Michigan football: 4 things to watch for against Middle Tennessee

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Michigan Wolverines
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Michigan football will open the season Saturday against Middle Tennessee State and here are four things to watch for with the Wolverines.

There’s really no point in pretending otherwise: Michigan football is going to beat Middle Tennessee on Saturday. It shouldn’t be close. And we probably won’t learn anything significant about the Wolverines, either.

Rather, Saturday’s season-opening contest is a chance for Michigan to ease into a deceptively tough slate and work out the kinks while putting an easy W on the board.

This isn’t to overlook the Blue Raiders, who are an honest-to-god, legitimate football team that’s made five bowls in the last six seasons under veteran coach Rick Stockstill. It’s just that the Wolverines are that much better than their Conference USA foes. That will be apparent from the jump Saturday.

But the thing about playing a team from the Group of Five in the season opener is that any major flaws will be apparent at once. Win by 50? No big deal — that’s what Michigan is supposed to do. Win by 10? Cause for concern.

The latter scenario would provoke mayhem in Ann Arbor. All the excitement surrounding Josh Gattis’ new offense and all the worry about replacing so many defensive starters could immediately turn to vitriol if Michigan so much as struggles to put Middle Tennessee away.

The former situation, though? True, one big game against the Blue Raiders won’t start Shea Patterson’s Heisman campaign or anything like that. But it would, at the very least, keep the hype train rolling for another week.

Here’s what to watch as the Wolverines take the field for the first time in 2019: