College football analyst Phil Steele is known for his college football preview magazine and all the info and predictions crammed into it — and this year he isn’t high on Michigan.
Steele ranks Michigan at No. 60, which is below the likes of Ball State at No. 51, Week 1 opponent Western Michigan at No. 56, and Hawaii at No. 57.
Granted, Michigan went 2-4 a year ago and have plenty of question marks heading into the fall season — but there’s more than a good chance that Michigan would beat Ball State, Western Michigan, and Hawaii in convincing fashion.
“Now, when I rank Michigan No. 60 in the front of the magazine, that’s based on where I think they’re gonna finish record-wise this year,” Steele explained on the radio. “I think Michigan’s ceiling is probably something like 9-3, their basement is 5-7. I’m probably looking at 7-5, 6-6 this year, which is worthy of about the No. 60 ranking. If you go to my power poll ranking in the magazine, I do rate them the 40th-most talented team in the country.
“It’s just they play a very tough schedule. They’ve got Washington in Week 2. They have to play at Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Northwestern’s not an easy game. They have to play Indiana at home, at Penn State and Ohio State. Very tough schedule this year. So if you look at the magazine, I have 87% of the teams that I rank in the front, the top 60, make it to a bowl game. All those teams are gonna make it to a bowl game, so I rank them by record, because if you take a team like Western Michigan and they go 9-3 or 10-2 this year, at the end of the year they’re gonna be ranked higher than a Michigan team that’s 6-6 or 7-5.”
When it comes to former Michigan QB Joe Milton, Steele listed Milton as the starting QB in the depth chart portion of his Tennessee preview. Milton will be battling it out against Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker. The bottom line is Milton needs to process the game faster, recognize coverages better, and throw a more accurate football. Milton was far from a finished product last season, maybe a change of scenery will do him wonders, but there are major deficiencies to his game that must be corrected if he’s to become Tennessee’s starter and have success at the quarterback position.
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