Michigan Winning the National Title Isn't That Outrageous - Well, like, not unless you look at the depth issues, then it is totally laughable.
By the way, the average preseason rank of the eventual national champion in the BCS championship era is 7.4. Five national champions since 1998 were ranked lower than Michigan this year: Tennessee in 1998 (10th), Oklahoma in 2000 (19th), Ohio State in 2002 (13th), LSU in 2003 (14th), and Auburn in 2010 (22nd). Florida in 2006 was ranked one spot higher than Michigan this year.
Jason Lisk makes an interesting point, and it speaks to the unpredictability of college football: it isn't about being the best team, its about having the best season.
If everything goes right for Michigan, the offensive line stays healthy, Fitz Toussaint gets reinstated, the defensive line plays out in a "best case scenario" sort of way, and the Wolverines catch a few breaks in the five toughest games, it isn't impossible that Michigan makes a march to the BCS title game. However, with the amount of things that have to go really, really right, its still just too hard to say with any confidence that Michigan will do it.
That's the pessimistic angle (the one that makes more sense in my brain) though. The other side of the coin is Denard, Heisman Contender. While I think that's possible, he's going to need to show significant mprovement over last year while playing a more difficult schedule (don't undersell this as a potential explanation for a lack of improvement from Denard). I've never seen a quarterback go from Year 1 to Year 2 under Borges/Hoke, so I'm not really sure what to expect. Early camp reports say Denard is playing extremely well, but camp reports are camp reports. Can Denard surpass his numbers from last year? Yes, but he won't come close to his breakout 2010 season, the kind of numbers he would need really lock down the Heisman.
That is the best case scenario.
2012 Recruiting: Devin Funchess - One freshman recruit that hasn't gotten as much positive publicity this off season is Funchess, but as Brian outlines in his intro post, Funchess has a lot of potential, and could make his mark early because of Michigan's lack of big receivers.
Struggling Michigan punter Will Hagerup attributes problems to 4-game suspension - Hagerup searches for that lost mojo.
Hagerup, asked that very question, says it starts with that four-game suspension to begin last season. "Missing the first four games was very disappointing for me," said Hagerup, who also was suspended for one game as a freshman. "I never could really get that consistency going. Never had that one game where I really got back into things. And I think that’s what's big in the nonconference games, is to get your step back a little bit. "Missing that, for me, turned out to be a bigger deal than I thought it would be."
The Pac-12 Networks: Broadcasting To You Live From The Future - Spencer Hall on the Pac-12 Network's launch.
The Pac-12 Networks is his 15th network launch. He sits at the broadcast board bouncing the signal around for us like an excited geek. The signal can come from the schools in the form of content piped up from Pullman, from Boulder, from Tempe, just waiting for them in the form of practice reports, raw video, and whatever else the schools want to make. It can bounce out to cable partners in the form of seven different networks, each tweaked to conform to regional content demands, each with its own ad partners selling hyperlocal advertising on those seven networks. It can go live with ease; it can live-edit those live programs into easily digestible hour-long recaps on the fly, and the repost as soon as the live event is over.* They can then make this available online immediately. The only real limitations are the speed of the human hands cutting up the footage and the limits of fiber-optic technology.
An oral history of how the Pac-12 launched seven networks in under a year - More on the Pac-12 Network. Much more.