If you ask anyone what might hinder Michigan this 2014 season, most would point to the offensive line, and you’ve have some scattered fingers pointing toward running backs or the defense. I agree, those are obviously areas in need of improvement. What’s missing from that scope, though, is an incredibly challenging schedule.
Specifically, I’m looking at the travel destinations of the Wolverines.
- @ Notre Dame
- @ Michigan State
- @ Northwestern
- @ Ohio State
Obviously, the two big ones you see are Michigan State and Ohio State. It’s unfortunate for Michigan that those two games are on the same rotation, but so goes life. I see a trap game in there against Northwestern, and then there’s the “finale” (for now, at least) in South Bend. What I left out was a trip to Rutgers, but I’m not including that in this argument.
When people talk about the expectations of this season, and have this schedule in mind, it’s usually not a pretty conversation. It goes without saying that we want something a little better than 7-6, but how far should we carry our hope?
8-5? 9-4? 10-3?
At best, I see a 10-3 record. Good luck trying to convince me something better is in store. As I mention all the time, it’s absolutely critical Brady Hoke starts getting more positive results against Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State. I know he cites conference championships as the goal, but we have to look one step at a time.
This season, all three of those games are on the road. Advantage rivals, right? Looking at the four games above, I think it would be reasonable to look for a 2-2 split, and hopefully at least one of those wins comes against the Spartans or Buckeyes.
No matter how you slice the cake, it’s a daunting schedule for the Wolverines in 2014, and I would be careful with optimism because of this. It’s a tough draw, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Hoke’s squad handles the workload.