In part one of this series I broke down what were the biggest problems with the 2008 Michigan team and how they will be fixed. Now I will break down the schedule and each of the Wolverines' opponents in 2009.
Thankfully, the Wolverines play one of the easiest schedules in the nation next year with two-thirds of their games at home.
Michigan Wolverines 2009 Football Schedule
1. Western Michigan Broncos
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
3. Eastern Michigan Eagles
4. Indiana Hoosiers
5. @ Michigan State Spartans
6. @ Iowa Hawkeyes
8. Penn State Nittany Lions
9. @ Illinois Fighting Illini
10. Purdue Boilermakers
11. @ Wisconsin Badgers
12. Ohio State Buckeyes
Five of these, I believe, can be marked down for certain wins, while three I think we will certainly lose. The remaining three could go either way.
1. Western Michigan Broncos 09/05/09
The Broncos improved vastly from 2007 to 2008, going from a 5-7 record to a 9-3 record. The problem for the Broncos is they lose their starting QB and receivers and lose nearly all their starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Michigan has had its troubles in openers the past couple years, but Western Michigan should be having just as many with a new QB and many new starters on defense. Michigan takes this one easily.
my prediction: Michigan 28, Western Michigan 7
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 09/12/09
As bad as you think you it is in Michigan, it could be worse. You could be a Notre Dame fan and watching your team continue to underachieve.
The Irish pull in a top-five recruiting class every year yet only manage average and sub-par seasons. Unless Charlie Weis pulls a few tricks out of his hat during the offseason, the Irish don't look like they will be getting any better.
Notre Dame barely became bowl eligible in 2008 with close calls against San Diego St. and Navy. Notre Dame got its win in South Bend, so now it's Michigan's turn in Ann Arbor.
my prediction: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 14
3. Eastern Michigan Eagles 09/19/09
The Eagles posted a terrible 2008 campaign, and head coach Jeff Genyk got will be relieved of his duties after the season. Eastern Michigan should be having the same troubles Michigan had this year, which means the Wolverines should have no trouble rolling over the Eagles.
my prediction: Michigan 38, Eastern Michigan 0
4. Indiana Hoosiers 09/26/09
The Hoosiers were the only team worse than Michigan in the Big Ten this year. The Hoosiers lost to two MAC programs this year and had only two wins against FBS programs.
The Hoosiers will have improved a little next year but should still hang at the bottom of the Big Ten next year. The last time Michigan and Indiana faced off in football, the Hoosiers had negative rushing yardage and had yet to break the century mark in passing by halftime.
my prediction: Michigan 31, Indiana 7
5. At Michigan State Spartans 10/03/09
The Spartans were supposed to be one of the programs on the rise in the Big Ten this year, but weren't they also supposed to be on the rise in 2003, 2000, 1997, 1993, and 1988?
You can go all the way back to the 1950s and Michigan State was supposed to be a program on the rise. After 50 years, you would think that people would learn that MSU will never be a national power again.
And the Spartans firmly believe they will be back. Spartans fans sound like a broken record to me. I'm sorry, I'm not a believer that they will rise to power. Enjoy this year, Spartans fans, because it is the only one you are going to get.
RB Javon Ringer was the heart and soul of this team, and he'll be gone next year. The Spartans also won't have an established QB, and Wolverines fans know that without either an established running back or quarterback, you aren't going to be a threat.
Also, MSU will lose most of its offensive line and secondary, too. Dantonio had his year and that's all it's ever going to be—one year.
my prediction: Michigan 28, Michigan State 3
6. At Iowa Hawkeyes 10/10/09
Iowa appears to be another Big Ten program on the rise. The Hawkeyes went 8-4 this year with their largest loss coming by five points. They also managed to knock off No. 3 Penn State, diminishing the Nittany Lions' national championship hopes with a last-second field goal.
The Hawkeyes will be a force to be reckoned with in 2009. They return 14 of their 22 starters, including consensus All-American running back Shonn Greene. This will be the Wolverines' first loss.
my prediction: Michigan 10, Iowa 24
7. TBA 10/17/09
Hasn't been determined who we are going to play this week. Might be a bye week, but we would be under 12 games, and I'm sure Rodriguez wants to play all the games he can to make sure he can get the six wins to be bowl eligible.
Anybody for a rematch against Toledo or App. St.?
8. Penn State Nittany Lions 10/24/09
Michigan's winning streak against Penn State was shattered last year, and I don't believe it is going to be back next year. The Nittany Lions were senior-laden this year with 16 starting.
Next year, the Nittany Lions will most likely return only four starters. The 16 seniors will be leaving, and juniors Aaron Maybin and Navorro Bowman will probably declare for the draft.
As bad as that may sound for them, they will have 12 seniors starting and the rest juniors. The Nittany Lions will again be a national championship contender and should beat the Wolverines.
my prediction: Michigan 21, Penn State 35
9. At Illinois Fighting Illini 10/31/09
A Halloween matchup, my favorite. Juice Williams silenced the Big House this year when he set the record for total yardage by a player there. Sadly for the Fighting Illini, the Juice seems to be going sour.
Illinois went from the Rose Bowl to not even being eligible for a bowl. Illinois went 5-7 in 2008, with wins against Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana. Illinois will be losing star linebacker Brit Miller and possibly Juice Williams to the draft.
Illinois, like Michigan State, was a one-year wonder and will again fall to the bottom of the Big Ten.
my prediction: Michigan 21, Illinois 17
10. Purdue Boilermakers 11/07/09
Sure, Purdue lit Michigan up for 48 points this year, but next year will be a little different. Purdue will undergo the process of instituting a new coach, new QB, and a whole makeover for the program.
As bad as it looked for Purdue this year, it is probably going to get worse next season. The Boilermakers are also bringing in the worst recruiting class in the Big Ten. Plus, this game is in Ann Arbor.
my prediction: Michigan 24, Purdue 7
11. At Wisconsin Badgers 11/14/09
A visit to Camp Randall, just what the Wolverines need before "The Game."
Last year, Michigan was too busy looking ahead to "The Game" and got trounced by Wisconsin. In 2008, Michigan had their second biggest comeback ever to upset the Badgers.
The power everyone thought Wisconsin was becoming under Bret Bielema seems to be slowly fading away. Next year doesn't look much brighter, as they are losing 10 starters from this dismal team.
my prediction: Michigan 28, Wisconsin 21
12. Ohio St. Buckeyes 11/21/09
"The Game", the most anticipated game of the season for both sides. A horrible season can easily be forgotten with a win in this game. It didn't happen this year and, sadly, it doesn't look like it's going to happen in 2009.
Yes, Ohio State has had its problems in the past with the spread. Yes, Ohio State might lose 10 starters to the draft, but the Buckeyes just have too much talent to overcome.
An experienced Terelle Pryor may be the most dangerous quarterback in the Big Ten and chances are Beanie will be back. All this adds up to another butt-whooping.
my prediction: Michigan 17, Ohio State 31
Will the Wolverines improve from their 2008 campaign? Yes, for Rodriguez's sake, they better hope so. Will the Wolverines contend for a Big Ten title or national title? Not yet.
I don't think that is coming until 2010 or 2011.
Thanks for reading, all comments are welcome, but please be intelligent and use facts when arguing.