Originally posted on College Football Zealots  |  Last updated 7/26/13
2012 Record: 8-5 (6-2 in Big Ten) Head Coach: Brady Hoke (third year at Michigan, 66-57 All-Time) Last Bowl Game: 2012 Outback Bowl: lost to South Carolina 33-28 Stadium: Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI (capacity = 109,901) Home Field Advantage: ranked 1st out of 69 BCS teams Schedule Glimpse: 2013 Schedule Link Out of Conference: 8/31 vs CMU, 9/7 vs Notre Dame, 9/14 vs Akron, 9/21 at UConn Toughest Home Games: 11/9 vs Nebraska, 11/30 vs Ohio State Toughest Road Games: 10/12 at Penn State, 11/2 at Michigan State, 11/16 at Northwestern   Statistical Snapshot: 2012 Statistics Link Stat to Fear: -0.69 turnover margin (10th in Big Ten) Stats to Cheer: converted on 50.29% of third downs (1st in Big Ten), scored on 93.48% of red zone trips (1st in Big Ten), held opponents to 45.24% TD rate in red zone (2nd in Big Ten) Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 26th out of 124 teams   Personnel: Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense: 6, Special Teams: 2 Key Defensive Returnees: S Thomas Gordon (81 tackles), LB Desmond Morgan (81 tackles) Key Offensive Returnees: QB Devin Gardner (1219 yds pass, 11 TD, 5 INT), Jeremy Gallon (49 rec, 4 TD), OT Taylor Lewan Top 2013 Recruits: RB Derrick Green, S Dymonte Thomas, QB Shane Morris, G David Dawson, C Patrick Kugler, G Chris Fox, DT Henry Poggi, G Kyle Bosch, DE Taco Charlton, T Logan Tuley-Tillman   Inside Scoop with @JContiz3: CFBZ: Michigan went from 11-2 in Brady Hoke's debut season to 8-5 last season. In his third season, what are the expectations for the Wolverines from the fanbase? @JContiz3: Expectations are very high for year three of the Brady Hoke era. Despite a less-than stellar record and a major defensive letdown in the bowl game, last season showed plenty of positive signs for the future. For one, when Michigan switched to a pro-style attack under QB Devin Gardner, the team's offensive output improved immensely.    Secondly, recruiting under Hoke & company has been off the charts. Now, a lot of that talent is young, but Michigan fans are expecting a lot of out of a pair of four-star receivers (Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh), and the #1 running back recruit from last year, Derrick Green.    Considering what Greg Mattison has been able to do the past few seasons with a collection of players he didn't recruit, the future should be just as bright on defense. The defensive line in particular could run 6-8 deep this season.     CFBZ: Devin Gardner took over at QB down the stretch last season and he's getting some pre-season hype coming into 2013. What should we expect from Gardner this season?   @JContiz3: Gardner has been receiving a lot of pre-season hype and in my mind, it's well-deserved. This kid was the #1 rated duel-threat QB coming out of high school, where he was an absolute monster on the field. Now, he fits extremely well with what OC Al Borges wants to do on offense, but he still possesses the ability to scramble and beat opponents with his feet.    During his five starts, Gardner averaged over 240 yards per game through the air and he added another 7 touchdowns on the ground as well. Michigan fans are expecting big things, and an early-NFL draft pick is not out of the realm of possibilities for Gardner.      CFBZ: One of the trademarks of the Brady Hoke era so far has been a solid defense. Who are the game-changers on this side of the football for the Wolverines?   @JContiz3: Michigan is missing it's biggest play-maker, LB Jake Ryan, who is out until October with a torn ACL. In his place the coaches are looking for junior DE Frank Clark to really step up and provide some pressure off the edge. Clark is a physical freak at 6"4, 265 pounds, and he's been clocked in the 4.5/4.6 range in the 40. Unfortunately that potential hasn't been met with production yet, so we'll have to wait and see.    The secondary should be solid as well, even though four-year starter Jordan Kovacs is gone at safety. There is plenty of talent and experience at cornerback, and senior Thomas Gordon will slide over to Kovacs old spot as the leader of the group.      CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?   @JContiz3: For me, this season will be successful if Michigan can run the table and make it to the Big Ten Championship game. The 2013 schedule is much more manageable than last year, and I think Michigan will have the hardest time with Notre Dame, Nebraska, and of course Ohio State.    This still team is still a very young squad. Despite some incredible recruiting by Hoke and his staff, a lot of that talent is still developing. Another key will be keeping Devin Gardner healthy. With his backups being a walk-on and a freshman, it's imperative That Gardner stays on the field!   