Aug. 30 UTAH
This could be a tough one. Utah was very good last year. They finished 9-4, including a bowl victory over Navy. They won 8 of their last 9 games. They run a version of the spread that Urban Meyer installed when he was there. This could go either way, but I'll give a slight edge to the Wolverines based on home field. The Rodriguez era gets off to a good start by beating a rugged Yoot squad. This result greatly disappoints famous Utah alums Karl Rove and Ted Bundy. Record: 1-0.
Sept. 6 MIAMI (OH)
MAC schools don't win in the Big House. Michigan should be able to work on perfecting their spread offense in this game. Famous Miami Alum Tina Louise is not pleased, but I don't care - I'm on the record as being a Mary Anne guy anyway. Record: 2-0.
Sept. 13 @ Notre Dame
Notre Dame should be improved, but it still won't be enough to beat Michigan. ND's vanilla offense will be swallowed whole by Michigan's aggressive defense. Mmmmm - vanilla. Rudy cries into his cornflakes. Record: 3-0.
Sept. 27 WISCO
I don't have a good feeling about this. Wisco may be breaking in a new QB, but they still have fat running back PJ Hill returning, tackling him is like tackling a golf cart. Or so I'm told. I'll mark this down for a loss. Famous Wisconsin alum Boz Skaggs rejoices in his living room. Record: 3-1.
Oct. 4 ILLINOIS
Illinois is due for a letdown after last year's Rose Bowl appearance. They lost Mendenhall, and Juice Williams still is not good enough to carry the offense. Michigan will win this one handily. Famous Illini alum Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, uploads a video of himself weeping onto YouTube. Record: 4-1.
Oct. 11 TOLEDO
MAC schools don't win in the Big House. Michigan should be able to work on further perfecting their spread offense in this game. Famous Rocket alum John Snow, former Treasury Secretary, does not care about this result. Record: 5-1.
Oct. 18 @ Penn State
Road game at Happy Valley - and it could be a night game. Pretty tough spot for first year starting QB, whomever it turns out to be. Penn State has a chance to break the losing streak to Michigan. Not this year. JoePa can't make it to the locker room this time, and he craps his pants on the field. Team follows suit. Famous PSU alum John Amaechi is dejected, but still thinks it's FABULOUS! Record: 6-1.
Oct. 25 MICHIGAN STATE
I think the Sparties are due for an upset, and if they're gonna do it, they better get it done before Coach Rod gets the team fully acclimated to the spread. Sparties pull off an ugly upset in the rain. Famous MSU alum Chris Hansen of NBC News is pleased, but has a few questions and would like you to have a seat right over there. Record: 6-2.
Nov. 1 @ Purdue
Purdue? Come on. Joe Tiller, busy picking food out of his mustache, forgets to come out after halftime. Michigan finishes strong. Famous Purdue alum Gary Danielson wonders why the Big Ten isn't as good as the SEC. Record: 7-2.
Nov. 8 @ Minnesota
By November 8, Minnesota fans are going to be wondering why they had such a problem with Glen Mason. Michigan romps, rushing for 300+ yards in the dome. Former Gopher Robert Zimmerman just sits and watches the river flow. Record: 8-2.
Nov. 15 NORTHWESTERN
Michigan returns home to face a Northwestern squad on the ass-end of a horrible season. Michigan wins handily. Former Wildcat Julia Louis-Dreyfus wants to know why you painted your face - to which you reply, of course, "Gotta support the team." Record: 9-2.
Nov. 22 @ Ohio State
Once again, the Big Ten title comes down to the last game of the year. Michigan-Ohio State. As much as I would love to predict a Michigan win, I just can't see it happening this early in the year. Talk to me in early November. The Buckeyes hang on for another victory over the Wolverines. They better enjoy it, because Coach Rod is about to start a winning streak of his own. Famous OSU alum Bruce Vilanch knows nothing about football, but incorporates the game into a sassy joke anyway. Record: 9-3.
I'd be happy with 9-3 with a first year coach and an entirely new philosophy and offensive system. I'm hoping for more, but realistically, I think this is achievable. In fact, 9-3 might be a best-case scenario. Just call me Billy Mumphrey - I'm a cockeyed optimist. Please add your predictions in the comments.
ADDED: And this is one reason why I have confidence. Barwis!