With quarterback Wilton Speight returning, are Michigan and Jim Harbaugh a top-10 team heading into 2017? Blade sports columnist David Briggs says yes. BLADE PHOTO
With ballots in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason college football poll due next week, our countdown continues with ...
No. 10: Michigan
Coach: Jim Harbaugh (third year, 20-6; 78-33 overall at San Diego, Stanford, and Michigan)
Last year: 10-3, 7-2 Big Ten
Returning starters: 4 offense, 1 defense
The skinny: Michigan is the biggest mystery in college football this season. Has Jim Harbaugh constructed a turnkey, no-assembly required power that does not so much rebuild as reload? (Think Alabama and Ohio State.) Or are the Wolverines prone to the same cycles as almost everyone else? We’re leaning toward the former. For as much turnover as Michigan endured, the bottom line is simple: A program reinforced by back-to-back top-five recruiting classes will have more raw talent than any Big Ten rival save for the Buckeyes. The only question is if that youth will be seasoned enough in time for a stretch run that includes trips to Penn State and Wisconsin and the finale against OSU.
14. Oklahoma State
20. South Florida
21. Kansas State
22. Washington State
24. West Virginia