Welcome to the Deadspin 25, a college football poll that strives to be more democratic and less useless than every other preseason poll. Leading up to the college football season kickoff, we will give you previews of the 25 teams that you, the readers, voted to be most worthy of writing about. Now, No. 16 Michigan.
Michigan is such trash, man. Like Texas, it sits on the perch reserved for college football’s giants but shits away its legacy year after year, letting guys like Brady Hoke come in and do nothing for four years. This year, Michigan decided to use the pull that comes with 50 odd years of dominance to hire a real lunatic of a head coach, Jim Harbaugh, who will supposedly win them some games. So when they don’t win games this year, it’s going to be so, so sweet.
The hiring of Jim Harbaugh was the biggest news in college football outside of the NCAA rescinding all of Penn State’s penalties. There are so many things you shouldn’t do to Jim Harbaugh: Engage him in conversation, make direct eye contact, challenge him to any sort of competition, question his manliness, attempt to show him an actual fashion magazine, etc. But if you’ve paid attention to football in the past two decades, you know that doubting Harbaugh is high up on the list of things not to do.
It’s almost insane how good he is at building a program while being a fiery-eyed, frothing nutcase who probably screams while he shits and puts cigarettes out on his arm after sex. He actually got shit done at the University of San Diego, created a top-5 program in four years at Stanford, and went to three NFC Championships and a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers. My man Jim might sleep with his eyes wide open, but he knows how to build a team. Unfortunately, his team now happens to be Michigan.
Let’s start with the low points. On offense, the Wolverines bring in three quarterbacks who have yet to throw a touchdown in their collegiate careers. The most famous of the bunch, junior Shane Morris, is not famous because of a spectacular play or funny press conference snippet, but because when he was concussed and stumbling around on the field against Minnesota last season while incompetent asshat Brady Hoke refused to take him out of the game. Thankfully, Hoke is now fired and in no position to make non-decisions regarding the health of his players, but that doesn’t really resolve Michigan’s issue here. None of these guys come close to scratching the top tier of even Big Ten quarterbacks, and the Wolverines are going to have to look elsewhere for a hero.
Amara Darboh might be their best shot, and by best I mean only, as he is the team’s leading returning receiver since Devin Funchess decided to go catch some balls thrown by a real quarterback in the NFL. Darboh snagged 36 balls for 479 yards last year, but as the new No. 1, those numbers should go up. Then again, who the hell knows if Michigan has a quarterback worthy of starting yet, so we’ll see. Running backs De’Veon Smith and Derrick Green combined for 990 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Although they aren’t as lethal as Arkansas’ current dream duo, these guys at least offer some sort of safety net for whoever takes over as quarterback.
Things are a bit brighter on defense. The Wolverines bring back seven players to a squad that ranked No. 7 in the nation in yards allowed per game last season. Led by senior linebacker Joe Bolden, who was second on the team with 102 tackles in 2014, Michigan will likely repeat as a top-30 defense this year. In addition to the seven starters, senior linebacker Desmond Morgan and redshirt freshman safety Jabrill Peppers will be back after missing most of last season due to injury.
Defensive back Jabrill Peppers is a redshirt freshman who, after seeing times in three games last year, went down with a leg injury and got the extra medical year clearance. He’s one of the nation’s top unseen athletes who once broke eight tackles during a play back in high school and still ended up on the Wolverines’ defense. He’ll probably start at safety, and as long as his leg holds up, he will have a season that will rank him among college football’s top defensive backs. Also, Peppers isn’t afraid to talk some shit about the NCAA, so even if you don’t like Michigan, at least know that this kid is chill.
No way, man. No way. I don’t really want to break down every single reason that Michigan is a subpar team, but dig this: the Wolverines have to play Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota, Maryland, and Utah, and I could easily see them losing every single one of those games, mainly because they lost to all but one of those teams last year.
I’m not saying Harbaugh isn’t going to work wonders with this program and make them a top-15 squad by 2017; he probably will. I’m just saying that Michigan’s offense is insultingly bad and this is not the year the Wolverines even sniff the playoff. Bowl games are cool too, though.
I wouldn’t say Jim Harbaugh is so much a dick as he is a stone-cold psychopath, and that’s even relative to the rest of the college football’s coaches.
As a child he spent hours playing baseball by himself in a strip mall parking lot. As a young man, he walked up to a strange woman, got her number, called her nine times until she answered, and married said woman because he “could tell she was a winner all the way.” As a new coach, he smeared a player’s blood on his fucking face like warpaint. As a grown-ass man, he took his shirt off and ran around baring his mayo-ass torso with 18-year old teens to illustrate how he wanted a drill done.
Jim Harbaugh, though a truly amazing coach, is the most unchill dude that has ever lived. Not a dick, but my man needs to take a nap.
The Wolverines don’t have a quarterback or anything resembling a star at receiver or running back, and though their defense will be among the top 30 in the nation, it won’t be close to enough for Michigan to do anything.
Sept. 3: @ Utah
Sept. 12: Oregon State
Sept. 17: UNLV
Sept. 26: BYU
Oct. 3: @ Maryland
Oct. 10: Northwestern
Oct. 17: Michigan State
Oct. 31: @ Minnesota
Nov. 7: Rutgers
Nov. 14: @ Indiana
Nov. 21: @ Penn State
Nov. 28: Ohio State