Mainstream Predictions

Its that magical time of year when all of us college football die-hards start to come out from our summer comas to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. We're 44 days away from kickoff in the Big House on September 5th. 44 short days away from the tailgates, the marching band, the M Club banner, the winged helmets and the 3rd quarter student section wave.

Its about this time every summer that most folks, mainstream media included, have had just about enough of baseball. I don't mind baseball really, it's just the only sport going on right now. And baseball can be a tad bit on the boring side. But it's this time of year when we all really start looking forward to college football, and make our hopeful predictions. I did so a couple days ago. But what are other folks saying about the 2009 edition of Michigan football?

Prolific ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg posted his 3 preseason predictions for Michigan. And of course, in true blogger fashion, we must link to them and discuss. And they are:

1. Brandon Minor rushes for at least 1,300 yards -- Michigan's run game should be its strength, and Minor leads a strong stable of backs. After playing last season with essentially one arm, Minor is 100 percent healthy and primed for an excellent senior season. He showed featured-back qualities at times last fall and will be running behind a more seasoned offensive line in Year 2 of Rich Rodriguez's offense.
2. At least two players will start games at quarterback -- True freshman Tate Forcier should get the first shot, but another signal caller will take snaps at some point, either because of performance or injury. Denard Robinson will get a chance to prove himself in preseason camp, and his elite speed shouldn't go to waste. And don't forget about Nick Sheridan, who was performing well in spring ball before breaking his leg. Sheridan likely isn't the long-term solution, but he'll be more comfortable running the system this fall after a difficult 2008.
3. Michigan makes it back to the postseason -- The Wolverines are at least a year away from contending for the Big Ten title, but 6-8 wins is certainly a reasonable expectation, given their schedule. Michigan will survive Week 1 for the first time since 2006 and could start 4-0 if things fall the right way. There will still be some growing pains with a young team, but Michigan should find its way to Orlando, Tempe or, at worst, Detroit.
I would love to see all three happen (aside from Forcier getting injured). And I agree, 6-8 wins seems to be the standard guess for wins for us this year. Of course, that was also pretty much the standard for most people last year as, ya know.

If Minor can only reach 1300 yards rushing, I think that will be a pretty mild disappointment. But only if he's getting 80% of the rushes and we're not passing the ball well. Idealy, we'll have Minor, Grady and Brown all sharing rushing duties. And not to mention Tate Forcier and/or Denard Robinson.

I look at Brandon Minor, a healthy senior with an experienced offensive line in front of him, and I see 1500 yards or better. There is no reason why he can not get to that level.

The QB situation is a tough one. I really think Tate Forcier has the leg up on Denard Robinson by enrolling last spring. But that certainly doesn't mean Robinson won't see the field this year. My prediction is that Tate will start game 1, and they will split time pretty evenly through the first 3-4 games. Robinson will start once or twice early in the season to see how he handles it.

But I hope that it doesn't turn into a Threet/Sheridan situation where one guy messes up so much that he has to come out of the game in favor of a guy who sucks less. I want, in a perfect world, for Rodriguez to have to pick between the better of two capable QBs who can command this offense.

By October, we should have a bonafide starter. I really don't want Michigan to be juggling two freshman QBs all season long...again.

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