For most Michigan fans, the first time they see Jabrill Peppers in NCAA football action will be at the Appalachian State opener.
By then the hype over his potential will probably soar out of proportion.
Some believe Peppers, who will most likely start at either cornerback, nickel, or safety, may also return punts, kickoffs and occasionally line up at wide receiver.
And because of his versatility, he’s often compared to former 1997 Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.
Undefeated season for Lloyd Carr
Woodson began his improbable journey back in 1995 as a freshman cornerback for coach Lloyd Carr.
In three short seasons, Woodson and the Wolverines were playing for a National Championship.
With a player of Peppers’ potential one might also dream of a national title for the Wolverines in a similar three-
The new NCAA rules now call
for a four-team playoff, with semifinal berths selected by an 11-member committee. (see membership below).
Unbeaten Michigan a possibility
Going 13-0 including a victory in the Big Ten title game should be good enough to earn a playoff berth. But it won’t be easy.
When Woodson led Michigan to the 1997 title (which was shared with Nebraska), he was surrounded on defense by three All-Americans and five All-Big Ten selections.
Everyone of them—including junior DE James Hall, sophomore LB Dhani Jones, senior LB Sam Sword, senior DE Glen Steele, senior S Marcus Ray, junior NT Rob Renes. and sophomore S Tommy Hendricks and the “other cornerback” Andre Weathers—could play.
The offense wasn’t too shabby either. Senior TE Jerame Tuman and sophomore LG Steve Hutchinson were All-Americans, while there were a pair of All-Big Ten players (Junior WR Tai Streets and Tuman). Freshman running back Anthony Thomas went on to gain a total of 8,363 yards between the Wolverines and the NFL.
Let’s not forget redshirt senior QB Brian Griese, who led the Wolverines to a Rose Bowl victory and earned the game’s MVP award while doing so. Also on the squad was junior back-up quarterback Tom Brady, a three-time Super Bowl winner who isn’t finished setting NFL records.
Wolverines not ready
A quick look at Wolverines 2014 roster indicates an improvement over last season, but they’re probably not ready to roll through MSU, Northwestern and Ohio State., and that’s before the Big Ten title game.
What about 2015? Well, if Devin Gardner takes most of the snaps this season, quarterbacks Shane Morris or Wilton Speight might not have the experience necessary to win a national crown. Griese, you recall, was a fifth-year senior.
Moving ahead to 2016, the Wolverines will finally take advantage of the excellent 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes. The depth chart will be loaded with upperclassmen. Good tickets will be available soon. The semifinals will be held New Year’s Eve 2016, and the NCAA title game will be Jan. 9, 2017 in Tampa (see chart below).
Here’s a rough look at Michigan’s possible lineup in 2016:
WR Drake Harris JR
WR Amara Darboh SR
SL Freddy Canteen JR
TE Jake Butt SR
HB Wyatt Shallman JR
LT Mason Cole JR
LG David Dawson JR
C Patrick Kugler JR
RG Kyle Kalis SR
RT Ben Braden SR
RB Derrick Green SR
QB Shane Morris SR
NT Brian Mone JR
DT Willie Henry SR
SDE Chris Wormley SR
WDE Lawrence Marshall JR
SAM Allen Gant SR
MIKE Mike McCray JR
WILL Ben Gedeon SR
FSCB Jabrill Peppers JR
BSCB Jourdan Lewis JR
SS Jeremy Clark SR
FS Reon Dawson JR
NIC Dymonte Thomas SR
Of course this lineup was written in pencil, but 12 juniors and 12 seniors should illustrate the point. A few recruits and redshirts will slightly change the look, but Michigan will be good, deep and experienced.
There might even be a few All-Americans in this group, only time will tell. ♦
The 11-member NCAA selection committee:
|Member||Position||Conference affiliation[a]||Term expires|
|Jeff Long (chairman)||Arkansas athletic director||SEC||February 2018|
|Barry Alvarez||Wisconsin athletic director||Big Ten||February 2017|
|Michael C. Gould||Former Air Force Academy superintendent||N/A||February 2016|
|Pat Haden||USC athletic director||Pac-12||February 2016|
|Tom Jernstedt||Former NCAA executive vice president||N/A||February 2018|
|Oliver Luck||West Virginia athletic director||Big 12||February 2017|
|Archie Manning||Former NFL and Ole Miss quarterback||N/A||February 2017|
|Tom Osborne||Former Nebraska coach and athletic director||Big Ten||February 2016|
|Dan Radakovich||Clemson athletic director||ACC||February 2018|
|Condoleezza Rice||Former U.S. Secretary of State and Stanford provost||N/A||February 2017|
|Mike Tranghese||Former American Athletic Conference commissioner||The American||February 2016|
|Steve Wieberg||Former USA Today reporter||N/A||February 2018|
|Tyrone Willingham||Former Stanford/Notre Dame/Washington coach||N/A||February 2018|
Charts courtesy wikipedia.org
Here are the details for the first three NCAA football championships:
|Year||Semifinal game||Semifinal game||Semifinals date||Title game venue||Championship date|
|2014–15||Rose Bowl |
|Sugar Bowl |
(New Orleans, LA)
|January 1, 2015||AT&T Stadium |
|January 12, 2015|
|2015–16||Orange Bowl |
(Miami Gardens, FL)
|Cotton Bowl |
|December 31, 2015||University of Phoenix Stadium |
|January 11, 2016|
|2016–17||Fiesta Bowl |
|Peach Bowl |
|December 31, 2016||Raymond James Stadium |
|January 9, 2017|
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer