After back-to-back 10-3 seasons, Jim Harbaugh, it is fair to say, has put Michigan back on the college football map. After all, the Wolverines hadn’t finished with double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons since 2002-03, when Lloyd Carr was patrolling the sidelines. In fact, Michigan has finished with double-digit wins just three times in the last decade – and Harbaugh is responsible for two of them.
So yeah, Harbaugh has done well in Ann Arbor.
But that doesn’t mean his Wolverines should be ranked No. 11 in the AP Poll.
“I am not a believer in Michigan at all actually this year,” CBS Sports Network college football analyst Aaron Murray said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “If you want to look at the top 10, 20, 25, they’re actually, for me, my biggest bust of the year. I just don’t think they have the guys back this year.”
Michigan had more NFL draft picks (11) this year than any school in America, including Alabama.
That’s a lot to replace.
“I think (Harbaugh has) done an amazing job of recruiting and they have a lot of talent up there,” Murray said, “but it’s just too hard to replace 17 starters, especially 10 on the defensive side. You lose some of your best players on offense – there’s a lot to replace, and in a very tough conference as well. The Big Ten has definitely done an amazing job of really becoming very competitive. Then you’ve got those two teams they have to face in Ohio State and Penn State – two very talented teams.”
Indeed, the Wolverines play No. 6 Penn State on Oct. 21 and host No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 25. They also play No. 17 Florida in their season-opener this Saturday and face No. 9 Wisconsin in Madison on Nov. 18.
“So they’re going to have a good year, (but) I don’t think they’re going to have a great year,” Murray said. “They’re definitely not going to be in the playoffs. I look forward to them next year now that they have these young guys to kind of get them some playing experience this year. So I think this year is kind of a rebuilding year for Michigan, and then next year I think they’ll be right back on track.”