Last season was one to remember for Michigan, which beat Ohio State for the first time in eight years, won the Big Ten, and made its first College Football Playoff.
Now comes the hard part of consolidating those wins, repeating that success, and getting one step closer to winning the national championship.
What can we expect from the Wolverines in the 2022 football season?
Recently, the ESPN college football power index prediction machine got to work crunching the numbers on this team’s chances in every game in the coming year.
Game 1 against Colorado State. Michigan opens against a Rams team that came off a 3-9 mark last season and brings in a new coach in Jay Norvell. But look at how the Rams attack deep down the field with what should be an athletic group of receivers. The chance to win FPI: 97.6%
Game 2 against Hawaii. Coach Todd Graham is out after an investigation into alleged abuse involving the state senate, as are a series of transfers, and new head coach Timmy Chang is in, with a lot of work to do. to do with repairing a roster that was 6-7 and ranked fifth in its division a year ago. The chance to win FPI: 98.0%
Game 3 vs. UConn. One of the surest things in college football is a win over the Huskies, who haven’t won five games in a season in a decade. UConn was a 21-76 program at the time, and, desperate for some kind of leadership, brought in head coach Jim Mora, Jr. this offseason. The chance to win FPI: 99.1%
Game 4 against Maryland. It was the fourth-best offense in the Big Ten a year ago, good for more than 440 yards per game and scoring a shade under 30 points per week. But the Terps need better blocking up front and this defense needs work in every phase, posting the second-worst scoring mark in the conference (32.4 ppg). The chance to win FPI: 82.6%
Game 5 at Iowa. Going on the road at Iowa is always tough — just ask Penn State last year — but a Hawkeyes team that was destroyed by Michigan for the Big Ten title a year ago has never been better after losing. some important pieces. It returns a fair share of a physical, well-coordinated defense, but is missing center Tyler Linderbaum and has yet to figure out how to consistently attack deep downfield. The chance to win FPI: 70.0%
Game 6 at Indiana. IU was good for just 17 points per game last fall and will lose wide receiver Ty Fryfogle. But it got Missouri transfer quarterback Conner Bazelak, a 2,500-yard passer, to help bring the offense to life. The chance to win FPI: 85.9%
Game 7 against Penn State. A good challenge for Michigan’s secondary against super senior quarterback Sean Clifford, especially in tandem with WKU transfer receiver Mitchell Tinsley, who had over 1,400 yards and 14 TDs a year ago in a record violation. It was also the third-best scoring defense in the Big Ten last season The chance to win FPI: 66.9%
Game 8 against Michigan State. The only team to beat Michigan in the regular season a year ago now comes to the Big House for what figures to be another high-scoring rematch. Payton Thorne is still a problem moving the ball downfield, and he returns Jayden Reed, who leads this team in receiving. But running back Kenneth Walker is gone, and Sparty returns what will be the Big Ten’s worst pass defense in 2021. The chance to win FPI: 69.5%
Game 9 at Rutgers. The third-worst scoring offense in the Big Ten was good for just 19 points per game from last fall, while giving up nearly 25 ppg to opponents. Even with its losses up front, Michigan should have a quick advantage at the line of scrimmage. The chance to win FPI: 88.6%
Game 10 against Nebraska. One of the most open questions not only in the Big Ten but in college football after losing every game (nine total), all by single digits. The Huskers have been aggressive this offseason, hiring Mark Whipple from Pitt to call offensive plays and bringing in Casey Thompson, the QB who led the Big 12 in TD passes last fall. The chance to win FPI: 80.0%
Game 11 vs. Illinois. Chase Brown had a thousand yards rushing in 2021 for the Illini, and Joshua McCray added 549 yards with two scores. Bret Bielema’s defense improved from 2020, allowing 20 points or fewer in seven games. Now, he’s got transfer quarterback Tommy DeVito and his big arm to test defenses downfield. The chance to win FPI: 93.1%
Game 12 at Ohio State. Many of the dominant defensive pieces that defeated the Buckeyes last year are gone, but Michigan still has plenty of skill options to test an Ohio State defense that’s anything but a sure thing. The chance to win FPI: 15.2%
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