ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan football team is ranked No. 6 in the preseason Coaches Poll after making its first College Football Playoff appearance last year.
Michigan is coming off a 12-2 season that included a dominant win over Ohio State and a blowout victory in its first Big Ten Championship Game. The Wolverines earned the No. 2 seed in the playoff before losing handily to No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl semifinal.
Jim Harbaugh’s team lost a handful of key contributors from 2021, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo leave the most notable holes to fill, and Michigan will sorely miss dynamic safety Daxton Hill.
Brad Hawkins, Vincent Gray, Josh Ross, and Christopher Hinton will also need to be replaced.
On offense, Michigan lost star running back Hassan Haskins to the NFL. The only other significant loss on that side of the ball was starting lineman Andrew Stueber, who was also drafted.
All eyes have turned to the starting quarterback competition, which features Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy. McNamara, the incumbent, threw for 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns, and six interceptions a year ago. McCarthy, the former five-star recruit, showed flashes of elite potential when his number was called.
In terms of playmakers, Michigan’s offense should have no shortage, on paper. Ronnie Bell returns from injury and joins a wide receiver room that includes several young talents. Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum should make for a dangers backfield tandem in Haskins’ wake.
Michigan’s season will likely hinge on quarterback play and how new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter replaces last year’s top contributors.
The season begins Sept. 3, with Michigan hosting Colorado State.
Big Ten teams in the top 25:
- 2. Ohio State
- 6. Michigan
- 14. Michigan State
- 20. Wisconsin
- Iowa (26th), Penn State (27th), Minnesota (43rd), and Purdue (T-48th) also received votes.