The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 36 of 67

FEBRUARY 2022 THE WOLVERINE 37 A s expected, the Big Ten has altered Michigan football's 2022 sched- ule. Beyond cancellations, COVID-19 changed the 2020 and '21 slates, and the conference has taken measures to even things out. Michigan will open with the same three non-conference opponents, home games with Colorado State (Sept. 3), Hawai'i (Sept. 10) and UConn (Sept. 17). The Big Ten opener is also the same, a home contest with Maryland Sept. 24, as is the second conference contest, Oct. 1 at Iowa. Rather than playing Indiana at home and Michigan State on the road for two consecutive seasons, the Wolverines will instead get the Hoosiers on the road Oct. 8 — that game was originally scheduled for Nov. 12 at Michigan Sta- dium. The Oct. 8 home date with Penn State was moved to Oct. 15, and the Oct. 15 home game with Nebraska adjusted to Nov. 12. Michigan has a bye Oct. 22 before hosting Michigan State Oct. 29. That game was originally scheduled for Oct. 22 in East Lansing. The Oct. 29 home game with Illinois was moved to Nov. 19, and the conference game with Rutgers initially scheduled for Nov. 19 in Pisca- taway will now be played there Nov. 5. The conference knew better than to mess with the finale, of course. The Game, Michigan at Ohio State, will still be played Nov. 26 in Columbus. — Chris Balas MICHIGAN FINISHES NO. 3 IN AP POLL Michigan wasn't ranked in the pre- season, before rattling off a 12-2 re- cord, winning its first Big Ten title since 2004, and becoming the first team to begin the campaign unranked and earn a berth into the College Football Playoff. Georgia beat Alabama in the national championship game and is atop the As- sociated Press' final ranking of the sea- son, while Michigan checks in at No. 3 behind the two title game participants and ahead of No. 4 Cincinnati, which fell to the Crimson Tide in the Cotton Bowl. Three other Big Ten teams joined Michigan in the final rankings — No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 23 Iowa. The finish marks Michigan's first top- five ranking to end a season since 1999, when it wound up slotting No. 5, and best since winning the national title in 1997 (with a No. 1 ranking). Since the AP poll moved from a top 10 to a top 20 list in 1968, the Wolverines have entered a campaign unranked 10 times but have now finished the season ranked on six occasions. All told, Michi- gan has finished among the top three in eight seasons (2021, 1997, 1985, 1976, 1974, 1947, 1943 and 1940). This year was the second-most im- pressive jump, behind only the 1985 team — quarterbacked by now-head coach Jim Harbaugh — that surged from unranked to No. 2 in the final poll after posting a 10-1-1 record fueled by a tri- umph over Ohio State and Fiesta Bowl win over Nebraska. In fact, Harbaugh has now either been the quarterback or head coach for three Michigan teams that began the season unranked but wound up in the final poll, with 2015 being the other. In his first year at the helm, the coach led a resurgence in Ann Arbor, taking the five-win team he inherited and winning 10 games, including a blowout victory over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. — Clayton Sayfie   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Big Ten Revises Michigan's 2022 Schedule Jim Harbaugh's squad ended the season ranked No. 3 by the Associated Press, its highest fin- ish since topping the poll in 1997. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Sept. 3 Colorado State Sept. 10 Hawai'i Sept. 17 Connecticut Sept. 24 Maryland Oct. 1 at Iowa Oct. 8 at Indiana Oct. 15 Penn State Oct. 22 BYE Oct. 29 Michigan State Nov. 5 at Rutgers Nov. 12 Nebraska Nov. 19 Illinois Nov. 26 at Ohio State

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