Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 123 of 179

BY AUSTIN FOX A 10-1 start by Michigan in 2018 had the Wolverines on the verge of both a Big Ten championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff, but those hopes came crashing down with a 62-39 loss at Columbus in late November. The arrival of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis from Alabama has breathed new life into a U-M football team that looked mentally defeated in its 41-15 loss to Florida in the Peach Bowl. Many believe Gattis' up-tempo, no-huddle attack is just what the Maize and Blue need to finally take that next step. The return of senior quarterback Shea Patterson and four starters on the offensive line, along with a trio of receivers thought to be among the nation's best, suggests that the club's offense may actually be better than its defense (which replaces six starters) in 2019. On top of that, Michigan will get arguably its four toughest op- ponents — Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State — all at home next year, meaning the path to a Big Ten title may truly run through Ann Arbor. With that in mind, here is a preview of the Big Ten heading into the 2019 campaign: PREVIEW The Conference Race Is Wide Open In 2019 122 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW TOP THREE STORYLINES CHANGING OF THE GUARD? Ohio State has dominated the conference in recent years (champions in three of the last five seasons), but a potential step back looks inevitable with Urban Meyer stepping down and first-year head coach Ryan Day taking over. Day is not expected to duplicate Meyer's success (83-9 record), meaning the door could be open for a new team to emerge and take home the conference crown. With 10-win seasons in three of the last four years, Michigan appears to be the most likely candidate. Senior quarterback Shea Patterson and Michigan may have the best shot to unseat Ohio State at the top of the conference this fall. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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