College Football Predictions: Why the Michigan Wolverines Will Be Top 10 in 2012

Talib BabbCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

College Football Predictions: Why the Michigan Wolverines Will Be Top 10 in 2012

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    The Michigan Wolverines are cut out to compete for a national title this season. The Wolverines finished as the 12th ranked team in the AP poll last season.

    Expect a Top 10 finish this upcoming season.

    Since the Wolverines are in the weaker Big Ten conference, they will more than likely have to run the table if they want to compete for the National Championship.

    However, a more attainable goal, to finish in the Top 10, is a definite for multiple reasons. 

5: Strength of Schedule

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    Michigan has a tough schedule this season, but if any team can overcome that, it's the Wolverines. Their strength of schedule will actually help them because they are good enough to win the tough games. 

    They open up with the defending champs, Alabama Crimson Tide, in Cowboys Stadium. The neutral site saves them from trying to win in Alabama, so they will have a legitimate shot at beating the Crimson Tide. 

    Their other likely ranked matchups are against Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State. Those games are all winnable, and will be make-or-break games for their championship hopes.

4: Big Ten Champions

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    The Wolverines will be a Top 10 team simply because they will win the Big Ten. 

    They are the favorites to win the conference and should do so. The Wolverines are the most talented team in the conference, and arguably have the best quarterback in the conference.

    They finished second in the conference last season due to two losses to Michigan State and Iowa.

    A Big Ten Championship should put the Wolverines in position for a bid at the National Championship. 

3: 13 Starters Returning

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    Upperclassmen leadership and experience can cause a big difference in a team's success. This season, the Wolverines will have that on both sides of the ball.

    They have 14 starters returning, including quarterback Denard Robinson. On defense, they will continue to improve with second-year coordinator Greg Mattison.

    Those starters also will have adapted to Coach Brady Hoke and his pro-style offense.

    In Hoke's first season as coach, the Wolverines went 11-2. They will continue to mesh.

    The sky is the limit for Hoke and his Wolverines' success.

2: Defense

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    The Wolverines' defense will be much-improved with their second year under Mattison as defensive coordinator. 

    Last season, they were seventh in the country in points allowed. They also were Top 20 in passing yards allowed, only giving up 190.5 passing yards per game. 

    This season, they lost defensive end Ryan Van Bergen, but recruited 6'6" Taco Charlton to replace him. He was the eighth-ranked defensive lineman in the nation, and his size will create problems for offensive lines. 

1: Denard Robinson

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    Denard Robinson has undoubtedly been the leader of the Wolverines the past two seasons. As a senior, he is primed to make his last run at a National Championship, as well as the Heisman Trophy.

    He scored 36 of the offense's 76 total touchdowns through the air and ground for the Wolverines last season. He is a passing and running threat and is still complicated for teams to shut down.

    Robinson's presence will give the Wolverines a chance to win any game and to be a Top 10 team.