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Where Michigan sits in the Way Too Early Top 25

Analysts are bullish about the Wolverines in 2023 — if Jim Harbaugh stays in Ann Arbor.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Fiesta Bowl Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the end of the 2022 season comes the beginning of the 2023 Way Too Early Top 25s. This season, the Michigan Wolverines are well-regarded, sitting in the top three of all six polls reviewed. However, all six also come with a strong caveat — whether or not Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the Wolverines come August.

Here’s how each poll sees the maize and blue:

ESPN - Mark Schlabach

Rank: 3

The Wolverines face a lot of uncertainty, as coach Jim Harbaugh has been connected to NFL openings in Denver and Indianapolis. For what it’s worth, Harbaugh released a statement last week in which he said he intends to coach the Wolverines in 2023. If Harbaugh leaves, Michigan will probably fall out of the top four. Depending on how many underclassmen return in 2023, Michigan could again be the team to beat in the Big Ten.

Top Five: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, Alabama

Pro Football Focus - Max Chadwick

Rank: 2

Michigan proved last season’s Big Ten championship and playoff berth weren’t flukes, repeating those feats in 2022. The Wolverines will return many key players from this year’s squad, including quarterback J.J McCarthy, running back Donovan Edwards and cornerback Will Johnson. The biggest returnee, though, is running back Blake Corum. While Corum’s return is massive for Michigan, it pales in comparison to head coach Jim Harbaugh’s looming decision.

Top Five: Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, USC

The Athletic - Stewart Mandel ($)

Rank: 2

It’s not certain Jim Harbaugh will be their head coach, but QB J.J. McCarthy and standout RBs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will all be back. Three Pac-12 starting offensive linemen have transferred in, as has Indiana TE AJ Barner. Linebacker Junior Colson, CB Will Johnson and S Mike Sainristil return. Coastal Carolina EDGE Josaiah Stewart was a big pickup, as was Nebraska LB Ernest Hausmann, a freshman starter.

Top Five: Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama

CBS Sports - Dennis Dodd

Rank: 2

Harbaugh holds the entire program in his sway. It wasn’t too long ago he had his salary slashed in half as the story was him being unable to beat Ohio State. That’s not the issue after a second consecutive CFP semifinal exit. Harbaugh & Co. have the roster to win it all in 2023.

Top Five: Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Washington

Sports Illustrated - Pat Forde

Rank: 2

This is subject to radical revision if Jim Harbaugh bolts to the NFL. But until Big Ten East rivals Ohio State and Penn State prove they can even come close to beating the Wolverines, they deserve to be the highest-rated team from that conference. The nonconference schedule is once again soft.

Top Five: Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Penn State, Washington

Yahoo Sports - Sam Cooper

Rank: 3

Jim Harbaugh’s latest dalliance with the NFL continues to loom, but from a roster perspective Michigan should be right back in contention for another Big Ten title next fall. The Wolverines have won the conference the last two seasons and return J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards on offense and have an emerging star at cornerback in Will Johnson. Michigan has also added several quality players in the transfer portal, including ex-Nebraska linebacker Ernest Hausmann, ex-Coastal Carolina pass rusher Josaiah Stewart and three potential starters on the offensive line.

Top Five: Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU