Dec 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Shane Morris (7) reacts in the first half against the Kansas State Wildcats during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Morris has a good shot at eventually winning the starting job. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan a cinch to compete for NCAA football title---but not until 2016


Oct 5, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines former head coach Lloyd H. Carr before the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Stadium.Carr coached Michigan’s last undefeated and national championship team in 1997 Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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-
year period.

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:

OFFENSE

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

DEFENSE

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
(Pasadena, CA)
Sugar Bowl
(New Orleans, LA)
January 1, 2015 AT&T Stadium
(Arlington, TX)
January 12, 2015
2015–16 Orange Bowl
(Miami Gardens, FL)
Cotton Bowl
(Arlington, TX)
December 31, 2015 University of Phoenix Stadium
(Glendale, AZ)
January 11, 2016
2016–17 Fiesta Bowl
(Glendale, AZ)
Peach Bowl
(Atlanta, GA)
December 31, 2016 Raymond James Stadium
(Tampa, FL)
January 9, 2017

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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