3 Reasons Michigan Football Can Join School's Other Sports Atop Rankings

Lee Schechter@@leeschechterContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2013

3 Reasons Michigan Football Can Join School's Other Sports Atop Rankings

0 of 3

    Currently, the University of Michigan has two No. 1 ranked teams in the country, men's basketball and men's swimming and diving.

    Michigan consistently maintains a strong national presence in men's swimming and diving, but the rise to number one in men's basketball really has Ann Arbor abuzz.

    The Wolverines have not held a No. 1 ranking in basketball since the days of the Fab Five back in 1992.  

    On top of basketball and swimming and diving, Michigan has the No. 3 ranking in both men's and women's gymnastics.  The Wolverines continue to be powerhouses in gymnastics each year.  

    Even with all of these elite teams sitting atop the rankings of their respective sports, Michigan is still not satisfied.

    The Wolverines have been and always will be considered a football school.

    Michigan is working its way back to national prominence in football and here are three reasons the Wolverines can join the school's other sports atop the rankings.   

1. Recruiting

1 of 3

    Head coach Brady Hoke and the Michigan football staff have put together one of the best recruiting classes in recent history.  

    Scout.com ranks the Wolverines as the No. 1 recruiting class in college football.  

    Michigan has not seen this high of a ranking since they were No. 2 overall back in 2005 during the Lloyd Carr era.  

    Hoke and the Michigan staff have made it their mission to bring Michigan football back to its winning ways.

    The Wolverines have the winningest program in NCAA history.  They have amassed 903 wins in the football program's rich 133-year existence.  

    Hoke is making the push to bring Michigan back to its power football roots by instituting a North-South run game, an iconic and stout Big Ten defense and recruiting football savvy players with the talents of Wolverines past.  

    Last year, Michigan was the fourth-ranked recruiting class on Scout.com and now they are No. 1.  With back-to-back recruiting classes of such an elite caliber, Michigan is on the rise back to its dominating ways.  

    This year's class is highlighted by five-star running back Derrick Green, who is already receiving a lot of hype.  He embodies the workhorse style of running that Michigan built itself on all the way up until Lloyd Carr stepped down.

    Michigan has also hauled in a pure pocket-passer quarterback in Shane Morris, a burly fullback and power rusher in Wyatt Shallman and an athletic lineman who has the potential of other great Michigan lineman in Patrick Kugler.  

    This recruiting class has the feel of the Michigan teams of the past and that is just highlighting some of the players on the offensive side of the ball.  

    The Wolverines pack in eleven defensive recruits including one five-star and seven four-star recruits.  The defensive class is headlined by five-star safety Dymonte Thomas, and cornerback Jourdan Lewis.  

    The talk about Michigan's 2013 recruiting class can go on and on.  

    While recruits take time to develop and show their success on the field, Hoke's two big recruiting class have the potential to take Michigan to a No. 1 ranking.  

    Two years from now, and with the recruits continuing to pile in and wear the famed winged helmet, the Wolverines football team will be a complete powerhouse.  

    Look out for Michigan football as soon as 2014 to hold a No. 1 ranking thanks to the power of solid recruiting.  

2. Greg Mattison

2 of 3

    Defense wins championships.

    The saying has been around for years, but it is the truth.  

    Alabama has been the elite team of the last four years due to its always stingy defense.  

    SEC teams have won the last seven BCS National Championships largely due in part to the SEC's reputation of having the best defenses. 

    But, Michigan has defensive guru Greg Mattison.  

    Mattison has quite the storied career.  

    He was a part of Michigan's great defenses of the 1990s as the team's defensive line coach and defensive coordinator.  Then he went on to win a national championship with Urban Meyer's Florida Gators.  

    Mattison pressed his luck and coached the Baltimore Ravens fearsome defense up until his return back to the Maize and Blue sidelines.  

    If there is anything to learn about Mattison, it is that he builds top-rated defenses and wins.  

    There is no better defensive coordinator in college football.  

    Look at what Mattison has done since arriving back at the University of Michigan with Hoke in 2011.

    According to MGOBLUE.com, the official site of Michigan Athletics: 

    It did not take long for Mattison to make his mark on the Michigan defense. In his first season back in Ann Arbor, Mattison's defense helped the Wolverines to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl victory. Mattison was a Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year finalist for leading a U-M defense that ranked second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation in scoring defense (17.4 points per game). The Wolverines also led the Big Ten in fourth-down conversion percentage (38.1 percent), red zone defense (68.3 percent scoring efficiency), turnovers forced (29) and fumbles recovered (20), while ranking third in rushing defense (131.7 yards per game), third in third-down conversion percentage (36.4 percent) and fourth in total yards (322.2 ypg).

    Mattison gets the job done and those are with former coach Rich Rodriguez's players.  

    Now Mattison is pulling in his own defensive recruits with the talent and football intellect that can turn into one of the best defenses in college football.

    Mattison is a defensive mastermind.  

    The Wolverines have Mattison.

     Defense wins championships.  

    Championships mean No. 1 rankings.

    With Mattison running the defense, the Wolverines will reach a No. 1 ranking.   

3. "This Is Michigan for God's Sake"

3 of 3

    When Brady Hoke accepted the job at Michigan, he gave a memorable press conference that reminded all of the Wolverines' fans how special Michigan is. 

    Hoke said, "This is Michigan, for God's Sake,"

    The phrase has found its way into everyday use around the Michigan campus, but it mainly speaks for Michigan football.

    The Wolverines still have the country's largest football stadium, Michigan Stadium, rightfully nicknamed the "Big House".  Every game has over 100,000 fans, a streak that is announced at every home game and has now reached 238 straight games.

    The Big House packs in some of college football's best fans who have the passion to drive their team to number one.

    On top of having the stadium and fans, Michigan has the prestigious history that everyone around Ann Arbor yearns to repeat.  

    Michigan has not won a national championship since 1997, the same year as its last Heisman trophy winner, Charles Woodson.  

    Everyone in the Wolverines football program wants to repeat those results of 1997 and years past.  No one will stop until the goal is achieved, especially Coach Hoke.  

    Hoke was Michigan's defensive line coach during the Wolverines' great teams of the 1990s and wants nothing more than to recapture Michigan's glory.

    The staff, fans and atmosphere will drive the Wolverines to a No. 1 ranking with their passion and commitment to success.  

    After all, "This is Michigan, for God's Sake."