June 7, 2016
Jim Harbaugh’s drawing plenty of personal attention nationally as he travels the country for his satellite camp tour this month.
But none of that has rubbed off the preseason hype shine that surrounds his football team in 2016.
ESPN updated its early summer outlook for the upcoming season’s preseason top 25, keeping Harbaugh’s Michigan squad at No. 3 nationally — the front-runner to win the Big Ten and favorite to earn a playoff spot and fight for a national title.
The Wolverines, of course, have not won a Big Ten title since 2004 and have not finished a season ranked unanimously inside the top 10 since 2006 (Michigan was No. 9 in the Coaches Poll in 2011).
“In between his Twitter wars with other coaches, recruiting extravaganzas and spring break trips, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is quickly building a playoff contender,” ESPN’s Mark Schlabach wrote. “Houston transfer John O’Korn was thought to be the favorite to take over at quarterback, but sophomore Wilton Speight seems to have the edge heading into the summer. New defensive coordinator Don Brown is experimenting with star Jabrill Peppers at safety and linebacker.”
ESPN slots Ohio State at No. 9, Michigan State at No. 15 and Iowa at No. 23. Those are the only teams on Michigan’s schedule to land on this list — though the Wolverines play all three of those teams on the road.
In fact, those four teams are the only Big Ten teams to land on the list.
Alabama and Clemson, last year’s national title game matchup, came in at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
The biggest movement came with Baylor, who was dropped off the list completely after firing head coach Art Briles late last month.