Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine is recognized as one of the most accurate and thorough publications year in and year out for the past quarter of a century.
Michigan fans will be highly interested in Steele’s hot takes this year, as he is quite high on Jim Harbaugh’s bunch.
Steele believes Michigan will have an undefeated regular season, win the Big Ten Championship, and head to the College Football Playoff and square off against Alabama.
Maize n Brew was able to catch up with Phil and went in depth about what he thinks of the 2019 Michigan Wolverines.
Why Michigan will make the College Football Playoff
“Plenty of talent to work with, my No. 13 defensive line, No. 10 set of linebackers, No. 4 DB’s. Don Brown’s still the DC, they’re gonna have a top-ten defense. Offensively, I really like the switch to the spread. Josh Gattis coming over from Alabama and bringing in the spread offense I think is the perfect fit for Shea Patterson. Shea Patterson is a quarterback that’s mobile, can throw on the run well, really gonna adapt well to this new offense. He’s got a veteran offensive line he’s working behind. He’s got some very dangerous receivers, there’s Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, all loaded in that respect, the offense is gonna be stronger. Special teams I rate No. 7 in the country, so it’s gonna be a complete team.”
Michigan and Ohio State in 2018/Who will win in 2019
“When you look at the body of work last year, I understand Ohio State beat Michigan in the final game and beat ‘em badly on the scoreboard. But if you look at the body of work throughout the season, I thought Michigan was the more impressive team than Ohio State last year. Ohio State had a lot of games where they played with fits and spurts, barely got past weak opponents, got blown out by Purdue. Meanwhile, Michigan was dominant on a week in, week out basis and I think we’ll see that dominant type Michigan team more often this year, especially in the big games, especially on those big games at home. Remember Notre Dame and Ohio State were on the road last year, and to add it all up I’ve got Michigan favored in every single game.”
How Ohio State’s offense is going to look
“It’s gonna be a completely different Ohio State offense. Under Urban Meyer, Ohio State didn’t have back to back rush games under 200 yards I believe in his tenure, and last year there was a streak of six in a row. Eight games last year they had 154 or less yards per game rushed. But Dwayne Haskins was throwing the ball all over the yard, he had nearly 5,000 yards passing, he had 50 touchdown passes. Well, their new quarterback Justin Fields is more of the running quarterback, we’re gonna see more running out of the Ohio State offense. We’re going to see less passing, we’re not going to see 50 touchdown passes, we’re not going to see 4,831 yards. Different Ohio State offense this year than they had last year and I think that helps Michigan out.”
Michigan’s schedule difficulty
“Playing in the Big Ten East you already have to play Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State every year, I think Indiana is upgraded into a bowl caliber team. Wisconsin and Iowa, a couple big time teams, and then Notre Dame and Army in the non-conference sleight, it is a pretty rugged schedule for Michigan but it’s one that sets up well because I think probably the three toughest opponents are Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State, and the good news for Michigan is they get all three of those teams at home and Jim Harbaugh is 24-4 at home.”
QB depth and scheme
“I love to see this opened up, see him (Patterson) more on the run throwing the football and taking off and running the football more. And I think Michigan can afford to do that this year because I like the backups Dylan McCaffrey, Joe Milton, Cade McNamara, I think all three are capable backup quarterbacks. So should Patterson being running alive and get injured and be out for a little bit of time, I don’t think Michigan misses too much of a beat as they have some capable backups.”
On Dylan McCaffrey
“I feel he’s got the best running ability of the quarterbacks and I’ve been impressed with his throwing ability as well. He’s got all the things you need to be a quarterback, especially with this offense.”
On Ben Mason being rated his No. 1 Fullback
“Ben Mason is one of them old time football players, and that’s what you want as a fullback. You look at the size he’s got, he’s played on the defensive line, I like that factor, and he’s gonna play a little bit there as well. I think if you’re an NFL scout and you’re looking at Ben Mason. he’s your tough, hard nosed guy you wanna bring in there.”
A big thanks to Phil for taking the time to chat with us. If you want to buy his magazine, CLICK HERE.