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Michigan ranked 7th in Athlon’s way-too-early Top 25 for 2018 season

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The hype has already begun for Michigan in 2018

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Outback Bowl - Michigan v South Carolina Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan football’s 2017 season was pretty much what we expected it to be, minus the inconsistency on the O-Line, QB problems and...well, pretty much all the problems stemmed from the offense.

What I’m trying to get at is Michigan was much too hyped entering the 2017 season, ranked No. 11 in Week 1, as most of us knew it was going to be a year of learning for the young Wolverines. Now that it’s officially the offseason for Michigan, we have already begun seeing things like Athlon’s way-too-early top 25 for 2018.

Among those 25 teams is Michigan, which they have at No. 7 on their list.

“After a rebuilding year in 2017, the Wolverines are poised for a rebound back into the top 10 in 2018,” author Steven Lassan says in the article. “In order for Jim Harbaugh’s team to win the conference title, the offense needs to find stability under center. Brandon Peters struggled in the bowl loss to South Carolina, and he will be pushed by Dylan McCaffrey after a redshirt year and Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson (if granted immediate eligibility).”

None of that opening statement is false. It’s actually pretty spot on, to be honest. Let’s see what else Lassan has to say.

“The running back corps should be strong with the return of Karan Higdon, Chris Evans and Kareem Walker. And the receiving unit is in better shape than the 2017 version thanks to the return of Tarik Black from a season-ending injury. Black joins Grant Perry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Kekoa Crawford and tight end Sean McKeon as key contributors in the passing game. Outside of the quarterback spot, the offensive line is Harbaugh’s top concern, as left tackle Mason Cole and center Patrick Kugler expire their eligibility. Will this group take a step forward?”

Lassan is right again; the offensive line is going to be a huge key for Michigan’s offensive success — or failures — in 2018, much like it was in 2017. At this point, you probably wonder why he has them so high at No. 7, right?

“Don Brown’s defense should rank among the best in the nation once again. This unit is slated to return nearly intact, but tackle Maurice Hurst and linebacker Mike McCray depart to the NFL. Linebacker Devin Bush and end Rashan Gary should push for All-American honors, with Khaleke Hudson (LB) and cornerback Lavert Hill returning as key contributors.”

Ahh, yes, the defense is going to be loaded. Very true, but is that enough to have Michigan ranked at No. 7? I don’t believe so. The offense has so many questions that need to be answered at the most important positions. I think No. 7 is too high for Michigan as of now.

What do you think, Michigan fans? Is it fair to rank Michigan ahead of other Big Ten teams like Wisconsin (8), MSU (10), and Penn State (11)? Is it even fair to have the Wolverines in the top 10? Leave your answer in the comments.