For the second season in a row, Michigan predictably faltered down the stretch.
The Wolverines completed their 2010 season with embarrassing losses to Ohio State and Mississippi State.
Coach Rich Rodriguez was unceremoniously shown the door and Brady Hoke was brought in to resurrect the Michigan football program.
Offensively, Big Ten MVP Denard Robinson returns at quarterback, but you’ll see much less of the read-option look. Hoke and OC Al Borges will lean toward more power football, in hopes of limiting Robinson’s carries, and of course, his injuries.
Defensively, new DC Greg Mattison has junked the 3-3-5 for the more conventional 4-3.
Michigan completed its 2011 recruiting class with a flurry, and now all eyes will focus on spring practice.
That’s where the team will essentially be molded for the upcoming 2011 season. The schedule itself features the first night game ever played at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines will try to make it three straight over Notre Dame when the two teams collide September 10 at 8 p.m.
Michigan welcomes San Diego State to the Big House for the first time since 2004. Hoke, you recall, coached the Aztecs to a 9-4 record last season, including a victory over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Wolverines will face their own murderer’s row in the final four weeks. Michigan will travel to Illinois and Iowa before closing out the Big Ten season at home with conference newcomer Nebraska and arch rival Ohio State.
Let’s take a peek at the entire schedule, with an early look at favorites and underdogs.
The new Big Ten alignment follows:
LEGENDS: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern
LEADERS: Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Big Ten Championship Game: Dec. 3, 2011, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
The championship game determines the league’s representative in either the Rose Bowl Game or the BCS National Championship Game.