Any college football fan worth their salt picks up a copy of Phil Steele's preseason mag every year. It's a yearly tradition for most of us...something we look forward to as much as, well...anything worth looking forward to I guess. I'm not going to tell you how to live your life.
Aside from having simply a bevy of information on every single CFB team in the land, Phil's insight and more importantly, his predictions, tend to be spot on year after year.
Michigan is in the midst of an offseason the likes of which we haven't seen around Ann Arbor in, well...a long time. Riding high from the 41-7 blowout of Florida in the Citrus Bowl and continuing that momentum into signing day, Michigan has positioned itself as one of the contenders for the college football playoff in 2016.
Many "way too early" preseason polls have Michigan included in the top 10...some even the top 5. While a lot of this can, probably should be considered just hype, it would appear the more traditional and mainstream outlets are starting to get on board.
Earlier this week, Bovada listed Michigan's odds of making the CFB playoff at 15/2, 4th overall behind Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson...up from 12/1 before signing day. And now, Phil Steele, who has predicted the preseason AP top 10 with a 94.3 success rate the last 7 years...6 months before each poll was released, has just posted his 2016 predictions.
4. Florida State
6. Ohio State
To arrive at what he thinks will be the AP top 10 in August, Phil takes into account a few important factors. Returning starters (especially on offense), bowl game performance, last year's record, the previous 4 recruiting classes including the most recent, and strength of schedule.
I'd like to think there's a head coaching factor at play here as well. Almost all the teams in this list have top-notch coaching staffs.
Important to note...this is not Phil Steele's top 10. This is his projection for what the AP top 10 will be this August. Although, it's hard to imagine there being a large discrepancy between this projection and most expert predictions, including his own.
Should this prediction come to fruition, it will mark the first time Michigan has been ranked in the preseason AP top 10 since 2012 (#8).