By Evan Skaff
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
The Michigan Wolverines have become the talk of the college football world. After losing their first game to Utah, Michigan has continued to improve each week and has won their last five games. While most college football fans expected the Wolverines to improve over last year’s team that went 5-7, almost no one anticipated that new coach Jim Harbaugh could change the team this much, this fast.
There are several reasons for the team’s recent success, including the experienced new coaching staff, which features several former NFL and college coaches and coordinators. Many of Michigan’s players have mentioned the impact the new coaches have had on their play and preparation for the games. In addition, Michigan’s defense has jumped to the top of most national statistical rankings and is now considered the top-ranked unit in major college football. Lastly, the Wolverines have gotten back to their roots and started successfully running the football, which allows them to control the clock and put new quarterback Jake Ruddock in a position where he can succeed.
All of this has caused the national press and college football community to quickly pay attention to Michigan. In just two weeks, they went from being a nine point underdog against heated rival Michigan State to an eight point favorite, an amazing 17 point difference. Many college football observers are projecting Michigan to make the college football playoffs this year, which is remarkable considering the Wolverines were a 500-1 pick after the loss to Utah. Even though Coach Harbaugh received the full attention of local and national sports fans during the offseason and was widely considered one of the elite football coaches in America, he has managed to exceed expectations.
Michigan’s success on the football field will translate into greater excitement and enthusiasm for the university. This can help the University of Michigan get more applications, including from South and other leading high schools in Michigan as well as around the country. Students like being associated with a winning program, and athletic success in football is an important aspect in creating this attitude.
Photo Credit: The Tower