- BetOnline has set the over/under on Michigan’s regular season win total at 9.5
- Head coach Jim Harbaugh is still looking for his first berth in the College Football Playoff
- The Wolverines lost four key defensive starters to the NFL Draft
It’s hard to believe this is already Jim Harbaugh’s fifth year in Ann Arbor. After “mutually agreeing” to part ways with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2014 season, the former University of Michigan quarterback pledged excellence upon his return to campus.
While the Wolverines’ inability to make the College Football Playoff has made Harbaugh’s homecoming feel somewhat underwhelming, keep in mind that San Francisco is 17-47 in their last four years without the khaki-wearing coach.
With Michigan a popular choice to win the Big Ten, expectations have never been higher for Harbaugh. BetOnline has set the school’s win total at 9.5. Do we take the over (-190) or under (+165)?
2019 NCAAF Regular-Season Win Total: Michigan
|Over Odds||Under Odds|
*Odds in the table as of Aug. 15, 2019.
Bet Michigan UNDER 9.5 Wins
After drawing criticism for running an archaic offense that finished 50th nationally in yards per game (419.5) last seasons, the 55-year-old coach handed the keys to offensive coordinator Josh Gattis this offseason.
The 35-year-old Gattis is currently in a war of words with new Maryland coach Mike Locksley over which one of the two deserves credit for an Alabama offense that led the nation with 92 touchdowns in 2018.
#Bearcats coach Luke Fickell remains upset about how transfer James Hudson’s waiver request was handled, but Jim Harbaugh and Michigan dispute the narrative levied against them, via @Williams_Justin. https://t.co/usEVZrw0l7 pic.twitter.com/XllD6zjjDC
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCIN) August 13, 2019
With his first opportunity to call plays, Gattis is expected to run an up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense that better utilizes the rushing ability of senior quarterback Shea Patterson, however, anonymous Big Ten coaches are wondering if Harbaugh will truly embrace the spread or revert back to his old ways.
PFF graded Patterson better than Dwayne Haskins last season and the 22 year-old signal caller has apparently had a standout camp. Offseason puff pieces from the Detroit area are also calling the offensive line “the best of the Harbaugh era”, praising the team’s wide receivers, and boasting about the unexpected running back depth.
Michigan QB Shea Patterson continues to impress in camp https://t.co/a8VbbwFDin
— Wolverines News (@WolverinesMLive) August 14, 2019
All that notwithstanding, Michigan is no lock to win 10 games considering Harbaugh has only accomplished that feat in two of four years at the Big House and three of his eight seasons in college football.
Experts are projecting the Wolverines to have the hardest schedule in the Big Ten and one of the most difficult in the country with contests against Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Army, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
There’s also reason to be skeptical about a defense that lost linebacker Devin Bush (10th overall to Steelers), defensive end Rashan Gary (12th overall to Packers), speedy edge rusher Chase Winovich (3rd RD to Patriots), and cornerback David Long (3rd RD to Rams) to the National Football League.
— PFF (@PFF) April 26, 2019
With starters missing on all three levels of their defense and a tough schedule, there won’t be a lot of room for error for an offense led by an inexperienced play-caller with an impatient head coach looking over his shoulder.
Look for Michigan to win nine regular season games and lose their fourth-consecutive bowl game, leading to Harbaugh’s long-awaited return to the NFL.