College football season is here! It is that wonderful, spectacular time of the year when we get to watch the Michigan Wolverines take the field again at the Big House! This season, I will be giving you a Final Analysis on each week’s game. It will include the three things to watch for, a bold prediction and an extra surprise here and there. Let’s dig into game number one: No. 7 Michigan (0-0) vs. Hawaii(0-1)
What You Need to Know
Where to Watch: ESPN
Odds: Michigan favored by 41
Honorary Captain: Michael Jordan
Three Things to Watch for
- There is one big question on our minds: Who will be the starting quarterback? Based on limited information and pure speculation, it’s down to John O’Korn and Wilton Speight. All reports have said it’s been a fierce competition and that neither has shown enough to pull ahead. Will it be Speight—who had limited game time last year, or O’Korn—a transfer from Houston who brings a different dynamic to the game with his mobility? No matter which guy kicks off this season, I trust the decision by coach Jim Harbaugh, who has a great track record of shaping quarterbacks. Look at the job he did last year with Jake Rudock. I would not be surprised if we see both quarterbacks getting playing time vs. Hawaii, especially if the Wolverines pull ahead in the second half. Whoever steps on the field first must play smart, control the game and take care of the football. Neither can start the season off with a bunch of turnovers, or it may damage their confidence. I like the idea of giving O’Korn the start, just because of the combination of his mobility and arm strength.
- My second thing to watch for in this game: Michigan’s rushing attack. Will they struggle getting long gains on the ground or will we see a repeat of the bowl game vs. Florida? In that game, the Wolverines totaled 225 yards on the ground and had two rushing touchdowns. The offensive line was dominant, opening up huge holes for De’Veon Smith and company to run through. With a year of experience playing together, this unit should be able to impose their will on opponent’s defensive lines. I will be watching the left tackle position that will be manned by Grant Newsome and true freshman Ben Bredeson.
- One of the most talked about players in the country is Jabrill Peppers, a guy to watch for not only in this game, but the entire season. Wow, what a talented athlete! I am interested to see how many different positions he’ll line up at. Peppers is projected to start the game at linebacker but at some point could play corner or safety if needed. But will he get some snaps on offense? This is what many Michigan fans want to know. I believe he will see a few plays in the backfield and also at punt returner. Don’t look for him to have a ton of offensive plays, because this is the first game and Harbaugh will not show much of his offense. Michigan will not need big production out of Peppers against a poor Hawaii defense. The play calling should remain fairly simple to ease in the new quarterback. The Rainbow Warriors will have to be aware of whenever, and wherever Peppers lines up to try and contain him. Look for him to have 10 tackles, a forced turnover and a sack.
Who will be in the Big House?
- Michigan signed a huge deal with Nike this year and will be donning the classic “Jumpman” logo. Of course, that means the first honorary captain of the year is Michael Jordan. How fitting!
- Michigan will host several recruits at each home game, so here are a couple of names and faces to look for this weekend around campus. 2017 running back commit Kurt Taylor from Georgia announced on his Twitter page that he will be in attendance. Taylor is a three-star RB who committed to the Wolverines last October. Also, according to Scout.com, four-star wideout Tarik Black will be on an official visit Saturday. Black is the number twelve receiver in the 2017 class, and is being highly recruited by several schools. Hopefully both will be impressed by a Michigan victory!
Enough talking and enough predicting—I am ready to watch some Michigan Football!!