Joyner predicts 10-win 2015 for Michigan football

Submitted by Ron Utah on February 9th, 2015 at 2:08 PM

KC Joyner, one of ESPN's college football analysts, believes Michigan could challenge OSU for the East division in 2015.  It's an insider article, but here are a few snippets:

The Wolverines ranked 25th among Power 5 teams in rush yards per game from November through the end of the season (186). Michigan also finished seventh in percentage of rushing plays that gained 10 or more yards in that time frame (7.8 percent). Some of that was due to facing Indiana and Maryland, but Michigan also racked up 14 rushes of 5 or more yards in its game against Ohio State. That total ranked as tied for the second-most rushes of 5 or more yards that the Buckeyes allowed against a Big Ten team last season.

wide receiver Amara Darboh looks to be up to the task of taking over as the go-to pass-catcher. Darboh had some flashes of excellence last season, highlighted by a Week 10 performance that saw him lead the Big Ten in receptions during that week. The Wolverines also return four other players who caught at least 10 passes last season, so whoever ends up as quarterback will have plenty of experienced receivers.

Last season the Wolverines held five Power 5 teams to under 100 yards rushing in a game. To put this into perspective, there were only eight other Power 5 teams that equaled or surpassed this mark, and no team had more than six games of this caliber.

EDIT - Blockquote not working...bolded sections are quotes from the article.

The article also mentions Harbaugh's success on special teams, being only one of seven Power 5 teams to return all five OL starters, a relatively easy schedule, the collection of talent assembled by Hoke, and Durkin's reputation as a turnover-creator.  That said, it glosses over the big question mark at QB, asserting that Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone may both make a push to be the starter.

Comments

GoWings2008

February 9th, 2015 at 2:21 PM ^

and I will admit up front that the OL play improved last season, but consistency on the line is almost as important.  It will enable a good running game and help keep pressure off of an unproven young QB, no matter who that is.

maize-blue

February 9th, 2015 at 2:23 PM ^

I don't think it's too bold of a statement. UM should have better talent then 10 of their 12 opponents. If they can actually get wins against the teams with lesser rosters , instead of losing to the Rutgers and Marylands, then 10 wins is perfectly attainable.

michgoblue

February 9th, 2015 at 2:29 PM ^

I actually find this interesting, since one of the biggest criticisms of our prior coaching staff was player development.  While I do think that the prior staff needed to go (and even if they didn't, when you have a chance to bring in Harbaugh, you make a move), this is something of a defense on the development front. 

Watching last year, I do think that as a whole, the defense was solid over the season, and got better in some areas.  (Obviously, the secondary wasn't what we hoped, but some of that may have been on injuries, while part may also have been having Manning coach secondary when he had no experience there).  The OL and running game also improved as the season went on, despite losing Green. 

The one area in which there was zero imrpovement was QB and WR - fortunately, Harbaugh is something of a guru in this aspect of the game.  If the defense continues its progression, (and remember that despite a smaller role, GMatt is back), and Harbaugh / Drevno can get the offense in shape, we might be pretty good.

cadmus2166

February 9th, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

I won't be surprised if we can win 8 or even 9 games, but 10 seems like a stretch. If anyone can do it, Harbaugh can. But I won't be disappointed if we win 8 with an eye on truly challenging for the BIG title in 2016, either.

UMxWolverines

February 9th, 2015 at 2:54 PM ^

I think OSU and MSU will be the best teams in the East next year. Both will be preseason top ten. But if we beat one of the two I will be happy. If we beat both I won't know what to do with myself.

flashOverride

February 9th, 2015 at 3:13 PM ^

I can't decide whether to be bullish or not. With the exception of one position, Michigan will not be starting an inexperienced* player on offense or defense next year...it's just that the "one" happens to be the most important. Please find a way, O Quarterback Whisperer...

*Usual caveat applies in event new guy beats out older guy for starting spot. Don't see it happening this year, but I didn't see Mason Cole happening last year, either. Also, I know Jabrill Peppers isn't that experienced, but I consider that compensated for by virtue of being Jabrill Peppers.  

