The long awaited, much anticipated, Michigan football season prediction
Northern Illinois (98%): They might have some offensive talent, but they still have no chance in Michigan Stadium. They might even keep it close in the first half if they get a bounce or two, but the OL and DL for Michigan will just blow them off the ball in the 2nd half if it's even close.
Notre Dame (80%): Notre Dame has some talent. Notre Dame has Charlie Weis. But Notre Dame still isn't winning in Ann Arbor. Last time they tried it was 38-0. The talent differential this year is similar. Even if Weis is worth 2 TDs over Willingham, it won't be close in the 4th quarter. I do give ND a slight chance because they have enough offensive talent to score some points if Michigan turns the ball over too many times.
Eastern Michigan (99%): The battle of Washtenaw county will likely end up similar to the previous meeting when Michigan put up over 50 points (if memory serves me correctly).
Wisconsin (75%): Wisconsin loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball including their entire DL, their 2 all conference DBs, and their star TB. But it's a night game in Madison and Barry Alvarez last chance to beat Lloyd Carr. Normally I wouldn't even sweat this one, but the Alvarez retirement announcement has got me wondering a bit. This could be THE game the Badgers have circled on the calendar this year.
Michigan State (65%): Michigan State might not be a top 25 team, but they did take it to Michigan in Ann Arbor last year before Michigan's historic, Braylon Edwards-powered comeback. And they always play Michigan tough in East Lansing. With payback on their mind, I give the Spartans a chance. But Michigan does have the talent edge and should score a lot of points on the Spartans.
Minnesota (85%): The Gophers have an explosive offense lead by Laurence Maroney, Brian Cupito, and Ernie Wheelright. But they are still weak on D and they haven't beaten Michigan since 1980 something (86?). The game is in Ann Arbor so plan on the Jug staying put for another year.
Penn State (85%): Penn State had a very good defense last year and a historically bad offense. This year the O gets a boost from some young talent, but that isn't enough to make them any better than average. And it'll take more than that for the Nittany Lions to snap a 6 game losing streak to the Wolverines when they come into Michigan Stadium this year. Did I mention they are still handicapped by having Joe Paterno at the helm?
Iowa (55%): The toughest game of the year for the Wolverines (by far). Playing a top 10 team on the road in a tough environment is no picnic. Though I do think Michigan matches up extremely well with the Hawkeyes. Michigan should own the trenches on both sides and has more talent at the skill positions. Still, Drew Tate is a tough SOB and Iowa has a long home winning streak. I think Michigan is the favorite, but this will come down to the wire.
Northwestern (85%): Northwestern is good every now and then, but they likely don't have enough talent to beat Michigan this year. Count on there being plenty of fans in Maize and Blue in Evanston for this matchup.
Indiana (95%): This is about as easy as a conference game can get. Indiana? In Ann Arbor?
Ohio State (70%): The Buckeyes might be a top 5 team when they come into Ann Arbor. But they aren't leaving with a victory. Not after last year. Not after we made their crappy offense look like world beaters. Not after they pulled that stunt before the game with the police search. Now it's not just The Game, it's personal. I hope Sweater Vest brings some police protection with him, because the Buckeyes are going to get violated on November 19th.
So let me pull out my calculator and add this up. That's 2.33 losses predicted on the season. That just seems a bit pessimistic based on my assessment of each game. I could be persuaded to adjust the chances to 75% for MSU and 65% for Iowa which would swing to 2.13 losses. Wisconsin might also be closer to 85%. And does Notre Dame really have a 20% chance of winning in Ann Arbor? Probably not.
Anyway, I can't realistically predict any better than 9-2 on the season. But damn it, I'm optimistic right now. I'm saying 10-1! I'm saying another BCS Bowl with a chance at the Rose Bowl.
edit: I should also point out that you can take the percentage chance of victory in each individual game and multiply them together to get the chances of an 11-0 season. I come up with an 8.49898% chance of seeing Michigan at 11-0 and headed to the Rose Bowl.