Picking Every Michigan Football Game Winner

What a difference a year makes. The Michigan Wolverines, mired in a long stretch of mediocrity, entered the 2015 season with a slew of question marks and weren’t even remotely regarded as the national power they once were. Enter coach Jim Harbaugh.  One of the best quarterbacks in school history and one of the best professionals the Wolverines have produced.

Harbaugh, unceremoniously let go by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, returned to his alma mater and breathed new life – and fierceness – into the Maize & Blue. The Wolverines won 10 games while losing only to Utah (on the road in the season opener), Michigan State (on a blown punt on the game’s final play), and to Ohio State (in a Buckeyes’ blowout). Now the 2016 season looms and Michigan is regarded as a possible college playoff contender by Vegas. Let’s take a look at their 2016 schedule and how the Wolverines’ season will unfold.

Sept. 3, Noon – vs. Hawaii
This is a mismatch. Hawaii was winless on the road last season, while Michigan’s defense will be ready to swarm. Michigan wins.

Sept. 10, Noon – vs. Central Florida
UCF was winless last season. The Big House beckons. Enough said. Michigan wins.

Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. – vs. Colorado
Colorado is still trying to find its footing in the Pac-12. Ann Arbor will be a slippery slope for the Buffaloes. Michigan wins.

Sept. 24, TBA – vs. Penn State
Things get a bit more interesting for Michigan in its Big Ten Conference opener. Penn State is never an easy test, but the Wolverines are on a roll. Michigan wins.

Oct. 1, TBA – vs. Wisconsin
What, another home game for the Wolverines? Indeed, and it’s a good thing because Wisconsin is tough to deal with on its home turf – and anywhere else for that matter. Michigan’s defense prevails in a Saturday slugfest. Michigan wins.

Oct. 8, 7 or 8 p.m. – at Rutgers
Michigan makes its first road trip of the season, and to a place where it lost in 2014. Rutgers paid a steep price for that win in Ann Arbor last year and will continue paying this year. Michigan wins.

Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. – vs. Illinois
The Wolverines return home following an off week to face an Illinois team coached by longtime NFL coach Lovie Smith. While the Fighting Illini should be improved, Michigan will be well-rested and eager to remain unbeaten. Michigan wins.

Oct. 29, TBA – at Michigan State
Until Michigan beats MSU, the Spartans are top dogs when it comes to the Mitten State. MSU earned a trip to the College Playoff in 2015 – thanks to the botched Michigan punt and Mark Dantonio’s complete out-coaching of Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Michigan is desperate to clear this slate. They just might be desperate enough. Michigan wins.

Nov. 5, TBA – vs. Maryland
Michigan’s defensive coordinator from last year (D.J. Durkin) is now Maryland’s head coach. What the Terrapins really need is offense. Michigan wins.

Nov. 12, 8 p.m. – at Iowa
Upset alert! You know the Hawkeyes will be pumped up for this one. I can see goalposts being torn down. Iowa wins.

Nov. 19, TBA – vs. Indiana
Indiana shredded Michigan’s stout defense last year in Bloomington. Not this time, Hoosier Daddy. Michigan wins.

Nov. 26, TBA – at Ohio State
The road, as always runs through Columbus. This has the potential to be one of the greatest games in school history.  While the Buckeyes seemingly lost half of their 2015 roster to the NFL, they’re still loaded with talent. Michigan’s journey to the playoff is derailed here. Ohio State wins.

Best NFL Players Who Came From Michigan

Michigan is one of the most storied college football programs in the country. They have more wins than any other team and one of the most recognizable uniforms. So many great players have played at the Big House and many have done very well at the professional level. Here is my list of the 7 best NFL players who came from Michigan.

1. Tom Brady

He is number one by far. Simply, he is arguably the best player ever to play the quarterback position. He has won the Super Bowl four times and was named the Super Bowl MVP 3 times. He was drafted by the Patriots in the 6th round and after an injury to Drew Bledsoe he led the Patiots to the first of four Super Bowl wins. He stays at the number one spot.  He played one of the best games in school history when he squared off against Alabama during bowl season.

2. Charles Woodson

Woodson was the first ever defensive player to win the Heisman, beating out Peyton Manning. Woodson was an incredible talent for Michigan, playing on both sides of the ball. He helped lead Michigan to a 12-0 record, a Rose Bowl victory, and a share of the National Championship.

3. Steve Hutchinson

Hutchinson was a first round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He was a dominating offensive lineman for the Wolverines and in the NFL. He was selected to the Pro Bowl an impressive seven times in eleven years in the NFL. In college, he received the award for the top lineman, the Jim Parker award. I rank him at number 3.

4. Ty Law

Ty Law was drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round. I have him ranked as the number four Wolverine player to play in the NFL. He was teamed up with his college quarterback Tom Brady and went on to help the Patriots win 3 Super Bowls in four years. In his 15 year NFL career, Law recorded 53 interceptions. Outstanding player for Michigan and the NFL.

5. Dan Dierdorf

One of the more dominant lineman in Michigan and NFL history. Dan Dierdorf played 13 season for the St. Louis Cardinals. Not only is he a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, he is also inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame. He was a part of the Michigan team that upset number one Ohio State. I will keep him at number five.

6. Tom Mack

My number six player on this list is Tom Mack. Tom Mack played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the 1964 Big Ten and Rose Bowl squads. He was elected to the Pro Bowl eleven times.

7. Elroy (Crazy Legs) Hirsch

Hirsch got his nickname while he was playing for the Wisconsin Badgers. It seemed like his legs were going in all different directions. He went on to Michigan in 1943 and led his team to an 8-1 season and a share of the Big Ten title with Purdue University.

