MnB B1G Preview 2013: Re-(S)hashing Michigan's Schedule

Leon Halip

Building on the MnB roundtable and Shash's beer pairings and season prediction, I've been tasked with taking a final look at the most important schedule of them all.

Let's run down this tunnel...

8/31 Central Michigan & 9/14 Akron: I covered these two teams in last week's non-con post. I don't see any way that either of these teams can win against Michigan. That being said, Central is the one that could be more competitive and actually bring a little fight to the game...for a while. Michigan will win big over Akron.

9/7 Notre Dame: will Tommy Rees be able to bring the same game he had UTL a couple years ago? That's uncertain. Is Brian Kelly going to have a meltdown on the sidelines? Absotivolutely. Rees won't have some of the weapons that he had UTL, but they should be talented enough on offense to remain competitive. The D should still be pretty good, too. I'm a bit bi-polar on this one; I just can't make up my mind from one minute to the next as to who I think will win, so I'll take the cheap way out and say it's a toss-up. It's a damn shame that these games are going away. You can check out Notre Dame's schedule rundown here.

9/21 @ UConn: the Huskies' defense is very, very good and will keep them in some games, but their offense is downright awful...terrible...I'd rather sit through 1997's Batman & Robin than be forced to watch an offensive series from UConn. Yet, there are people who are "excited" to have the season begin. The UConn schedule rundown is here.

10/5 Minnesota: my feelings on the Gophers are out there for the world to see. The consensus is that Minnesota is a team on the rise. Philip Nelson, lovingly referred to as Mankato Jesus, should make some huge strides in 2013 and could potentially be one of the best QBs in the league. He'll need receivers like Derrick Engel and Isaac Fruechte to make a big jump from their positive performances last year and become breakout players. The Gophers will have a fairly solid secondary...and then there's Ra'Shede Hageman. Watch out for him; he's going to be at the very top of the list for defensive players in the B1G. Golden Gophers schedule rundown.

10/12 @ Penn State: this could be a match-up that trips up the Wolverines. The Michigan defense should be good enough to shake up the starting PSU QB, but I won't be surprised at all if Michigan were to lose this game. This one is similar to the Notre Dame game; I just can't decide for sure who will win. However, I think Michigan has to lose somewhere on the road, and there's a decent chance that Devin Gardner will struggle in Happy Valley. This game will be more about his performance than about Penn State matching up well against the Wolverines. Penn State's schedule rundown.

10/19 Indiana: so Indiana's improving, eh? Well, that is a fact; Indiana may actually be able to get themselves off the cellar floor, along with Minnesota, but they'll need to find a defense in order to facilitate a positive move. With their offensive weapons, they'll definitely be able to stay in games (consider last year's hang with Ohio State) that maybe would have been blow-outs in the past. The Hoosiers have a pretty tough three-game stretch during which they face Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan; that could be a confidence killer. If Indiana can beat even one of those teams in that stretch, it will be a huge step to gaining the legitimacy that many of us have been predicting. Indiana's schedule rundown.

11/2 @ Michigan State: there should be no doubt that Sparty's defense is going to be solid. They have an offense that is...questionable, and needs to get a ground game going if they want to stay at the top of the B1G. The positive and negative thing about State's schedule is that they don't play Wisconsin. It's a positive for the Spartans, even though the Badgers have a new head coach, because Bucky will be just fine during Gary Andersen's first year. It's a negative just from a competition standpoint; these games have become very entertaining in recent years, and since I don't live in Ann Arbor, the next best place to feel the hate is here in Madison. Michigan State's schedule rundown.

11/9 Nebraska: Taylor Martinez is going to contribute to the embarrassment of riches at the QB position in the B1G. I could be wrong, but I think the league will have some of the best quarterback performances in the country in 2013. Martinez had a terrible game against Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2011, and I think he'll have the same sort of performance. Michigan was in the game in 2012 until Denard's elbow exploded. The Wolverines can match up well against the Huskers, so although Nebraska will be a good team in '13, they'll lose at the Big House. Nebraska's schedule rundown.

11/16 @ Northwestern: three words come to mind when I think of Northwestern. Scary, scary, and scary. I'm afraid of the Wildcats. Who wouldn't be? They're wild cats. That being said, I don't believe they'll beat the Wolverines. I like everything Fitzgerald is doing in Evanston, and it's kinda hard not to root for these guys. I also have to admit that I'm diggin' the unis they'll be wearing for the Cal game. Back to the football, though, and the fact that NW has a pretty good offense with some weapons that will threaten many defenses in the league. Big House Jack takes a look at their offense here. Like I said, scary. Northwestern schedule rundown.

11/23 Iowa: I'll admit it, I have no respect for Iowa. Some years have seen that disrespect warranted, and other years not so much. But, I still rarely have anything good to say about them. 2013 won't be that much different. They could be better than last year now that they'll be in their second year under OC Greg Davis. But, they are still Iowa, and AIRBHG could rear his ugly beautiful head again in 2012. Iowa's schedule rundown.

11/30 Ohio State: do I really need to say anything about this game? If you're reading this, you clearly understand the importance of the match-up and the hate between the two teams. So, I'm just going to make my prediction: Michigan by 3...and 109,901+ polluted britches. Ohio State's schedule rundown.

Conclusion: in our MnB roundtable, I predicted a regular season of 10-2. I think the Wolverines will lose to Michigan State OR Penn State, and at home to Notre Dame. The Wolverines will beat OSU to finish the regular season, but will lose to them in the B1G Championship, and will then face an SEC team in the Capital One Bowl. In my opinion, there are three teams the Wolverines could face: a rematch with South Carolina, Georgia, or the Mad Hatter himself.

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