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Michigan football: a trend that the Wolverines need to break in 2023

Michigan football is facing a crucial season this fall.

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Michigan football program
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl against the TCU Horned Frogs at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After winning back-to-back conference championship games and more over the past two seasons, the Maize and Blue are heading into a vital season this fall. Right now, Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan football program appear to be among the nation’s elite. However, if the Wolverines want to continue trending toward a national title, breaking this one trend is a must for Michigan during the 2023 season.

Michigan football  program must end bowl game woes during the 2023 season

Michigan football has seen some stellar years under head coach Jim Harbaugh, who is heading into his 9th season in Ann Arbor this fall. Thus far, Harbaugh has led his Wolverines to five 10-win seasons, a pair of Big Ten titles, two College Football Playoff appearances, and six ranked finishes. That said, there is a glaring blemish on his resume as Michigan’s head coach.

During the 2015 season, Harbaugh’s first year with the Wolverines, Michigan football went 9-3 during the regular season before blowing out Florida in the Citrus Bowl, finishing the year with a 10-3 overall record and among the top 15 in the season’s final AP poll. Since then, Michigan is an appalling 0-6 in bowl games, including back-to-back losses in the College Football Playoff.

This fall, it seems that Michigan football is poised to make a run at the national championship, something that has evaded the Maize and Blue for nearly three decades now. If Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines want to change this, Michigan’s bowl game woes must change.

Over the past two seasons, it has become clear that Michigan football has no issue with postseason play. The Wolverines took home a 42-3 victory in the 2021 Big Ten title game and a 43-22 win against Purdue for the conference title last December. That said, Jim Harbaugh’s 1-6 bowl game record during his time with the Maize and Blue is a trend that needs to break during the coming season.

Michigan football has its best roster on paper right now, boasting loads of talent and experience on both sides of the football and on the coaching staff. This fall is likely the Wolverines’ best shot at the three-peat Big Ten championship performance and a national title, meaning these bowl game woes must come to an end for the Maize and Blue. As senior wide receiver Roman Wilson put it, “It’s now or never.”



Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

FOOTBALL

Michigan football offense could lean on “freak athlete” against Nebraska

When the Michigan football offense takes the field against Nebraska this weekend, keep an eye on this “freak athlete” for the Wolverines.

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Michigan football, Colston Loveland, Nebraska, tight end
Oct 15, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Colston Loveland (18) runs the ball in the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Michigan football offense takes the field against Nebraska this weekend, keep an eye on tight end Colston Loveland. After last week’s win over Rutgers, Jim Harbaugh said that the “cat is out of the bag” when it comes to Loveland being a “freak athlete,” and when playing a Big Ten West team like the Cornhuskers, the Wolverines may choose to lean into what Loveland brings to the table.

Michigan football offense could lean on “freak athlete” against Nebraska

Michigan football has a special talent in tight end Colston Loveland, who first broke out as a true freshman in 2022, and has since become a nationally touted weapon for the Maize and Blue. After the Rutgers win, Jim Harbaugh explained that the “cat is out of the bag” when it comes to Loveland’s impact on the offense.

“Colston Loveland — and I’ve been thinking this for well over a year now — he’s really great,” Jim Harbaugh said. “Freak athlete and a team guy all the way in every way. So I think the cat’s out of the bag. … He doesn’t know how good he can be. He doesn’t know how good he is. I kind of always thought maybe the longer it takes him to figure that out, the better off he’ll be. But the cat’s out of the bag.”

Loveland could see an increased role during Big Ten play

This weekend, when Michigan football heads to Lincoln, NE, Colston Loveland may find himself as a focal point of the Wolverines’ offensive attack. The Cornhuskers have the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense, meaning JJ McCarthy should get ample opportunity to air it out on Saturday; seeing as Big Ten games are underway, the tight end room is expected to be more involved throughout the rest of the season.

“But he’s a true whatever — let’s say it the way Jack Harbaugh (Jim’s father) would say it — ‘He’s a foot-ball-player.’ And there’s nothing better you can say about somebody or give them more of a compliment than to say they’re a foot-ball-player,” Harbaugh said.

So far this year, Loveland — Michigan’s “freak athlete” at tight end — has caught 14 passes for 168 yards. As the season goes on, it sounds like Michigan football is gearing up to call his name more and more.

Against Nebraska this weekend, keep a close eye on No. 18 when the Wolverines’ offense takes the field, especially now that it’s clear that he and JJ McCarthy have a special connection.



Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics and Big Ten content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Publisher at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

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FOOTBALL

Michigan football cornerback Will Johnson details the latest on new transfer

Yesterday, Michigan football standout Will Johnson detailed the latest on transfer Josh Wallace.

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Sep 2, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive back Josh Wallace (12) blocks a pass to East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Ryan King (11) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Due to injuries and a need for depth, transfer portal addition Josh Wallace (from UMass) has been thrown into action quite a bit so far this fall. On Tuesday, we caught up with Michigan football cornerback Will Johnson — a sophomore — during his media availability at Schembechler Hall. There, the second-year Michigan standout detailed how Wallace is fitting in and more.

Michigan football cornerback Will Johnson gives the latest on Josh Wallace

According to Will Johnson, Josh Wallace is fitting in well with Michigan football so far.

“He’s a great cornerback,” Will Johnson said of transfer Josh Wallace. “I’m glad we got him because it’s definitely a place we needed somebody, and he’s very physical, great ball skills. You saw that pick (against ECU) he should have had week one. So yeah, he’s a great player. I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the year.”

New transfer portal addition brings experience and more to the table

Josh Wallace is in his first year with Michigan football; however, the transfer cornerback has been around when it comes to college football. On the other hand, while Will Johnson has played in Ann Arbor longer, he is only a sophomore and is picking up on some of what Wallace’s experience brings to the table.

“He’s a veteran,” Johnson continued. “So you know, he’s very savvy in the things he does, and we all play off each other. We always try to work off each other. I mean, I think as a whole, we just do whatever we can to get better with each other.”

Michigan football looking to get Josh Wallace more reps as the weeks go by

This weekend, with players like Amorion Walker still banged up, expect Josh Wallace to continue getting some significant reps for the Michigan football defense. To this point, it’s clear that Jim Harbaugh assembled one of the top transfer portal classes in the nation, with Wallace and many others continuing to shine for the Maize and Blue.

Through four games of the 2023 season, Josh Wallace has recorded six total tackles (three solo) and two pass breakups. He nearly had an interception in Week 1; however, due to a technicality, it was ultimately called back.



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ESPN analyst says there is ‘validity’ to Jim Harbaugh NFL rumors

This analyst says that there is some validity to back the Jim Harbaugh NFL rumors.

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Michigan football, Jim Harbaugh, NFL, Greg McElory
© Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

If you’re a Michigan football fan, you are quite used to the Jim Harbaugh NFL rumors that plague every offseason in Ann Arbor. The rumors of Harbaugh returning to the NFL peaked in 2022, when the Wolverines’ head coach interviewed for a job with the Vikings, yet ultimately returned to his alma mater the following season. Still, seeing as Harbaugh boasts a 29-3 record since 2021, the rumor mill continues — according to Greg McElroy of ESPN, there will always be some validity to these grumblings.

ESPN analyst says there is ‘validity’ to Jim Harbaugh NFL rumors

With talks of an NCAA suspension, conference expansion, the transfer portal, NIL, and more, no one would blame Jim Harbaugh for eying a return to the NFL next year. That said, there appears to be no interest from Harbaugh right now, likely due to it being mid-season for his Wolverines.

Still, ESPN analyst Greg McElroy recently expressed his belief that, despite Harbaugh’s commitment to Michigan football, the rumors of his return will always be valid. He said so on the Always College Football podcast.

“When it comes to Jim Harbaugh going to the NFL, I think there’s always validity,” Greg McElroy stated. “Jim Harbaugh has seen his brother win a Super Bowl, and Jim Harbaugh was five yards away from potentially winning a Super Bowl. It’s not that he doesn’t love his job at Michigan, but if the opportunity presents itself to go back to the NFL, I think there’s always gonna be validity.

“College football is a hard job. The (transfer) portal, roster retention, roster development, NIL. It’s hard. In the NFL, there are rules — free agency, draft. NFL’s a lot easier gig for a head coach. By the way, the (Los Angeles) Chargers have a pretty good roster. Obviously a legit, big-time quarterback in (ex-Oregon Duck) Justin Herbert. So I think there’s some validity there potentially, but there always is when it comes to Harbaugh. I think he likes to be wooed, and that’s okay because he’s still winning at a really high clip.”

Michigan football knows what to expect every offseason with Harbaugh as head coach

Michigan football fans know that, even if Jim Harbaugh were to shut down the rumors right now, they would still pop back up by season’s end. As long as Harbaugh is at the college level, people will be tying him to an NFL job — that is just the reality that we live in right now, especially since Harbaugh has Michigan pinned among the nation’s top national title contenders right now.



Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics and Big Ten content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Publisher at Cj@BluebyNinety.com. Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

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