This low rank comes from two factors. The model uses a 4 year window of team performance, which includes two mediocre years under Brady Hoke before Jim Harbaugh returned as coach. Also, Michigan only returns 5 starters from last season.
However, one expects better than 30th from a Jim Harbaugh team. While past performance is no guarantee of future success, he did wonders with a Stanford program. Check out the visual at the top of this post.
To adjust Michigan’s preseason rank, I considered two factors from the markets.
First, consider Michigan’s win total based on their schedule. They have difficult, toss up type games against Florida at a neutral site, at Wisconsin, at Penn State and Ohio State. Suppose they go 2-2 in these games.
For the remaining 8 games, Michigan will most likely lose one game despite being a substantial favorite in each game. Football lacks certainty, and some combination of poor play and turnovers can lead to unexpected losses like Michigan at Iowa last season.
This gives a win total of 9 for Michigan in 2017, the same total posted in the markets.
In addition, Michigan is a four point favorite against Florida in their opening game. I used these two factors to adjust Michigan, erring on the low side for each factor. This led to a rank of 9th for Michigan in 2017 with an expected win total of 8.8.
The preseason Coaches poll also ranked Michigan 9th.
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