With a favorable schedule (at least to begin the season) and a ton of returning talent, the Michigan Wolverines are set up to enjoy the 2016 campaign. However, not every projection paints a rosy picture for Jim Harbaugh's team, and we have unearthed one that isn't exactly glowing.
The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) is a popular and trusted mechanism when it comes to college football, gaining traction via Football Outsiders and ESPN Insider. Michigan fans won't be enjoying this year's preseason model, though, as the Wolverines enter the year ranked 22nd in the country and just fourth (!) in the Big Ten.
While the Maize and Blue trail Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska in the overall rankings, Brian Fremeau (the purveyor of the model) had this to say about the most likely record for the Wolverines:
This seems relatively fair, though the 25% likelihood of fewer than nine wins may seem high to outsiders. Michigan's three toughest games (Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa) take place outside of Ann Arbor, and while the home schedule is breezy, teams like Penn State and Wisconsin are at least capable of surprising the Wolverines.
It is important to take each and every statistical projection with a grain of salt, but this one will stick out in a negative way for Michigan Men everywhere.
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