Big Ten Football 2015: Ranking the schedules

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Apr 4, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

2. Michigan

Jim Harbaugh, welcome back to college football. Welcome back to your alma mater. Welcome back as the savior of Michigan’s proud tradition and elite status. Last year the Wolverines were humbled at home by a Utah defense that didn’t allow it to cross midfield. A defensive touchdown is the only way Michigan found the end zone in a 26-10 loss. The Wolverines travel to hostile Rice-Eccles Stadium this Thursday to try to even the score. The Utes are more than a formidable foe in Harbaugh’s debut.

Michigan continues the western theme with dates vs Oregon State, UNLV and BYU. 3-1 should be the goal. 2-2 would not be a surprise. Michigan’s cross division games include Northwestern for Homecoming and a road date at Minnesota. It was a 30-14 loss to the Golden Gophers that included the infamous Shane Morris concussion debacle and truly sent the Brady Hoke train off the tracks with no return.

Despite Michigan’s mediocre 20-18 record over the past three seasons, the Wolverines have given Ohio State fits in narrow losses that would’ve blown to bits the Buckeyes Big Ten and National Title hopes. Last year Michigan was a fourth down stop with a few minutes left from taking over the ball down just 35-28. Two years ago, the Wolverines went for two and fell short 42-41.

Ohio State won a narrow 26-21 decision to complete a 12-0 campaign in 2012. Bo Schembechler announced his arrival to the rivalry with a 24-12 upset over #1 Ohio State in 1969. Can Harbaugh duplicate his coach and mentor’s feat?

Next: Rutgers