Michigan Football: Realistic expectations for Wolverines in 2021

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

What are realistic expectations for Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football program for the 2021 season? 

One of the hardest teams in the country to figure out heading into the 2021 season is Michigan football.

Just based on talent and recruiting rankings, Michigan football is one of the 16 teams with the talent to compete for a national championship according to Bud Elliott and the blue-chip ratio.

The blue-chip ratio states that you need at least 50 percent of your recruits over the previous four years to be four or five-star prospects. Michigan football actually has the 10th-best blue-chip ratio heading into 2021, trailing only Ohio State in the Big Ten.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M are the teams listed in front of the Wolverines, but still, that shows that the cupboard is not bare in Ann Arbor.

But after a disastrous 2-4 season in 2020, what can we expect from Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines? The last time expectations were this low was 2015 — Harbaugh’s first season. Michigan won 10 games that year and while that will be a stretch, I see this season playing out in a similar fashion.

Michigan football will win at least 8 games

As the blue-chip ratio shows, Michigan has talent. Aidan Hutchinson is being projected as a first-round pick; Daxton Hill is a former five-star prospect. Cade McNamara, the likely starter at quarterback was once committed to Notre Dame and was offered by Alabama.

The offensive line should be better, but it’s also true that some important pieces such as Donovan Edwards, J.J. McCarthy, and Junior Colson are all freshmen.

It’s going to be a building year but if Michigan can find some stability at quarterback, this team will win 8-9 games. Michigan probably isn’t going to win at Wisconsin or Penn State. I also don’t expect the Wolverines to beat the Buckeyes.

But every other game on the schedule is winnable. Last season, Harbaugh and his staff didn’t come close to getting the most out of Michigan’s roster, but with six new assistants and a prove-it deal signed by Harbaugh, you can feel how motivated the staff is.

Post-spring Big Ten Power Rankings. dark. Next

Other than 2020, Harbaugh has been solid at Michigan and while 8-9 wins won’t make some fans happy, it will be a step in the right direction as Jim and the Wolverines push the reset button once again in their efforts to chase down Ohio State.