No. 1 Michigan

No, a Jerseyguy did not drink the Kool Aid about the talents of Coach Jim Harbaugh. But there is no question that the guy with the khaki pants and championship attitude is a prime reason why a leap from 10 wins to 12 to 14 is possible.

The set up is easy. The schedule should not challenge the Wolverines greatly until the end of October when they must travel to Michigan State. In November they travel to Iowa and close the regular season at Ohio State.

The talent is there along the offensive and defensive lines. The talent is there at QB in transfer John O'Korn or whomever the head coach gives the keys to the offense.

No, there is only one reason why Michigan can climb to the top of the rankings and make it all the way through the playoffs to the national championship game in Tampa next January. [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here. [/membership] [membership]

His name is Don Brown, the Wolverines new defensive coordinator. How good is Brown? Well, he made a Boston College defensive unit, which had average talent at best, the No.1 defense in the country last season.

No one, and I mean not Florida State, not Clemson, not anyone, was able to run over the Eagles defense last season. The fact that BC had an offense that couldn't spot you a field goal lead and find a way to score 4 points (Yes, they lost to Wake Forest 3-0 last season) tells you a prime reason why the Eagles still finished 3-9 despite the genius of Don Brown.

Here's the thing about the guy, who a Jerseyguy has known for almost 30 years, with stops at UMass, Northeastern, UConn, and Maryland. He knows his Xs and Os better than anyone and he has been putting together great defenses with average talent.

Last winter, he received a Godfather offer from Michigan. Come out to Ann Arbor and coach a team that has more talent than you ever have had. People like all American cornerback Jourdan Lewis and All American linebacker Jabrilll Peppers are part of the Wolverine defensive unit.

Michigan has that talent and it has new talent waiting to mature. Brown is ready for prime time. This will be his moment. And the bigger the game, the tougher the situation, the better Brown will get, coming up with blitz packages and looks which would draw a nod of approval from the Patriots Bill Belichick.

The Big Ten is going to see defensive schemes it's never seen before, being run by NFL caliber players.

It's that simple. The difference, the one factor that will take Michigan, The Victors, to the final game of the college football season is Don Brown.

The countdown thus far: No. 16 Pepper Hamilton (Baylor), No. 15 Georgia, No. 14 Michigan State , No. 13 Miami, No. 12 Houston, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 10 Stanford, No. 9, No. 8 Tennessee, N0. 7 Notre Dame, No. 6 FSU, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 4 LSU, No. 3 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson [/membership]

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