Michigan Football: Predicting the Biggest Games on the 2012 Schedule
The Michigan Wolverines are prepared for another successful season, but they will have a few important tests during the 2012 schedule.
Brady Hoke led the team to a 11-2 overall record and an overtime victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
The team is ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. The Wolverines will look to equal and surpass their accomplishments from a season ago behind electrifying quarterback Denard Robinson.
Here are the biggest games of the year for Michigan and predicted results for each contest.
vs. Alabama, Saturday, September 1, 8 p.m. ET
Teams often choose to open their season against a weak opponent, but Brady Hoke and the Michigan brass decided instead to start the year against the defending national champions.
This will be an epic battle to the start Michigan’s 2012 campaign, as Alabama does not appear to have regressed much and was ranked second in the preseason poll.
Denard Robinson will need to prove himself quickly against the Crimson Tide’s terrifying defense. His Heisman hopes could take an early hit if he does not produce in this game.
The bold move to open against Alabama will not pay off in the form of a victory, but the Wolverines will keep the game close and gain a considerable amount of confidence by proving to themselves that they can compete with any team in the country.
Prediction: Alabama 20, Michigan 17
vs. Michigan State, Saturday, October 20, Time TBD
How many games will Michigan win this season?
Brady Hoke won the Coach of the Year in the 2011, but Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio won it the previous year and has led the Spartans to consecutive 11-win seasons.
The Wolverines certainly have the more storied football programs, but when these two rivals take the field, history will mean nothing. Kirk Cousins will not be back for Michigan State, but the team will return four All Big-Ten defensive starters.
The Spartans are ranked No. 13 in the preseason poll, but the Wolverines will not let them march into The Big House and win this game.
At this point in the season, Robinson will be building his Heisman résumé, and Taylor Lewan will have cleared enough holes for him to be considered one of the top tackles in the nation. The offense will lead the way as the Wolverines avenge one of their two losses from a season ago.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Michigan State 17
at Ohio State, Saturday, November 24, 12 p.m. ET
Sticking with tradition, the Wolverines will end the regular season against archrival Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are not ranked in the preseason poll after a tumultuous 6-7 season under interim head coach Luke Fickell. But Urban Meyer is at the helm now, and he is more than capable of turning the team around.
Still, Michigan is a significantly more talented team than Ohio State, and given the fierce rivalry, the Wolverines will not hesitate to kick the Buckeyes while they are down.
Michigan will make a statement in this final game in order to make a final push for a spot in a BCS Bowl.
Prediction: Michigan 38, Ohio State 24
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