The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Of the four preview magazines reviewed, Sporting News was the lone one that made a prediction for every bowl. Here's where the magazine thinks all the Big Ten teams will end up: Sporting News Big Ten Bowl Projections Cotton Bowl, Jan. 1: Ohio State vs. UCLA Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Dec. 31: Michigan State vs. Auburn Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska vs. LSU Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin vs. Georgia Holiday Bowl, Dec. 27: Michigan vs. USC Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 30: Minnesota vs. Washington Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 27: Iowa vs. Virginia Tech Armed Forces Bowl. Jan. 2: Maryland vs. Tulane Heart Of Dallas Bowl. Dec. 26: Northwestern vs. Texas Tech Detroit Bowl, Dec 30: Indiana vs. Syracuse Games Of The Year A few of Michigan's matchups are among the most anticipated games of the 2014 sea- son. Lindy's ranks Michigan's away game ver- sus Notre Dame as the No. 3 nonconfer- ence game of the 2014 season, saying: "The stakes are obviously high for two power- house programs, and this night game puts a bow on the historic series until at least 2020, so the emotions will be dialed to 11. Devin Gardner accounted for five touchdowns last season as the Wolverines beat Notre Dame, 41-30." The magazine also ranks Michigan- Ohio State as the No. 8 conference game of the season, saying: "Did you know the Wolverines haven't won in Columbus since 2000? Fans of each school certainly do." USA Today says that the Michigan-Ohio State game is one of the three biggest Big Ten games of the season, along with Wiscon- sin vs. LSU in Arlington, Texas, and Ohio State at Michigan State. "'The Game' comes on the heels of one of the more dramatic meetings between the two teams. Michigan went for the win and missed a late-game two-point conversion." Athlon highlighted several of the Wolver- ines' matchups in their "Big Ten Games To Watch" column: Minnesota at Michigan: "The Gophers play a taxing schedule but could build mo- mentum early in league play by winning the Little Brown Jug for the first time since 2005." Penn State at Michigan: "This is a must- win game for Michigan, which has divi- sional road games against both Michigan State and Ohio State later in the season." Michigan at Michigan State: "Michigan State hosts its in-state ri- val in consecutive seasons for the first time and aims for its sixth win in seven years against the Wolverines." Michigan at Ohio State: "Brady Hoke's crew tries to spoil Braxton Miller's final Ohio Stadium appearance in a game that could have bearing on the East Division, the College Football Playoff and possibly the Heisman Trophy race." The Best One-Liners From The Preview Magazines 1. Lindy's: "The Wolverines have lost at least six games in four of the past six sea- sons. That's not all Hoke's fault, but the 2013 campaign was his worst since arriving in 2011. The pressure on Hoke to get things back on the right track seems to be at an all- time high. Michigan will need to develop a host of younger players, as the Wolverines have only 10 scholarship seniors — just two on offense." 2. Athlon: "There are crucial years, and then there's this year for Brady Hoke at Michigan. After slipping back to an 8-5 re- cord in 2012, the Wolverines bottomed out in 2013 with a 7-6 record — including a 1-5 close to the season. Michigan put together one of its worst rushing seasons in modern history … As a result, the Wolverines fired offensive coordinator Al Borges and hired Doug Nussmeier from Alabama." 3. Sporting News: "This is a big year for Hoke and Michigan. If the Wolverines don't return to their previous status as Big Ten contenders, they risk losing significant ground to divisional foes Ohio State and Michigan State. Michigan must become a successful running team again and bolster its defensive front seven. Meanwhile, Devin Gardner has to become a reliable triggerman for the offense and demonstrate the consis- tency winning teams need." 4. USA Today: "Everything was humming along after the first five games of 2013. There were some squeakers, sure, but Big Blue was 5-0. Then the four-OT loss to Penn State seemed to take a chunk out of this team. One would hope for a re- bound, but with a new offensive co- ordinator, little to no experience in the backfield and a retooled offen- sive line, progress might be slow." Several of the preseason preview magazines noted that this is a big year for head coach Brady Hoke and the Wolverines. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Preseason All-Big Ten Selections Player Pos. Lindy's Athlon Sporting News USA Today Devin Funchess WR 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team Jake Ryan LB 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team Blake Countess DB 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team 1st Team Frank Clark DE 2nd Team — — — Jarrod Wilson DB 2nd Team — — — James Ross III LB — 2nd Team — — Erik Magnuson OL 3rd Team — — — Will Hagerup P — 3rd Team — — M THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 33 8,10-12,14-28,30-32.IMA.indd 33 6/19/14 5:04 PM

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