The Michigan Wolverines might have had a rough start to their season, but they have convinced most people that they are serious contenders on the NCAA Division I scene this year. They walloped number 22 ranked BYU 31-0 on Saturday, and did so in style. This was the first time that Michigan has produced a shutout since 2012, and the first time that BYU has been shutout since 2003. In other words, it was a very convincing win.
This is coach Jim Harbaugh’s first year coaching the team, and there were quite a few questions about what he would be able to produce as a collegiate coach, despite his experience. His team is now 3-1, though, and has left little doubt that he has been an improvement in Michigan. Harbaugh, a former Michigan player himself, has also played and coached in the NFL. He was the coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014. Michigan might not yet be at the level of play they were at in their glory days, but they are back on the right track.
If you play fantasy college football, either in a season long league or as a daily fantasy sports league, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock is a big name to have on your team. He had two rushing touchdowns against BYU, and threw for 194 and another touchdown. He’s a talented young player and might have a career in the NFL ahead of him.
Big Ten play is about to begin, and Michigan is set to be a big force in their conference. For those that do play fantasy college football, that means the quality of the competition will be a little harder in some games. They have three nationally ranked games coming up in the next few weeks: Northwestern, Michigan State, and Ohio State. And with running back De’Veon Smith potentially injured, Michigan could have some issues up ahead. He had 16 carries for over 120 yards against BYU and a touchdown from a 60 yard run. All of these numbers were posted before the third quarter came to an end. He was one of the most impressive players on the field Saturday, but ended up getting carted off to the locker room. This could be devastating for Michigan if the news isn’t good. This still remains to be seen, though.
The plus side is that all of these games against ranked opponents are at home for the Wolverines, and in college football, the home field advantage is a bit bigger than the traditional 3 points given within the NFL. And if they keep improving like they have after their one loss this season against Utah, Michigan has a very realistic chance at a 10 plus win season this year. At the very least, they are a team to keep your eye on come bowl season. There is even talk that they will crack into the nation’s top 25 teams pretty soon themselves.
Looking at BYU’s numbers tells a very different story. Their offense only had a total of 101 yards, and obviously no points were scored. Quarterback Tanner Mangum only went 11 for 27 and had 51 yards passing. It was a rough game for the number 22 ranked team, but this should be considered a testament to how good Michigan is this year. Whether or not they are a top 10 team is up for debate, but it seems clear that they deserve to be in the top 20. Based upon this one game, that would not be a surprise at all. Only time will tell if they can keep the momentum moving forward.