After looking like a legitimate national title contender for two months last season, the Michigan Wolverines lost two games in November to finish in third place in the Big Ten East Division and then failed to finish the season on a winning note by dropping the Orange Bowl against Florida State. It was a rough way to end an otherwise stellar season in Ann Arbor, and it was a finish that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is hoping will help set the tone for the 2017 season.
”I hope a lot,” Harbuagh said when asked how much inspiration he hopes the Wolverines take from last season’s finish, according to the Associated Press. ”Maybe that will motivate us to put more into it. Coach better. Play better. Train harder. Put more of our heart into each and every one of those ballgames.”
Michigan will see a good amount of roster turnover this season and will face some good challenges this upcoming season. Aside from opening up the year on a big stage in Arlington, Texas against the Florida Gators, Michigan will also look to compete in a division that will be headlined by Ohio State and Penn State (both widely accepted to be playoff contenders in 2017) and a crossover division matchup against Wisconsin. The Wolverines may have a lot of starters to replace, but Harbaugh and his staff are now truly putting their stamp on the program by developing players they have been responsible for recruiting to Ann Arbor as Harbaugh begins his third season as the head coach of the Wolverines.
With so much turnover on the roster, it would not be a shock to see the Wolverines take a few weeks to really hit their stride. That could mean Michigan will be a better team at the end of the season than they may be in the opener. Fortunately, one area Michigan appears to thrive in is with game preparation. Harbaugh’s staff is regularly praised for the amount of prep work that is done with the game plan. Michigan could either be in a shaky toss-up against Florida in Week 1 or win it going away as they did the last time the two programs met, in the 2016 Citrus Bowl (Michigan blasted the Gators, 41-7).
Michigan will be a tough team this season, but matching last season’s win total in the regular season (10) will not be easy.