CoachBP6

February 9th, 2015 at 3:17 PM ^

I can absolutely see Michigan winning ten games. The roster has a lot more talent than people realize. Many fans are worried about the QB position, I am not. I believe a QB will separate himself from the pack, which will allow Michigan to be multi-dimensional. By the end of the season our wolverines are going to be a tough team to play. I worry about the beginning of the year with 3 tough non conference games. I hope the guys get the most out of these next 5.5 months, and are ready to rock come game day.

bronxblue

February 9th, 2015 at 3:23 PM ^

I'm a little more down on Darboh that Joyner, but this feels like an optimistic-but-very-realistic outcome for the team, provided the running game continues to mature.

The Dirty Nil

February 9th, 2015 at 3:24 PM ^

With at least competent QB play, it's not a stretch to think this team wins 10 games. State has recently proven that a QB that can just manage the game (along with a good run game) is enough to win 10 games.

alum96

February 9th, 2015 at 5:02 PM ^

I think their defense has been a *tad* bit helpful too the past half decade.  Even in 2012 when they went 7-6 that was due to Maxwell being just horrid.  UM's D needs work to catch up to MSU's system now.  And Harbaugh is without Vic Fangio who worked wonders in his Jim's last year at Stanford and all the years at 49ers.  While Harbaugh is vital we need Durkin to be a home run hire - or at least triple. 

I think we will be like MSU of late in that we will be run based in 2015 at least.  They are run based and protect the ball - some of the best turnover ratio in all of CFB because their defense creates it and their offense protects the ball.  And they punt well.  They've basically become Tressel North.  All of Harbaugh's offense comes off the run as the base but 2015 even more so.  Just reducing turnovers on offense and actually getting some (we were historically bad in 2014) should be a swing of 2 games.

Non conf is tricky though @Utah and BYU at home are both much more tricky than the fanbase will allow.  Hell Utah has our numbers right now the past decade. 

westwardwolverine

February 9th, 2015 at 3:26 PM ^

With at least thirteen games on the schedule (bowl game), I would be stunned in Michigan won less than ten games next year. The only way I see it not happening would be the QB situation ending up a total shitshow that costs us at least 3-4 games. 

Monkey House

February 9th, 2015 at 3:39 PM ^

10 wins or not, if this team looks competent and is progressing then I'll be happy. oh and as long as JH doesn't have to apologize for some dumb shit like a baby.

Hotel Putingrad

February 9th, 2015 at 4:10 PM ^

they will be undefeated going into The Game. their schedule is pure Charmin;, and they will have 2 weeks to prepare for Minnesota. and there's no way harbaugh is losing to State at night his first year. no way in hell.

gmgoblue1205

February 9th, 2015 at 7:00 PM ^

The QB is the key because it was one of many of our problems last season and i know Jim will fix the problem and the O-Line gel last season as well I see it continue. BUt im looking at 9 win game is fine but 10 win game is possible very possible.

uminks

February 9th, 2015 at 8:49 PM ^

From a raw talent perspective, this team is the 2nd most talented in the B1G. If Harbaugh can coach this team up I could see 10 wins with a big home win against MSU or OSU? Who knows, may be both! I would be happy to see the team improve through the season and get at least 8 wins. I think we will be on the right track for once!

B-Nut-GoBlue

February 9th, 2015 at 9:35 PM ^

If Harbaugh can get a QB to find the Centers asshole with his knuckle...oh and play really well, 9 wins is more the realistic outlook.  If more poor QB play, we get 6-7.

caliblue

February 9th, 2015 at 11:38 PM ^

I would say the floor is 6-6 or 7-5 since coaching mistakes last year probably cost us a couple of games that it won't this year. A bowl game at 6-6 would be against a team we should be able to beat

Perkis-Size Me

February 9th, 2015 at 11:53 PM ^

The talent is certainly there. If you want to talk about pure, raw talent, Michigan is probably the 2nd most talented team in the conference. It's just had poor coaching over the past few seasons. Add in Harbaugh, and the potential is there.

But there HAS to be at least serviceable play at the QB position, if not good play. I think we'll get at least serviceable since Harbaugh is a QB whisperer, but there's a lot of unknowns right now. Will the O-Line get any better? Will someone emerge in the receiving corps? Will any tight ends outside of Butt emerge? Will any of the running backs live up to their billing? And let's not forget about the pass rush, too, which has been almost non-existent since Brandon Graham was in school.

I think Harbaugh will get Michigan on track, but there may be too many holes to fix for him to get us there in one year.

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