Just in case you're one of the few Michigan fans that aren't already counting down the days until kickoff, we are exactly 71 days away from week one of Michigan's 2022 college football season.
In spite of the fact that the Wolverines lost two first-rounders and whole host of experience from the 2021 squad (particularly on the defensive side of the ball), most still expect Michigan to once again be competing for a Big Ten Championship in 2022. The ceiling for Michigan in 2022 would obviously be a perfect 12-0 regular season record, something the Wolverines have finally proven they are capable under the leadership of head coach Jim Harbaugh.
If a perfect 12-0 record is the ceiling for Michigan in 2022, what does the floor look like for the defending Big Ten Champions? Let's first take a look at the schedule:
Michigan football 2022 schedule
Week 1, Sept. 3 vs. Colorado State
Week 2, Sept. 10 vs. Hawaii
Week 3, Sept. 17 vs. Connecticut
Week 4, Sept. 24 vs. Maryland
Week 5, Oct. 1 at Iowa
Week 6, Oct. 8 at Indiana
Week 7, Oct. 15 vs. Penn State
Week 8, Oct. 22 BYE
Week 9, Oct. 29 vs. Michigan State
Week 10, Nov. 5 at Rutgers
Week 11, Nov. 12 vs. Nebraska
Week 12, Nov. 19 vs. Illinois
Week 13, Nov. 26 at Ohio State
Dec. 3 Big Ten Championship Game
Even the most rabid Michigan 'haters' can look at that schedule and pencil in a perfect 4-0 record for the Wolverines to start the season.
Week five is when things get interesting, as the Wolverines travel to Kinnick for the first time since 2016. The last trip to Iowa didn't go particularly well for Michigan, as unranked Iowa stunned No. 3 Michigan and handed the Wolverines their first loss of the season. Though Michigan certainly handled its business against Iowa in the 2021 Big Ten Championship game, a road game against the Hawkeyes is an entirely different animal - particularly if it's under the lights. If things go south for Michigan in 2022, this is likely the week it begins.
After another road contest with a pesky Indiana program, the Wolverines will return to Ann Arbor to face off against Penn State - a program that has beaten Michigan in two of the last three contests (three of the last five). There's absolutely no doubt that the Nittany Lions will have revenge on their mind as Michigan narrowly escaped Happy Valley with a 21-17 win in 2021, helping to set the stage for their Big Ten Championship run. Though Michigan more talent on its roster, it wouldn't shock me to see the Nittany Lions steal another one in Ann Arbor in 2022.
After the week seven matchup with Penn State, Michigan heads into a bye-week before facing off against Michigan State in Ann Arbor. There's really not much that needs to be said about this one. Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker will be looking to go 3-0 against rival head coach Jim Harbaugh, with two of those wins coming in the Big House. I get that every game in college football is a 'must-win' game, but this one certainly feels like a game that Michigan - and specifically Jim Harbaugh - cannot afford to lose again.
After the clash with MSU in week nine, things should go relatively smoothly for the Wolverines over the next few weeks with contests against Rutgers, Nebraska and Illinois.
That, of course, brings us to that final week in November when the Wolverines travel to Columbus for what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest games of the entire 2022 college football season. It's been over two-decades since Michigan last won a game in Columbus (2000) and most of the current Michigan roster has never witnessed a Michigan road win against Ohio State in their lifetime. The Wolverines certainly have what it takes to pull it off in 2022, but its impossible to ignore over two-decades worth of results.
That brings us back to where we started: What is the floor for this Michigan Football program in 2022? Objectively speaking, I could see a realistic scenario that has Michigan finishing with a regular-season record of 8-4 - with losses to Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State.