The Michigan Wolverines are under the direction of head coach Brady Hoke for the third straight season and the head coach has worked wonders for the program. Taking over for the failed project that was Rich Rodriguez, Hoke led the Wolverines to an 11-win season in his first year as head coach. They could be even better in 2013 after an 8-5 finish last year.
On the other side of the field, the Central Michigan Chippewas are an average MAC team, but could be even better in 2013 after a 7-6 finish from 2012. They seem to be on the way up under head coach Dan Enos as they finished with their best record since 2009 in which they went 12-2.
Michigan’s offense will be led by a new quarterback for the first time in quite some time after they lost Denard Robinson to the professional ranks. Devin Gardner will be a lot better than people expect in 2013 and could end up contending for a Heisman before it’s all said and done. Returning top wide out Jeremy Gallon will help, too.
Central Michigan’s offense averaged just 394 yards per game a season ago, but that number could definitely lessen especially with the loss of quarterback Ryan Radcliff. Returning stud running back Zurlon Tipton is a positive, however, as the Chips will be a run-first team — or so it seems — in 2013.
Michigan’s defense was better last season than it has been in recent years, especially under the direction of Rich Rod. However, they lost top defender Jake Ryan until at least mid-October with a torn ACL, but they will still be a top-three defense in the Big Ten. Central Michigan was one of worst defenses in college football last season, allowing 432 yards per game along with 32.4 points per contest. They are, however, returning two linebackers in Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton who combined for 258 tackles last season.
Central Michigan will be hitting the road to take on the Wolverines at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday Aug. 31. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.
PREDICTION: Central Michigan 7, Michigan 42