Michigan Football: Can Wolverines Handle Utah Utes?

James BowlbyCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2008

September 1, 2007 will forever live in infamy. On that sunny day, 109,218 fans in Ann Arbor, Michigan were sent into a frenzy with one second left on the clock when senior Chad Henne connected with junior Mario Manningham for a 47-yard reception, putting the Wolverines just 37 yards away from dodging the biggest upset in football history. 

But in that one second, the unthinkable happened. As the final score was broadcast across the country, fans were stunned that David had actually beaten Goliath.  Corey Lynch blocked what would have been a game-winning field goal and Appalachian State became the only Division 1-AA team to beat a top 25 Division 1-A team. 

On August 30, 2008, another upset could be in the making when the Utah Utes travel to Ann Arbor to face the new-look Wolverines. The Wolverines have a new coach, a new offense, and a totally new team.

It is going to take a while for the Michigan offense to gel, and the loss of Terrelle Pryor to the rival Buckeyes won't help. However, the offense is not the only reason the Utes have a good chance of beating the Maize and Blue.

The Michigan defense may need to reload, particularly in the secondary. The Wolverines return four starters to their defensive line, which is the strongest part of the team.

But the Utes run a spread offense, much like Appalachian State. The Michigan secondary will have two new starters at the safety positions next year. 

The question surrounding this game is whether or not the defense will be able to step up against the Utes and give this offense a chance to win this game. The answer is no. 

The Utes return a majority of starters from one of the nation's top defenses of last year, as well as a fine offense. Nobody expects the Wolverines to compete in the Big Ten, and for good reason. Don't be surprised if the Wolverines fail to win their first game in the 2008 campaign.