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Realistic expectations for Sherrone Moore and the Michigan Wolverines in 2024

It’s going to be a heck of a first season for Moore at head coach.

Michigan v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images
Daniel Plocher Dan Plocher contributes to Maize n’ Brew in several areas including podcasts, game previews/recaps, and various YouTube videos.

Sherrone Moore has been head coach of the Michigan Wolverines for all but a week now, but we can already start to see the direction this program is attempting to head in. His main goal is to keep as much intact as possible coming off the national championship.

In terms of the coaching staff, strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert is off to Los Angeles to join Jim Harbaugh. It’s also been reported that defensive coordinator Jesse Minter will be following suit, but no official word has been given yet.

On the bright side, it sounds like Grant Newsome, a rising star in the profession, will be staying in Ann Arbor to coach the offensive line. Moore was also swift to replace Herbert by promoting Justin Tress to the role. Only one player has entered the transfer portal since Harbaugh left the program, Reece Atteberry on Tuesday, and it has yet to create massive problems in recruiting compared to what other teams have gone through with a major head coach leaving.

To this point, I think Moore has done about as good as you can so far considering the circumstances he has been dealt. Clearly, the Wolverines will have a target on their back in 2024 coming off a third straight Big Ten championship, a third win over Ohio State in as many years, and winning the National Championship.

On top of that, the Wolverines have what appears to be one of the most difficult schedules in college football in 2024. Here are some of the highlights.

  • vs. Texas in Week 2
  • vs. USC in Week 4 (first Big Ten game of season)
  • at Washington in Week 6 (first road game and national title rematch)
  • vs. Michigan State in Week 9
  • vs. Oregon in Week 10
  • at Ohio State in Week 14

They play four teams that finished inside the top-12 teams in college football after bowl season, and several of them will likely be highly ranked coming into 2024, and there is a chance Texas and Ohio State are ranked inside the top-three.

We also know the massive roster restructure that will be happening this offseason, too. The offense in particular has been gutted, losing their starting quarterback, running back, top-two leading receivers and the entire starting offensive line. The quarterback position will be one of the most talked about battles of the offseason with Alex Orji and true freshman Jadyn Davis expected to compete, but maybe Jayden Denegal or Davis Warren can throw their names into the conversation.

Thankfully, there are some studs on the defensive side of the ball coming back. Who will be leading them from a coaching perspective is a massive question mark, but there will be experienced leaders in the locker room who should be capable of providing a top-ranked unit again.

What does this mean for Moore? Well, the team should be good enough on defense to stop most Big Ten teams from moving the ball. If they can SMASH on the offensive side with Donovan Edwards and a unit full of backups from 2023, they should easily be in the top half of the conference next season.

However, I do not think it is fair to expect a College Football Playoff appearance or even a Big Ten championship in 2024. The only bright side of that game against Texas is it’s in Ann Arbor. In conference play, Dan Lanning and Oregon are building something special in Eugene and that should be a hell of a game in early November. Then, of course, Ryan Day and the Buckeyes have been adding just about every top transfer they wanted and might have one of the best teams in college football.

So, what do I expect from Sherrone Moore and the Wolverines in 2024? At least a 9-3 season with two wins over the three Pac-12 newcomers on their schedule, a win over Michigan State, and a tight game against Ohio State in Columbus (which I believe will end in a loss). By the end of the season, the Wolverines should have their offensive identity figured out and a sure-fire decision at quarterback moving forward.

They will have also competed for a Big Ten Championship spot up until that loss to the Buckeyes, which would also mean they should be on the cusp of a top-12 seed for the new-look College Football Playoff.

I’m sure some may say this is an extremely optimistic look, while others may think I’m crazy for saying the Wolverines could lose three games after the season we just witnessed. But if Michigan is in contention for that 12th spot in the first year under Moore with all the changes the program is going through, it should be a great indicator of what this team can do without Harbaugh.