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Daily Brews: Michigan in top five in current SP+ preseason rankings

Michigan is in a good spot.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The closer we get to the start of the 2022-23 season, coupled with the dust starting to settle from major players out of the transfer portal, there is no better time than now to start rolling out preseason projections.

Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings are among the most looked at when it comes to projecting a team’s success. There are three factors that inform how these projections are made: returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. These power rankings are merely constructed from the most up to date information that has been gathered. So how did Michigan fare?

The Wolverines sit within the top five, earning the No. 4 spot. The reigning Big Ten champs are one of three teams from the Big Ten in the current projection’s top 10. While six Big Ten teams find themselves present in the top 25, its rival Ohio State that tops them all, coming in at No. 1.

Alabama took the No. 2 spot, followed by Georgia at No. 3, the Wolverines at No. 4 and Oklahoma to round out the top five. Six through 10 are Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Here’s where the six Big Ten teams sit in the top 25.

1. Ohio State

4. Michigan

10. Wisconsin

13. Penn State

16. Michigan State

21. Minnesota

It bodes well for the Wolverines the retention of talent they had along with a lower transfer portal ranking kept them within the top five, as the projections are made up primarily by last year’s rankings and adjustments from returning production. In other words, despite losing some heavy hitters this offseason, the talent that remains and the arrivals of freshmen and transfers keep Michigan as a contender for the upcoming season.

While the projections are merely, well, a projection for now, it’s nice to see the Big Ten represented so much, especially three times within the top 10.

Donovan Edwards on offseason goal and upcoming camp

JJ McCarthy was busy at work over the weekend, employing the help of some teammates to host the Mega Football Camp in Chicago. One such teammate being fellow sophomore running back Donovan Edwards, who is looking to break out this year. Hassan Haskins was drafted late by the Tennessee Titans, opening up an expanded role for Edwards.

There were flashes of this varying role utilization, with a trick play showing off his arm strength in the Big Ten Championship to lining up at wideout during the spring game. Edwards poses a threat from anywhere on the field and it’ll be fun to see what’s in store for him. So what’s been going on for him since the spring game?

He’ll be hosting a camp of his own May 28 at West Bloomfield High School. Edwards looks forward to sharing his knowledge with the kids while also engaging in memorable fun, sharing he looks forward to them “getting to experience something they haven’t experienced yet.”

He’s also been working on his offseason goal of bulking up for the upcoming season. “My goal this offseason was to put on some weight. I’m still working toward that goal but by the time the season comes around, I should be able to achieve that goal”, he shared. When asked about how he’s feeling going into the upcoming season, he shared his excitement saying, “Everything is fantastic. My mental is great. Body feels great. I’m just going to continue to use my motivation and drive into the season.”

Michigan and the NIL

In the ever flashy newness of the NIL, Michigan is showing how it’s in on the action for its student-athletes. University of Michigan Athletics has partnered with The Brandr Group, allowing all 29 varsity sports teams the opportunity to “profit off their name, image, and likeness using official university trademarks and logos.”

So what does that mean? Michigan’s student athletes will now have the opportunity to co-brand their own personal brands with Michigan’s own merchandising and sponsorship. So they are able to utilize Michigan’s trademarks, such as the Block M and Winged Helmet.

Yesterday saw quite the shift in Michigan’s relationship with the NIL. With the landscape ever evolving, it’s nice to see how the university will finally be involved and how it will directly impact its student-athletes.