on offense,” Scooby Axson wrote. “But the nation’s No. 1 defense allowed 103 points in its last two games, both blowout losses to Ohio State and Florida, and with leaders Devin Bush, Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich departing, respected coordinator Don Brown will be asked to work his magic in 2019.”
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No.4, Notre Dame at No. 5, Penn State at No. 14, Wisconsin at No. 17, Iowa at No. 18, Army at No. 22 and Michigan State at No. 23.
“Shea Patterson’s decision to return in 2019 is a huge win for an offense that desperately needs consistency under center,” Paul Myerberg wrote. “There will be a spotlight on Jim Harbaugh, who needs to deliver a win against the Buckeyes and make a run at the national title after struggling with the Wolverines’ rivals through his first four seasons. But this could be a team that takes the next step in 2019.
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 6, Notre Dame at No. 13, Iowa at No. 16, Penn State at No. 19, Army at No. 20 and Wisconsin at No. 23.
“Will this be the year Michigan beats Ohio State?” Stewart Mandel writes. “Jim Harbaugh gets back QB Shea Patterson and WRs Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Nico Collins, but he needs to modernize his playbook. The Wolverines also allowed 103 points in their last two games after not giving up more than 24 in any of their first 11, and now DE Rashan Gary, LB Devin Bush and CB David Long are off to the NFL. Younger players will need to emerge.
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 4, Notre Dame at No. 11, Iowa at No. 16, Penn State at No. 21 and Wisconsin at No. 23.
“QB Shea Patterson returns for his senior season and we’ll see how Michigan opens up the offense in his second season with the team,” Yahoo’s staff writes. “Patterson threw the ball just 26 times a game while Michigan ran it 42 times a game in 2018. The Wolverines’ wide receivers are talented too. Both Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins were just sophomores in 2018. Linebacker Josh Ross returns after 54 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. The decision by Josh Metellus to stay in school was big for Don Brown’s defense.”
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 4, Notre Dame at No. 6, Penn State at No. 14, Wisconsin at No. 16 and Iowa at No. 20.
“The Wolverines have the seventh-best record among Power 5 teams since Jim Harbaugh arrived at Ann Arbor in 2015, but the only record that gets air time is 0-4,” Bill Bender writes. “Harbaugh still hasn’t beat Ohio State, and the schedule features the same potholes with an early matchup against Army and road trips to Wisconsin and Penn State. The rivalry games against Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State are home this time. With quarterback Shea Patterson and a talented group of receivers back, Harbaugh can let the offense take flight.”
Opponents on U-M’s 2019 schedule: Ohio State at No. 5, Notre Dame at No. 8, Penn State at No. 12, Army at No. 17, and Wisconsin at No. 22.