Michigan Football: Questions Wolverines Must Answer Before Season

George AndersonAnalyst IIAugust 14, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  The Michigan Wolverines celebrate as confetti falls after they won 23-20 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are riding a wave of excitement and anticipation going into the 2012-2013 season.

Michigan beat Ohio State in Ann Arbor 40-34 to end the regular season. 

The team won the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech in a 23-20 game that went into overtime.

Michigan had the No. 7 2012 recruiting class and the No. 3 2013 recruiting class, according to ESPN. 

If that's not enough, the first game of the season is against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. 

The Michigan team, ranked No. 8 in ESPN's power rankings will look to win its first National Championship since 1997, but there are a few questions Michigan needs to answer first.

The first question has to be this: Is Denard Robinson capable of winning a championship?

Against Virginia Tech, Robinson went 9-for-21 with 117 yards passing and only rushed for 13 yards. 

If Robinson can only muster 117 yards against Virginia Tech, then how is he supposed to succeed against an Alabama defense that is arguably the best in the nation?

He may want to consider short throws in order to move the chains and protect himself from being washed up in the Crimson Tide defense. He will also need to look to pass more, as his natural desire to run will only get Michigan into more trouble more quickly.

He rushed for over 1,100 yards last year, but he has little bulk to him, and if Michigan ever wants to defeat a team like Alabama, he will need to pass the ball.

The second question is: Who will replace Junior Hemingway as the go-to wide receiver?

Hemingway did not have a particularly good season, as he only caught 34 passes for 699 yards and four touchdowns.

Then the Sugar Bowl arrived, and he became the MVP of the game. In the Sugar Bowl, Hemingway had 63 yards and two touchdowns.

Now Hemingway is a Kansas City Chief, so someone will need make it known that he is the main guy.

Will it be the extremely agile Jeremy Gallon, or will it be someone with size like Roy Roundtree?

Michigan may be built around the running game, but it will need standout receivers if it wants to win a championship.

Lastly, can the defense hold its own?

Michigan’s defense was destroyed in the Sugar Bowl. Luckily, it was able to hold the Virginia Tech offense to mostly field goals, or else the game would have been a blowout.

What was particularly frightening was the rush defense. It allowed 163 yards on the ground. In a conference that features Wisconsin running back Montee Ball Jr., there is little hope of winning if the defense does not hold against the run.

Wisconsin will be a contender once again this year—the defense better be ready.

Michigan should be excited about what the football team can accomplish this year, but if the offense, especially, does not take the next step, then neither will the Wolverines.