Michigan Football has unfair advantage in the running game

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /

When it comes to running the ball, Michigan football is as good as it gets in college football and frankly the Wolverines have an unfair advantage. 

Michigan football loves to run the damn ball. It’s part of the Wolverines’ identity. Jim Harbaugh has even been seen wearing a shirt with that exact saying.

Harbaugh has always believed in that physical brand of football. It’s how his teams played at Stanford and in the NFL with the 49ers.

Michigan football started that way too. Maybe, Harbaugh overthought it a little bit when he tried to turn the offense into speed-in-space. As it turned out, the “power spread” is much more effective, and heading into the 2023 season, Michigan has an unfair advantage.

247 Sports put together a list of the top 10 position groups in college football. It was an interesting list and certainly worthy of some debate. However, Ohio State’s wide receivers were ranked No. 1.

USC’s quarterbacks were in the No. 2 spot, while Michigan football had the No. 3 spot with running backs, as well as No. 5 which went to the U-M offensive line.

That means that according to this list, Michigan has the best running back room and the best offensive line room in college football.

Michigan’s unfair advantage

Since the offensive line has won the Joe Moore Award two years running and could be even better this season, that ranking seems accurate. The Wolverines are replacing two starters but LaDarius Henderson and Drake Nugent were added via the transfer portal.

Both are likely to be drafted in the future and Nugent was ranked as one of the top centers in the country last season at Stanford. At any rate, both are experienced starters with All-Pac 12 honors on their resumes.

So the offensive line shouldn’t experience any dropoff. Trevor Keegan, Zak Zinter, and Karsen Barnhart are all going to be NFL players too, while the second team is loaded with guys that could start for most Big Ten teams.

The running backs were also ranked as the best group in the country which makes sense. Blake Corum would have won the Heisman Trophy last season if he didn’t get hurt.

Donovan Edwards also showed he’s easily one of the top-five running backs in the country and having both of those guys running behind that offensive line is borderline unfair.

Ohio State might have spectacular wideouts. But the Buckeyes did in 2021 and 2022 too. It didn’t matter because they couldn’t stop the run and got beat up on the line of scrimmage.

For some reason, I don’t really see that changing this season. Plus, Michigan football is going to throw the ball much better, because, in addition to having the best O-line in college football and the best running back tandem, it has one of the best quarterbacks too.

dark. Next. Assembling the all-time Lloyd Carr team

These are all reasons why this Michigan football offense might be the best Jim Harbaugh has ever had. Heck, it might be the best the Wolverines have ever had.