Colorado State vs #8 Michigan: Game Preview, Hot to Watch, Odds, Predicition
The Jay Norvell era starts as the Rams head to the Big House.
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Can the Rams start the season strong?
WEEK 1: Colorado State Rams vs. #8 Michigan Wolverines
WHEN: Saturday, September 3rd — 9:00 a.m. PST / 10:00 a.m. MST
WHERE: Michigan Stadium; Ann Arbor, MI (107,601)
WEATHER: Partly Cloudy, high of 87 degrees
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes ABC, by following this link.
RADIO: K99-FM 99.1 / ESPN 1600 AM
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 2nd matchup between these two schools. Michigan leads 1-0 in the series.
LAST MEETING: #20 Michigan beat #10 Colorado State 24-14 in the 1994 Holiday Bowl
WEBSITES: CSURams.com, the official Colorado State athletics website | MGoBlue.com, the official Michigan athletics website
GAME NOTES (PDF): Colorado State | Michigan
ODDS: Michigan -30.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Michigan by 31.5
FEI PROJECTION: San Diego State by 27.5
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Michigan 98.94% win probability (39.46 to 7.43)
The Rams kick off a new era under new head coach Jay Norvell. This time they are heading to The Big House to face the #8 ranked Michigan Wolverines. It is a buy game, CSU is getting $1.8 million, but it’s also a chance for the Rams and Ram fans to see where they are at.
Michigan is coming off of a 12-2 season, which included a College Football Playoff semi-final berth and their first win over Ohio State in ten years. The Wolverines are looking for a repeat season, but they’ll need to replace a number of key pieces on both sides of the ball.
Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy will be splitting quarterback duties with both of them getting a start the first two weeks. McNamara will be getting the start against the Rams, but McCarthy could see playing time as well.
Gone is 1300 yard rusher Hassan Haskins, in his place starts near 1000 yard rusher Blake Corum. With Donovan Edwards projected to split duties with Corum. The Wolverines have their top 5 receivers back (one is RB Edwards and the other is DB Mike Sainristil), so new threats are going to emerge.
The defense needs to replace the most talent after losing their top three tacklers and top two sack artists who accounted for 25 of their 34 sacks last season. Mazi Smith and Junior Colson figure to be the early leaders for the Wolverines.
why the Wolverines will win
The Wolverines are a top 10 team in the country. The Rams are 2-17 against top-10 opponents all time. CSU fans feel their is some App State magic in the air, but this Michigan team is too good to let that happen again. Last year’s leading quarterback, Cade McNamara, starts and has the chemistry with his receivers.
The running game will be a key factor early as well. The Rams had a top 60 defense last season, but struggled against the run. So expect the Wolverines to pound the ball early and test the Rams. The Wolverines bring back leading receiver Cornelius Johnson, but tight end Erick All might be the main factor against the Rams 4-2-5 defense.
The Wolverines defense is the biggest question mark as they need to replace Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo on the edges. Mazi Smith steps up in the middle of the defensive line after being named number one on Bruce Feldman’s list of college football freaks. Junior Colson and DJ Turner are two key pieces as well.
Mountain West Football: First Look At The Michigan Wolverines
why the Rams will win
Simply, the unknown. This is the first year under head coach Jay Norvell and defensive coordinator Freddie Banks. So CSU doesn’t have anything on film yet. The Wolverines will have to rely on old film and contacts for scouting. That level of newness is something that will work in the Rams favor.
The offense started to click as camp went on, but the Rams defense will be leading the day. Especially with how the coaches want the team to focus on forcing turnovers. The Wolverines were a top-25 team in giveaways per game last season and the Rams will look to take advantage. From the leadership at all three levels, CSU has the key pieces in place to bring a top defense in the country once again.
The offense looks to take that next step forward. The air raid is complexity by simplicity. The plays are simple, but the formations matter. And the talent to go along with it. Clay Millen, Tory Horton, Dante Wright, and A’Jon Vivens are all eager to get after it.
what will happen
The Rams might be able to hang around for a quarter or two, but eventually the talent level disparity will pop up and Michigan will start to pull away. The Wolverines offense starts to settle down after causing bumps early and the defense steps up to limit the damage. Wolverines will win, but the Rams gain a confidence boost.
Final Score: Michigan 45, Colorado State 24