Are there any future stars on this year’s team?  I think so.  That’s why I’m so high on the team in my season predictions I released.  I think they win most of their games and make a really nice bowl this season.

Best QBs to Play at Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines have had one of the most successful programs in the nation. Their football program has the most all-time wins and the second highest winning percentage in college football history behind only Notre Dame. Their success, as with most team, usually starts at the quarterback position. They been fortunate to have some great quarterbacks over the years. Here is a list of the top ten quarterbacks in the University of Michigan history.

Benny Friedman

Benny Friedman played at Michigan from 1924-1926. He is considered by most to be the best passer of his generation. He is is the only Michigan quarterback to be a two-time All-American selection. Friedman is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.  He’s credited with making the role of quarterback so pivotal in football.

Rick Leach

Rick Leach was a four year starter at Michigan under the famous Bo Schembechler. His talents led Michigan to three straight Rose Bowls in the late 70’s. Leach is incredibly gifted at both running and throwing. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards at Michigan and threw for twice as much. Schembechler once stated that Leach was the greatest football player he had ever been associated with.

Jim Harbaugh

Currently the head coach at Michigan and the reason I’m so high on the team in my season predictions.  But, Harbaugh was once a great quarterback at the university. He is the the first ever Michigan quarterback to throw for 300 yards in a game. During his career he threw for more than 5,000 yards and finished third in Heisman voting his last year. Harbaugh wasn’t known for a big arm, but worked to get the most out of his talents. As a result he has been very good at doing the same for quarterbacks as a head coach.

Harry Newman

Harry Newman had an incredible 24-2 record during his stay at Michigan.
He was a great leader and took the Wolverines to the National Championship in 1932.

He won the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy which was th equivalent to today’s Heisman Trophy. Newman is known as a versatile player who could even play halfback.

Chad Henne

Chad Henne started all four of his seasons at Michigan. He had 87 career touchdown passes which is second all time in Big Ten history. Henne is known for having a big arm and being able to hit big plays down the field. He led Michigan to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl appearance as a freshman.  Then played in some of the best games in Wolverine history.

John Navarre

Navarre is responsible for leading the Wolverines to to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl appearance against USC, the best team in the country that year. Navarre holds a number of passing records from Michigan. Navarre has a never say die mentality. He is responsible for conducting the biggest comeback in Michigan history, overcoming a 21-point deficit to beat Minnesota in 2003.

Robert Timberlake

Robert Timberlake had an incredible career at Michigan. He had an historic year in 1964 when led Michigan to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl victory. The same year he finished fourth in the Heisman rankings.

Tom Brady

One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Tom Brady got start at the University of Michigan. Brady was a backup his first two season at Michigan before winning the starting job his junior season. Brady set records for pass attempts and completions in his first season as a starter. He had victories in the Citrus Bowl and the Orange Bowl his last two season. Brady’s tenacity and desire to win made him special. He was known as a really hard worker, a trait that carried over to the next level.

Elvis Grbac

A three year starter at Michigan, Elvis Grbac led Michigan to two big ten titles, and two Rose Bowl appearances. He completed his carrer as the Michigan’s all-time leader in pass attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdowns, records that would later be broken.

Greatest Games in Michigan Football History

Michigan football games are one of the best events that happen in the midwest each Saturday in the fall. Each home game for the Wolverines sees a crowd of over 109,000 pack the stands in the hopes to see a Michigan victory. Fans who show up to see their beloved Wolverines expect a victory each time the team takes the field. There are some games that could be considered the best games in Michigan football history.  Let’s hope this season can match the excitement.

1. At No. 1, I have Michigan vs. Ohio State. This happened on November 22, 1969, which was Bo Schembelchler’s first season at Michigan after serving as an assistant to Woody Hayes for years. This was a back and forth game with Michigan pulling out the victory over the No. 1 rate Buckeyes.

2. The second best game in Michigan football lore was on September 10, 2012 when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to Michigan and squared off with the Wolverines with a NCAA record crowd of 114,804 fans in attendance. The game seemed to be a lock for the Irish when Tommy Rees threw a touchdown pass to Theo Riddick with 30 seconds left. Denard Robinson found a wide open Jeremy Gallon and connected for a 64 yard play down to the 16 yard line of the Irish. He might not be one of the best QBs in school history, but that day he was pretty special.  Michigan scored a TD with just 8 seconds to go.

3. The third best game in Michigan football history has to be when Michigan played Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl. This game showcased two future NFL stars in Tom Brady and Shaun Alexander. This was a hard fought game that went into overtime, and Alabama scored on their first play of their overtime possession. The extra point went wide. Michigan won.

4. The 2004 Michigan-Michigan State game was one of the best rivalry games in Michigan-Michigan State history. This was a battle between two of each team’s all time greats in Braylon Edwards from Michigan and Drew Stanton from Michigan State. With a little less that nine minutes in the game, Michigan found itself losing to Michigan State 27-10. The game went into 3 OT’s and in that third OT Michigan quarterback Chad Henne found Edwards on a ran a post route that ended up in a Michgan score. After a two point conversion Michigan State could not recover. This is my No. 4 Michigan best game.

5. The 5th best game for Michigan I have chosen is the 2008 Capital One Bowl against a powerful Florida team led by Heisman winner Tim Tebow. Florida had just won the NCAA championship a year ago and Michigan was a heavy underdog. Lloyd Carr announced his retirement and the Wolverines know they were up against a very good and fast Florida squad. The Wolverines racked up more yards of offense that the high flying Gators and sent Coach Carr and the rest of the Seniors out as winners, 41-35.