Thursday, August 29, 2013

Predicting Michigan's 2013 season game-by-game

Michigan has emerged as the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten Legends Division by many publications. The Wolverines have the talent, it is just a matter of if they can put it together in 2013. Here are my game-by-game picks for U-M.

Aug. 31 vs. Central Michigan – The Chippewas are breaking in a new quarterback in the Big House. Good luck with that. (1-0)
Sept. 7 vs. Notre Dame – If not for so many turnovers, Michigan would have won at Notre Dame last year. I think the Fighting Irish are in for a rough night in Ann Arbor this time around. (2-0)
Sept. 14 vs. Akron – Another MAC opponent, another lofty win. (3-0)
Sept. 21 at Connecticut – The first road game always poses some challenges, but this should be a win without too much trouble. (4-0)
Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota – The Golden Gophers just won’t have the athletes to keep up with Michigan (5-0)
Oct. 12 at Penn State – The Nittany Lions will make this tough, but the NCAA penalties will start to be felt. Look for Michigan to grind out this win. (6-0)
Oct. 19 vs. Indiana – Take the over. (7-0)
Nov. 2 at Michigan State – I think this is the year Michigan gets a win in East Lansing again. It will probably be “bowling-shoe ugly,” but I think Michigan stays unbeaten. (8-0)
Nov. 9 vs. Nebraska – The Cornhuskers have struggled on the road in previous seasons and I suspect that will continue. Michigan gets the win here in an entertaining game. (9-0)
Nov. 16 at Northwestern – It’s not entirely that I think Michigan will lose to Northwestern, but I feel this final five-game stretch is too tough to go unscathed. I will say the Wildcats avenge last year’s loss to the Wolverines at home. (9-1)
No. 23 at Iowa – Another tricky road game late in the season. Iowa isn’t what it used to be, but it still isn’t easy to get a win in Iowa City. Michigan will win this game, but it won’t be pretty. (10-1)
Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State – Ohio State will probably have a lot to play for and can play spoiler to Michigan’s Big Ten title hopes. Despite my picking a loss to Northwestern, I see the Wildcats dropping a few games along the way as well. If Michigan wins, it will play for the Big Ten title. Ohio State could play conservative and play for the following week, but an unbeaten season could be on the line too. Urban Meyer is building a national power in Ohio State, but the Buckeyes aren’t quite that dominant force yet. The Wolverines don’t need to take a backseat to Ohio State right now and I think they get a win over the Buckeyes at home. (11-1)
Dec. 7 vs. Ohio State (Big Ten Championship) – As good as the win was for Michigan the previous week, the loss this time around will have a greater impact. Ohio State will pull out all the stops and find a way to win on a neutral field. (11-2)

If my predictions hold up, this will still be a strong season for Michigan. Brady Hoke says winning the Big Ten is always the expectation, but reaching the title game is still a good accomplishment as he continues to build up the program again. The schedule isn’t too difficult, but it also ends with a very tough stretch. Winning the Legends Division won’t be easy, but Michigan seems equipped to do so if it can keep its stars healthy.

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