Michigan returned to glory last season. Jim Harbaugh beat Ohio State and made the college football playoff. They won 12 games and went 11-2 ATS, which was best in the FBS. It was a cathartic season for Wolverine fans everywhere.
The party was quickly shut down in a 34-11 loss to Georgia in the playoff, but it was still a very successful season in Ann Arbor.
The question is: Can success be repeated?
Ohio State is likely too talented this year for Michigan to repeat that victory, but there are reasons to be high on the Wolverines.
Michigan starts the season take on Colorado State as 30-point favorites. The Rams won just three games last season, return just 12 total starters, and are making a change at quarterback.
But the Rams did poach head coach Jay Norvell from Nevada, who went 33-26 with the Wolf Pack and
Read on for our Colorado State Rams vs Michigan Wolverines odds, picks, and predictions.
Colorado State Rams vs Michigan Wolverines
The number opened at Michigan -27.5, but money has poured in on the Wolverines and pushed this spread north of -30. This likely isn’t respected money, and just makes the Wolverines overvalued.
The over has taken significant sharp money, moving the line up almost three points from the opener. I would seriously consider betting the over in this spot.
Colorado State Rams vs Michigan Wolverines Prediction & Pick
Michigan built a ridiculous offensive line underneath offensive line coach Sherrone Moore, who took home the Joe Moore award. They paved the way for an absurd 214 rushing yards per game at 5.2 yards per carry.
There’s turnover on the offensive line, but it’s positive turnover. They’ll bring in right guard Zak Zinter, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 320 pounds, alongside Second-Team All-American Virginia transfer Olusegun Oluwatimi. And with Moore back for another year, this may be the best line in the country yet again.
Leading rusher Hassan Haskins is gone, but I’m absurdly excited to see Blake Corum as the No. 1 option. Corum is electric. He averaged a whopping 6.7 yards per carry last season and rushed for 11 touchdowns on less than 150 attempts, missing games due to injury and being the second option. Corum finished as PFF’s sixth-ranked running back while adding 160 yards in the receiving game. He’s going to be insane this season.
— MGo (@MJoeBean) July 28, 2022
The only question for Michigan is at quarterback. They’ll probably go with Cade McNamara again, who is the higher-floor option and allows Michigan to succeed behind the same game plan they had last season. But JJ McCarthy has the higher ceiling, and I know Michigan fans are curious.
But the Michigan offense is straightforward. The defense is the problem, returning just four starters and two of the top seven tacklers. I don’t need to explain the loss of Aidan Hutchison, either.
This is where the handicap lies. Norvell should import the air-raid Nevada offense to a Rams team that finished with the fewest yards per game last season since 2006 (324). The returning production looks bad, but six Nevada transfers with Norvell will aid a more seamless transition. I think the Rams will be intriguing on that side.
Michigan will roll through the Rams’ defense, however, and this all points towards a high-scoring game. The total opened at 57.5 but has been bet way up to 61.5.
I don’t care about the number. Between Norvell’s new offense, Michigan’s regressing defense, and Corum’s skill ability, I project that more than 70 points are going to be scored in this one.
Colorado State Rams vs Michigan Wolverines Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Colorado State vs Michigan below.
Key Matchup No. 1: Cade McNamara vs Himself
Michigan fans are hoping and praying that McNamara takes a step forward this season. That’s not an unlikely outcome, given he’s entering his third season with the program.
But McNamara will be protected by a great offensive line and a superb run game. He’ll be in a bubble, but the only way Michigan gets over the hill is with elite quarterback play.
If McNamara struggles against Colorado State – or in the nonconference in general – Wolverine fans will be calling for JJ McCarthy.
McNamara will need to continue to avoid turnovers while producing some level of explosiveness in the passing game. Neither of those is a given.
Key Matchup No. 2: Jay Norvell vs Michigan’s Defense
This is a fascinating matchup. Norvell is supposed to transform the Colorado State offense, specifically with the coaching staff and transfers he brought with him from Nevada.
In the meantime, the Michigan defense is supposed to take a major step back.
Major storylines can be made from this matchup. If the Rams’ offense can’t produce, coach Norvell will be looked at in a bad light. But if the Michigan defense can’t get stops, the Wolverines will be downgraded significantly.
Neither result may have major implications in the long run, but it’s a very big Week 1 storyline.
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