Verdict: After surprising everyone with an 11-2 record in 2011, Brady Hoke and the Wolverines came back down to earth last year as they lost five games. Two of those games were against the two teams that played in the National Championship Game (Alabama and Notre Dame) and one was against a team that went undefeated (Ohio State) so the record isn't necessarily as bad as it looks. Devin Gardner took over the reigns towards the end of the season and won three straight before running into Ohio State and South Carolina at the end of the season. That experience will be very valuable to Gardner this year. What Gardner will need most this year is for the talent to step up around him. Fitzgerald Toussaint returns but he struggled last year averaging less than four yards per carry. Most pundits believe freshman Derrick Green will get a shot to carry the rock early and often. The receiving corps return Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo and Gallon in particular really rose to the occasion when the switch was made to Gardner. As Jeff mentioned in the Q&A, there is a lot of young talent on this team and receiver is one area where they will need some of that talent to step up. The OL returns only two players with starting experience and was disappointing in the spring game (take that for what it's worth and it could mean the DL is just that much better). This will be an area to watch since the Wolverines cannot risk an injury to Gardner and because the RBs struggled so much last season. Under Greg Mattison, the Michigan defense has been a difference maker allowing 17.4 ppg in 2011 and 19.4 in 2012. The Wolverines return a bunch of contributors off of the DL line from last year and this looks like the strength of the defense. They were strong against the run but weren't great at getting to the QB (22 sacks) and they lose their top sacker from the DL (Craig Roh with four). The defense will also be without their best player, Jake Ryan, for the start of the season. Michigan won't have to play Alabama again this year but they still have a tough schedule as they host Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State and go on the road to face Penn State, Michigan State and Northwestern. Half of their games will be played against teams that will be in the Top 25. I like the make-up of this team but there are concerns. Vegas has the Michigan over/under at 9.5 and I think that's a good line but it will take some really good performances from this team to get to over 9 wins in the regular season. Prediction: 9-3   Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews: ACC- Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest Big 12- Kansas, Kansas St, Oklahoma, Texas Tech Big Ten- Illinois,  Indiana,  Iowa,  Minnesota,  Nebraska,  Northwestern,  Purdue C-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSA Independent: Army, BYU, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico St, Old Dominion MAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMU MWC- Air Force, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming Pac-12- Arizona, Cal, Washington State SEC- Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt Sun Belt- Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, ULM, WKU The American-  Cincinnati,  Houston,  Memphis,  Rutgers,  SMU,  Temple, UCF, UConn, USF  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sean Payton responds to rumors he might leave the Saints

NFL denies DeAngelo Williams’ request to wear pink all season

Arby's offers to cater Steve Spurrier's retirement party

WATCH: Antonio Gates catches 100th career TD pass

The Cubs win Game 3 loudly, set MLB record with six home runs

Report: Steve Spurrier retires as head coach of South Carolina


Blue Jays push ALDS to Game 5 with 8-4 victory over Rangers

Mike Moustakas fired up Royals with expletive-laced speech

Report: Big Ben wants to play, but longshot for Week 6

Ex-Celtic Terrence Williams denies ties to Louisville scandal

Did the NFL get major sports blog Twitter accounts suspended?

Clayton Kershaw: MLB 'bullied' into Chase Utley suspension

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Citi Field gave Chase Utley chilly reception

Mike Moustakas fired up Royals with expletive-laced speech

Clayton Kershaw: MLB "bullied" into Chase Utley suspension

Michael Jordan really likes Jeremy Lin

Texas governor makes embarrassing Astros flub

Ruben Amaro Jr. looking to become MLB manager

Steve Sarkisian fired by USC

USC enabled and snitched on Steve Sarkisian

Colin Kaepernick believes the 49ers could still go 12-4

Tommy Lasorda calls for rule change following Chase Utley incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker