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Michigan Wolverines 2023 Season Win/Loss Total

By Hank Blaine

Michigan hasn’t won the national title since the 1997 season, but this might be the Wolverines’ best team since then, with UM ranked No. 2 in both preseason polls and a legit threat to reach the College Football Playoff for a third straight season. Let’s break down Coach Jim Harbaugh’s club.

A Closer Look at the Michigan Wolverines 2023 College Football Season

Michigan Wolverines 2023 College Football Schedule

  • College Football Week 1: vs. East Carolina Pirates — 12:00 p.m. ET (Peacock)
  • College Football Week 2: vs. UNLV Rebels — 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS/Paramount+)
  • College Football Week 3: vs. Bowling Green Falcons — 7:30 p.m. ET (BTN)
  • College Football Week 4: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights — 12:00 p.m. ET (TBA)
  • College Football Week 5: at Nebraska Corhuskers — TBA (TBA)
  • College Football Week 6: at Minnesota Golden Gophers — TBA (TBA)
  • College Football Week 7: vs. Indiana Hoosiers — TBA (TBA)
  • College Football Week 8: at Michigan State Spartans — 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC/Peacock)
  • College Football Week 9: OFF
  • College Football Week 10: vs. Purdue Boilermakers — 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC/Peacock)
  • College Football Week 11: at Penn State Nittany Lions — 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • College Football Week 12: at Maryland Terrapins — TBA (TBA)
  • College Football Week 13: vs. Ohio State Buckeyes — 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • College Football Week 14: Big Ten Championship — 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX)

Another Close Call

The Wolverines won the Big Ten title for the second year in a row last season but lost in the College Football Playoff semifinals for the second straight year. UM was upset by TCU 54-45 in the Fiesta Bowl back on New Year’s Eve. Michigan cut a big TCU lead to six with 3:14 left on J.J. McCarthy’s 5-yard TD pass. McCarthy was spectacular at times with 343 yards passing, 52 rushing and three touchdowns. He also made two killer mistakes, tossing pick-6s in each half. TCU couldn’t ice it and Michigan got one more shot, starting from its 25 with 52 seconds left — but couldn’t get a first down.

Michigan’s 13-1 mark was the best single-season record in 143 years of Michigan football. McCarthy set a new program record for most wins (12) to begin a quarterback’s starting career before his first loss. Dennis Franklin (10 wins before his first loss, 1972) was the prior record holder. McCarthy’s average of 7.67 yards per play ranks No. 1 all-time (minimum 400 plays) in U-M history.

The Wolverines ranked No. 2 nationally in average scoring margin (+24.4 points) in 2022 after ranking fifth in that category (+18.4 points) in 2021. Only Georgia (+26.4 points) was better last fall. U-M’s offense scored on its first possession 11 times last season (eight touchdowns, three field goals). Dating to late in the 2021 season, U-M has averaged three rushing touchdowns per game (54 in 18 games). The team scored 13 in the final four games of 2021; 41 in 14 games in 2022.

Coach Jim Harbaugh flirted with leaving for the NFL again but is back, as is McCarthy and star tailback Blake Corum, among many others. Harbaugh will serve a three-game suspension out of the gate for NCAA violations. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter will serve as game-day coach against East Carolina in the opener this Saturday, special teams’ coordinator Jay Harbaugh (Jim Harbaugh’s son) and running backs coach Mike Hart will split duties against UNLV on Sept. 9 with each coaching a half, and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will handle the role against Bowling Green on Sept. 16.

Can the Roster Keep It Up?

Moore will be suspended for this week’s season-opening game as well. Harbaugh said Monday an analyst will be elevated to fill Moore’s spot on the staff Saturday against East Carolina. Michigan handed down Harbaugh’s punishment in an attempt to get out in front of potential NCAA sanctions related to an investigation of impermissible contact with recruits during the COVID-19 dead period.

Rob Lytle and Gordon Bell (1975) are the lone duo to share a backfield and each go for 1,000 yards rushing in a single season. Corum (1,463 rushing yards in 2022) and Donovan Edwards (991 yards) hope to become the second U-M duo to achieve that feat. Corum’s 2022 season earned him a Pro Football Focus grade of 96.2, the single-season record for any Power Five player at any position. Corum enters the season ranked No. 17 on the all-time rushing list at Michigan (2,492 yards).

With another 1,000-yard season, Corum would pass Rob Lytle (3,317 yards) and approach Chris Perry (3,696 yards), U-M’s No. 7 all-time rusher. Corum is tied for seventh all-time in rushing touchdowns (31) with Steve Smith (1980-83). With 10 more scores, Corum would tie his position coach Mike Hart (41, 2004-07) for fourth-most all-time. Edwards’ 7.08 yards per carry in 2022 was the No. 3 all-time mark in a single season at Michigan, behind only Denard Robinson in 2012 (7.15) and Tyrone Wheatley in 1992 (7.34).

Michigan maintained its strong defensive trajectory in 2022 without an elite pass-rusher, but transfer Josiah Stewart could fill a clear need there. The edge set a Coastal Carolina single-season record with 12.5 sacks in 2021 before being limited to 3.5 last season.

Corum (first team), offensive lineman Zak Zinter (first team) and cornerback Will Johnson (second team) were named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America teams. Zinter has been part of two Joe Moore Award-winning offensive lines (2021-22), the first back-to-back winners in the award’s history. Johnson was a Freshman All-American in 2022. He had 14 games played with five starts and had 27 tackles (25 solo) with six pass breakups, including three interceptions.

Michigan likely won’t be challenged until Oct. 7 at Minnesota and the only two regular-season games it may lose are Nov. 11 at No. 7 Penn State or Nov. 25 vs. No. 3 Ohio State. We think the Buckeyes end their two-game skid in the series.

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READ MORE: Michigan Wolverines 2023 NCAAF Season Betting Guide