Michigan 16th In First SP+ Analytics For 2020 College Football Season

Steve Deace

Based on returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history, Bill Connelly of SP+ projects Michigan to finish 16th this fall in his initial analytics. 

Essentially ESPN football analytics guru Bill Connelly is projecting the Wolverines to do this fall what they've done every season so far under Jim Harbaugh -- lose 3-4 games. 

He's projecting Michigan to have the 31st best offense and the 14th best defense (which seems low to me given what's returning on that side of the ball). Those are pretty good numbers, but up against another tough schedule that includes No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 9 Wisconsin (who I think is WAY too high), No. 20 Minnesota, No. 24 Washington, and No. 27 Indiana (all according to Connelly's projections), Michigan's metrics just aren't good enough. Especially with three of those difficult games on the road. 

But before you blow up Connelly's mentions with complaints, consider in Harbaugh's five seasons the highest Michigan has finished in the final AP Poll is 10th (once in 2016). So this is unfortunately on par with how the Wolverines typically perform. 

Here's where Michigan's opponents are projected to finish by Connelly in his initial 2020 forecast:

@ 24. Washington
84. Ball State
86. Arkansas State
9. Wisconsin
5. Penn State
@ 45. Michigan State
@ 20. Minnesota
46. Purdue
66. Maryland
@ 102. Rutgers
27. Indiana
@ 3. Ohio State 

If you're curious about past precedent, last year's first SP+ projections had Michigan No. 9 (finished 18th in AP). In 2018, Connelly had the Wolverines finishing 10th in his initial forecast (ended 14th in AP). 

Connelly will update his 2020 SP+ projections after spring practice has concluded.