I know it's July, but it's never too early to look to football season. Only about a month and a half till game time, so let's preview the first four games, all in the BIG HOUSE!
Week One vs. Western Michigan
Sept. 5, 2009
3:30 pm on ABC
This game officially kicks off the '09 season and is vs. Western Michigan. Offensively the Broncos return seven starters from last season, including QB Tim Hiller, who has a chance to break all WMU passing records.
The entire offensive line returns, as well as RBs Brandon West and Aaron Winchester. But they lose all their receivers. Defensively they only return four starters.
Michigan returns 10 starters on offense and five on defense.
On offense it all starts with the QB, and Tate Forcier should be the man. No doubt he will have the explosive backfield of Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, and Vincent Smith to help him out.
Also, the entire offensive line returns, as well as all receivers, including Greg Mathews, Martavious Odoms, Junior Hemingway, and many more. So, this being the first game, I think the offense will struggle early, but later in the game they will be comfortable.
I look for the defense to dominate up front, led by Brandon Graham. I'm thinking 42-14 as Michigan snaps the two-year home opener losing streak.
Michigan Record 1-0
Week Two vs. Notre Dame
Sept. 12, 2009
3:30 on ABC
The second game of the season will be much tougher than the first, as ND comes to town riding off last year's victory. Offensively ND returns QB Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate.
On defense they return a few starters from last year. For Michigan this will be the second game for Forcier, and so he should be set two go along with Minor.
Expect Michigan to run the ball in this game early to try to open up the play action pass. I expect this to be a battle, and in the end I have Minor leading the team to victory in a hard-fought battle.
Michigan 35-31 over ND.
Week Three vs. Eastern Michigan
Sept. 19, 2009
12 pm on BTN
Third game for Michigan, and this is a matchup nightmare for Eastern Michigan, as they return QB Andy Schmitt, but the right guard is a redshirt freshman. Expect Graham to have fun with him and have a HUGE game.
For Michigan offensively there shouldn't be a problem. The front four of Eastern is weak, so expect Minor, Brown, and Smith to lead the rushing attack. Over 300 yards rushing for Michigan in this game.
Michigan BLOWS OUT EASTERN 48-3
Week Four vs. Indiana: Big Ten Opener
Sept. 26, 2009
12pm on ABC
Fourth home game for Michigan before a tough two-week road stretch, and it's the Big ten opener, which Michigan has OWNED, having won 39 of the last 41 with a home record of 50-13-1.
As for Indiana offensively, they return a few starters, including RB Marcus Thigpen. With the departure of Kellen Lewis, look for Ben Chappell to be QB. They are also installing a new offense, the pistol. Expect Graham and company to keep them contained and make Chappell's day a nightmare.
Defensively the Hoosiers return a few guys, including Greg Middleton, the Big Ten's leader in sacks last year. If they can be contained, Michigan will be fine. Expect Forcier to have a good game along with his buddy Minor.
Michigan cruises 42-7 over Indiana in Big Ten opener.
Look for Part II on the outlook for final four home games for Michigan later this month!