Michigan Football: 7 Reasons the Wolverines Are Favorites to Win the Big Ten
Michigan's season opener was abysmal. Alabama dominated Michigan on both sides of the ball en route to a 41-14 trouncing of the Wolverines.
Although this loss may have eliminated the Wolverines from national title contention, Michigan remains confident that it has the skill to win a Big Ten Conference that's full of parity.
Accounting for the majority of Michigan's offense week in and week out, Denard Robinson has the potential to rack up yards against any given opponent.
As the Wolverines' best rusher and quarterback, the Michigan offense lives and dies upon the success of Robinson. With newfound receiving threats and a motivated offensive line, Robinson is more than a handful for defenses to contain.
Newfound Receiving Threats
When the Wolverines lost Junior Hemingway after last season, Michigan supporters were doubtful that Denard Robinson would have enough weapons to foster an efficient passing game.
With the arrival of freshman tight end Devin Funchess, Robinson has acquired a much-needed asset in the middle of the field. Furthermore, converted quarterback Devin Gardner also has shown tremendous poise with his size and speed across the field.
Finally, Roy Roundtree—arguably the most reputable receiver coming into the year—remains lurking in the background and is destined for a breakout performance.
Brady Hoke brings the BCS experience necessary to succeed in a Big Ten Conference that's filled with depth. With traditional powerhouses such as Ohio State and Wisconsin showing signs of weakness early on, the Wolverines will seek to take advantage of an unusually weak Big Ten.
With games against currently undefeated Northwestern and a road trip to Nebraska looming on the schedule, Hoke will ensure his team comes ready to play for each and every remaining game.
Making the team as a walk-on, safety Jordan Kovacs has come a long way in the Michigan Football system.
Now, as a captain of the defense, Kovacs is the eyes and ears of the secondary, along with being the primary play-caller for the defense. He routinely has been among the top tacklers on the team, and expect this to continue as the Wolverines seek their first Big Ten title since 2004.
Last year, Michigan State dominated the Wolverines at the line of scrimmage. Containing Denard Robinson and even knocking him out of the game at times, the Wolverines were completely outmatched in East Lansing last fall.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Wolverines have played upwards of 12 freshmen thus far this season. Look for this number to increase, as Hoke has been pleasantly surprised with their play.
Leading the names is freshman tight end Devin Funchess, who has a pair of scores already this season and repeatedly has been a target down the field for Robinson.
By playing Ohio State and Notre Dame annually, Michigan upperclassmen know what it's like to play in a big game.
Last year's victories over the Irish and the Buckeyes not only guided the Wolverines to an 11-2 record but they also provided valuable big-game experience that will certainly carry over to this season.
With Michigan State, Ohio State and Nebraska still looming on the horizon, the Wolverines are confident that they will rise to the occasion in the remaining big games.
Size and Strength of the Offensive Line
Allowing just two sacks in the first three games, Michigan's pass defense has been stout in protecting Denard Robinson. While there is certainly room for improvement in its run-blocking, Michigan has the talent and size up front to pave the way for its array of talented backs.
Routinely ranking among the best in the Big Ten in rushing, look for the offensive line to lead the Wolverines to the Big Ten title game.
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