Michigan Football 2014: Best Case/Worst Case From Here On Out

In our preseason best case/worst case, we laid out how good or bad things could potentially go in 2014. The best case saw Michigan going 11-1 with a college football playoff birth (sigh). But even the worst case was prettier than what the current reality looks like…heading towards around 5 or 6 close losses and no one being fired after the season ended.

So here we are heading into week 9 of the season, at 3-4. The program is being held together with scotch tape as both the head coach and the athletic director are presumably facing dismissal by season's end. Injuries have mounted on both sides of the ball, the starting quarterback has been benched, brought back in, only to be subjected once again to a season full of running for his life and off the field criticism.

No matter how you look at it, Michigan football is a hot mess right now and heading into the final 5 games of the 2014 season. So how will this play out?

Let's dip our toes in, shall we?

Worst case
As it stands right now, any worst case scenario sees Michigan going winless to end the season, finishing with a dismal 3-9 record.

Michigan State will impose their will against a Michigan team desperately attempting to play a physical game against one of the most physical teams in the country. It will not end well as Michigan leaves East Lansing with another humbling loss in front of a national television audience.

With the MSU loss still stinging badly and Devin Gardner injured, Indiana comes into the Big House and roughs up the hapless Wolverines en route to a emotionally crushing overtime win.

The in the week following, university president Mark Schlissel dismisses AD David Brandon.

With the program in shambles, Gardner still injured and nothing left in the tank, the next 2 games against Northwestern and Maryland both go end badly for Michigan because of course they do.

Heading into the annual finale against the 10-1 Buckeyes, Michigan puts up a valiant fight, but comes up short as Ohio State pulls away in the second half beating Michigan 38-14, thereby locking down their spot in the B1G title game against Minnesota.

On the ensuing Monday, Brady Hoke is fired by new AD Brad Bates. Four days later, Bates announces the hiring of Greg Schiano as the next head coach at Michigan.

Ugh…thats painful. Here now, the...

Best case
Its probably too much of a stretch to figure Michigan can go into East Lansing and beat Michigan State, even in a best case scenario. Michigan will put up a good fight, but Michigan State will simply be too much to handle on the road. Michigan State comes from behind in the 4th quarter and wins by 4 in what most consider one of the greatest games this rivalry has ever seen.

With pressure mounting around him and his family, David Brandon steps down as AD citing the benefits to the university to put this whole situation to rest and move on. Schlissel reaffirms he will focus on filling the AD role ASAP with the best possible candidate.

Coming off a narrow loss to Sparty, Michigan pulls together as a team and focuses on the task at hand as they crush Indiana on homecoming day.

With another win under their belt and the offense gaining more confidence, they easily dispatch Northwestern and Maryland heading into the showdown in Columbus.

In a Earle Bruce-like situation, Michigan rallies with an inspired effort to give Hoke a huge win against a Buckeye team fighting to make the college football playoff. But similar to what happened to Bruce at OSU in 1987, even with a huge win against their biggest rival, Hoke is let go.

At 7-5, Michigan heads to the Tax Slayer Bowl in Jacksonville to take on LSU. Doug Nussmeier is Michigan's interim head coach for the bowl game. Devin Gardner leads the Wolverines to a narrow win in his final game, and is carried off the field by his teammates.

Three weeks later, following their NFC Championship game loss to the Detroit Lions (hey, this is the best case), new Michigan AD Jeff Long announces Jim Harbaugh is leaving the San Francisco 49ers to become the next head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.

The most likely case
As such is usually the case, the eventual outcome lies somewhere in between these 2 scenarios. Perhaps Michigan beats either Michigan State or Ohio State, but not both, probably neither. They probably drop at least one game to Indiana/@Northwestern/Maryland. If they make a bowl game, that's probably another loss.

Either way, 5-7 or 4-8 is my prediction at this point.

Brandon might be let go, but Hoke could still turn it around. Who knows who the next AD will be. Who knows if Jim Harbaugh will even be interested/available. Anyone who says they know what's going to happen next with either Brady Hoke or David Brandon is speculating at best. Its fun to be in the know, or at least pretend to be…but the simple truth is, at the moment, no one knows anything.

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