No. 12 Michigan

The pieces are in place. Veterans at most key spots, a defense that has no obvious weakness, some marquee talent and arguably the best defensive coordinator in college football.

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Offensively, a question at quarterback may have been solved before a game has been played with the clearance of transfer Shea Patterson. [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

One thing is certain about the Michigan Wolverines who are beginning their fourth season under the guidance of Jim Harbaugh. We will get an idea of how good Michigan is pretty quickly, with a road opener at Notre Dame kicking off the season. Other tests-Ohio State and Michigan State are also on the road and Penn State and Wisconsin are home. So no one will be able to accuse Michigan of missing any of the Big Ten contenders

A win at ND could propel Michigan to a 6-0 start before it must deal with Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State in successive weeks.

What's going to happen? That is the key question. Will it be a stumbling finish which turned last yea's hopes into an 8-5 finish? Will there ever be a win over Ohio Stat under Harbaugh?

The defense, led by defensive ends Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary, will perform. But can Patterson, the former 5-star recruit from Ole Miss come back from an injury and blossom in the North?

It should be interesting, if nothing else, starting on Sept. 1 in South Bend and ending November 24th in Columbus.[/membership]