Why Michigan Football Needs to Win Now

The Michigan Wolverines made plenty of headlines when they hired former quarterback Jim Harbaugh to be their coach. But the Wolverines haven't lived up to expectations since making the hire, failing to win the Big Ten once during his tenure as the head man in Ann Arbor.

This season, with everything seemingly stacked in Michigan's favor, the pressure is on for them to win now. Can the Wolverines make the leap to the top of their conference and into the College Football Playoff?

Heading into the 2019 spring practice season, many are wondering if the 2019 season is going to be the Wolverines' year. And given how the team is lined up compared to others in the Big Ten heading into the season, it isn't hard to see why many are ready to give Michigan the nod. After all, the Wolverines' biggest competition every year is going through a massive number of changes heading into the upcoming season.

That competitor is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are losing players projected to be in the top-10 of the NFL draft on their defensive line and at quarterback. Teams don't simply replace talents like Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins, and Ohio State should undergo some growing pains as they look to develop their stars on their way into this season, as well.

Then there is the fact that the Buckeyes will be getting used to an entirely different coach to run their program, with the legendary Urban Meyer gone from the program after capping off his tenure with a win in the Rose Bowl. Ryan Day should do a fine job with the Buckeyes in the long-term, but expecting him to win the Big Ten in his first year on the job might be too tall an order.

Michigan has coaching continuity with Jim Harbaugh in charge. And they will have the same quarterback as last season, with Shea Patterson back after last season's up-and-down campaign. With another spring to get the Michigan offense down, and a planned trip to South Africa to boot, it is expected that Patterson will improve. And he will need to improve to avoid a disappointing season from Michigan this year, after he failed to deliver against Notre Dame and Ohio State in a 2018 season that saw the Wolverines lose three times.

But in spite of the advantages that Michigan appear to have over Ohio State heading into this season, Ohio State is still seen as the bigger threat to win the 2019 championship. American football odds to win the College Football Playoff have Michigan at +1200 to win the title, while Ohio State sits at +750, indicating that oddsmakers have more confidence in Ohio State right now than they do Michigan.

Michigan may be in the best position they've been in since Jim Harbaugh took over as the team's head coach, both in terms of their personnel and that of their rival. And with all of the pressure on Harbaugh to deliver this season, it will be interesting to see if the team can take advantage of those advantages en route to a league title and playoff berth.

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