The Michigan Wolverines football team enters 2014 looking for a better performance than last year. The Wolverines finished second to last in the Legends Division of the Big Ten and tied for eighth overall with a 3-5 record in the conference. Overall the team finished with a 7-6 record after starting the season with five straight wins. The Wolverines would fall to Kansas State 31-14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to finish the season.
Brady Hoke will look for his team to improve in 2014 and should have an opportunity to put together some wins early. The toughest matchup in the first five games will come against Notre Dame on the road on September 6th. Last season the Wolverine were able to defeat the Fighting Irish 41-30 to move to 2-0.
The Wolverines have a difficult back to back matchup against Penn State before traveling to take on Michigan State. The other tough matchup in the Big Ten comes at the end of the season on the road against Ohio State. The Wolverines will look to revenge their one point loss last season at home.
Toughest Conference Game:
The Wolverines have two games on their conference schedule that will be key in how the team finishes. These games are against Michigan State on October 25th and Ohio State on November 29th. The Ohio State matchup on paper early on seems to be the most difficult matchup after losing to both teams last season.
Toughest Non-Conference Game:
Notre Dame on the road is the only out of conference matchup that presents a challenge. The other three games come against Appalachian State, Miami of Ohio and Utah. If the Wolverines can get another big game out of Devon Gardner like the five touchdown performance last season the team could leave Notre Dame with a win.
The matchup against Northwestern on the road on November 8th could be that one mental lapse that the team faces all season. After last seasons three overtime win against the Wildcats look for another battle in 2014.
Top Returning Starters from 2013:
Devon Gardner is returning for his sophomore season at quarterback and the Wolverine fans should be excited. Gardner showed at times last season against Notre Dame he has the ability to play against some of the better schools. The one area that Gardner has to work on is his turnovers after throwing 11 interceptions last season. Gardner finished the season with 2,960 yards passing long with 483 yards rushing and a combined 32 touchdowns.
Gardner will also have starting tight end Devin Funchess back for the 2014 season. Funchess finished the season with 49 catches for 748 yards and six touchdowns.
Michigan fans and alumni support your Michigan football team this fall. Visit http://recreationandsportsworld.com/university-of-michigan-alumni-store for Michigan sports gear for the whole family.
I love college sports, especially football. You may not always agree with me, but you will see I'm passionate.