Michigan football: Way-too-early predictions for each game on the new 2022 schedule

Quest for national championship goes through four teams

Michigan fans wave pom-poms before an NCAA college football game between Michigan and Notre Dame, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Ann Arbor, Mich. This is the first ever night game to be played at Michigan Stadium. (AP Photo/Tony Ding) (TONY DING, AP2011)

DETROIT – The Big Ten announced revisions to the 2022 football schedule on Wednesday (Jan. 12) for all 14 teams in the conference, including two noticeable changes for the Michigan Wolverines.

Revisions came into play during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, and that had long-term ramifications for schedules across the conference.

One of the revised matchups for the Wolverines is on Oct. 8, when they’ll travel to North Dunn Street to face the Indiana Hoosiers inside Memorial Stadium.

Michigan played back-to-back years (2019 and 2020) in the Hoosier State due to the spread of COVID-19, which threw off the schedule for both teams. Before revisions took place, the Wolverines were scheduled to host Indiana again in 2022, despite doing so in 2021.

Due to the pandemic, the Wolverines, like Indiana, had two home games in a row vs. the Michigan State Spartans. With the Oct. 29 matchup revision, the Wolverines will now play host to the Spartans.

Both games could be under the lights as the Michigan fanbase always packs the Big House, and they travel well to opposing stadiums, also.

Michigan will play eight home games this year, with four road games between October and November.

Sept. 3Colorado State
Sept. 10Hawaii
Sept. 17Connecticut
Sept. 24Maryland
Oct. 1at Iowa X
Oct. 8at Indiana
Oct. 15Penn State X
Oct. 22BYE
Oct. 29Michigan State X
Nov. 5at Rutgers
Nov. 12Nebraska
Nov. 19Illinois
Nov. 26at Ohio State X

The Michigan fanbase started champing at the bit when the schedule dropped online. People are already speaking about going 11-0 and facing hated rival Ohio State at the end of November.

With the excitement surrounding the program, you have to remember that several key players from the 2021 roster have forgone the remainder of their collegiate careers to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Yes, the Wolverines are bringing back six offensive and five defensive staters. But, key players like defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, running back Hassan Haskins, outside linebacker David Ojabo, safety Daxton Hill, cornerback Vincent Gray, strong safety Brad Hawkins, defensive tackle Christopher Hinton, center Andrew Vastardis, and offensive tackle Andrew Stueber are all leaving.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) at the end of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 42-3. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Read: Michigan football safety Daxton Hill, running back Hassan Haskins declare for 2022 NFL draft

The men in maize did add some critical additions, like cornerback Will Johnson, defensive end Derrick Moore, safety Keon Sabb and wide receivers Tyler Morris and Darrius Clemons. Plus, the return of the team’s best player on offense, receiver Ronnie Bell, is why expectations for next season are through the roof.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, watches pregame warmups alongside wide receiver Ronnie Bell (8) before an NCAA college football game against Rutgers in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (The Associated Press 2021)

Read: Michigan football adds 5 new players to top-10 recruiting class on early signing day

Michigan doesn’t play a Power Five opponent in the non-conference this year, so the first month of the season is looking like barbecue chicken. The team could use those games to work on chemistry with their new additions.

Michigan then takes on the Maryland Terrapins in what should be another cakewalk, liften them to 4-0. The same goes for Indiana, Rutgers, Nebraska and Illinois.

Games against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium are always toss-ups. This matchup could be a night game for the Wolverines. Michigan thrashed the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten championship game, but that was at a neutral site. Halloween trickery could come early, but Michigan should win and improve to 5-0.

The Wolverines squeaked past the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2021 thanks to an Erick All reception and scamper to the end zone, but head coach James Franklin always has his group ready. Still, it seems plausible that Michigan could head into its bye week at 7-0.

Michigan tight end Erick All (83) sprints to the end zone to score on a 47-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against Penn State during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Michigan defeated Penn State 21-17. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Michigan can’t look past the Spartans as head coach Mel Tucker is a perfect 2-0 against Jim Harbaugh. The Spartans prove year after year that they do not fear the Wolverines. After a heartbreaking loss at Spartan Stadium, you can expect Michigan to be craving revenge in the Big House in 2022, with a chance to improve to 8-0.

The Scarlet Knights, the Cornhuskers, and the Fighting Illini should be tune-up games for the Wolverines, improving Michigan’s record to 11-0 before heading to Columbus for The Game.

Michigan got over the hump in 2021 when they finally beat the Ohio State Buckeyes, something they hadn’t done since 2011. The last time the Wolverines won in the Horseshoe was Nov. 18, 2000.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

By beating Ohio State, Harbaugh shattered the glass ceiling as head coach of his alma mater -- it only took him seven years to do so. People said he was incapable of being the hammer as he and the school have continuously been the nail for a long time.

The Wolverines hired former Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach and native son Mike Elston as their new defensive line coach Thursday (Jan. 13) to help reshape the depleted defensive side of the ball with Hutchinson, Ojabo, Hill, and others turning pro.

Finding Haskins’ replacement as the lead dog while also settling the quarterback battle between Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy will be top billing.

But as of now, approaching Martin Luther King Jr. weekend -- and not knowing which freshmen on either side of the ball will make an excellent first impression, or who else might hit the transfer portal -- my way-too-early prediction is that Michigan will finally become the hammer and beat Ohio State to finish undefeated in the regular season and defend its Big Ten title.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with his team after the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 42-3. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.