PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 28: Chris Laviano #5 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights hands off to Robert Martin #7 during a game at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Ranking Michigan’s 2016 opponents: No. 7 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Our preview of Michigan's schedule continues with Rutgers.

The Michigan Wolverines will play only four of their 12 games on the road this season and that makes for a relatively favorable slate. However, three of those four opponents are (very) difficult in terms of match-ups, while the fourth will be explored in this space.

Today, we will continue our series in previewing (and ranking) Michigan's 12 opponents for the upcoming campaign.. In the first post, Hawaii was the topic and we moved on from there to look at Central Florida, IllinoisColorado and Maryland. In this sixth edition, we will glance at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who will host Michigan on Oct. 8.

2015 Performance

Underachievement was the buzz word for Rutgers a year ago. The Scarlet Knights were actually quite talented from top to bottom, but there were suspensions, personnel issues and generally unimpressive showings that led to a 4-8 final record. Even with those four wins, the team needed to beat Nicholls State, Kansas and Army, with none of those being even reasonably impressive.

What to expect in 2016

With the starting quarterback, running back and four-fifths of the offensive line returning from 2015, there is reason to believe that this will be an improved offensive football team. On defense, the entire front four and the entire starting secondary from a year ago are also back, but given how Rutgers was on defense, that may not be the best thing. Throw in the fact that the team will replacing its entire linebacking corps and it could be an adventure again in Piscataway.

Baseless prediction

Because the game takes place in New Jersey, Michigan is set as less than a three-touchdown "favorite" according to a few projection systems, but it would be a shock if the Wolverines dropped this game. There are a few pockets of talent on this Rutgers roster, but on man-for-man basis, the difference is fairly stark.


Stay tuned as the preseason opponent countdown continues.