The Michigan Wolverines don't exactly have the most grueling non-conference schedule for the 2016 season. While Jim Harbaugh's team faces only three opponents outside of the Big Ten and there is something to be said for that (kudos to that league), Michigan has a breezy slate that includes three of its "worst" four opponents.
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 focus and we followed that up with looks at Central Florida and Illinois. In the fourth edition, we will complete the non-conference run with the Colorado Buffaloes, who come to Ann Arbor on Sept. 17.
The Buffaloes finished with a 4-9 record a year ago and, according to some statistical translations, things probably should have been worse. Colorado grabbed wins against UMass, Nicholls State, Oregon State (a conference win!) and arch rival Colorado State, but none were terribly impressive and it was a largely disappointing campaign.
What to expect in 2016
Quarterback Sefo Liufau is on track to return from an injury as the starter, and Colorado also returns its two leading rushers from 2015. However, this is a very young team on both sides of that ball that could easily post a similar record in 2016 and that wouldn't be exciting for anyone in Boulder. This is a squad that will live and die offensively in my view, but if the defense is passable, Colorado won't be embarrassing.
SB Nation's S&P+ projects a 25-point spread between Michigan and Colorado, and ESPN's FPI gives the Wolverines a 90.5% chance at victory. In truth, that percentage seems low in terms of the actual result, but if this was a competitive game for at least a half, it wouldn't be a true shock, especially given the early-season nature of the kick-off.
Stay tuned as the preseason opponent countdown continues.
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