Michigan Wolverines 2017 Football Schedule and Analysis

Can Jim Harbaugh lead the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff in Year 3 despite heavy losses on both sides of the ball?

The 2016 college football season for the Michigan Wolverines was moving along quite smoothly until one raucous weekend in Iowa City where a last-second field goal sent the season in a downward spiral. The Wolverines wound up losing three out of their last four games including a nail-biter at Ohio State and the Orange Bowl to Florida State after starting the year 9-0.


Heading into 2017, as many as 17 starters have moved on, in addition to a number of key contributors sprinkled all over the depth chart, leading some to think this will be a rebuilding season in Ann Arbor. That said, Jim Harbaugh has now brought in consecutive top-10 recruiting classes to replenish the depth and prevent Michigan from taking too much of a dip in the Big Ten standings.


2017 Michigan Wolverines Schedule


Bye: Week 5


Wk Opp. Date Location

Sept. 2

Arlington, TX
(AT&T Stadium)

The last time Michigan and Florida met was two years ago in the Citrus Bowl where the Wolverines dominated in every facet of the game, leading to a 41-7 blowout win in Jim Harbaugh’s first season. Both teams will look very different this time around with the Wolverines replacing just about every starter, while Florida will likely be starting a redshirt freshman at quarterback barring anything unforeseen this summer. A defensive battle is the expectation in this pivotal season-opening matchup.


Sept. 9

Ann Arbor, MI

Believe it or not, this will be the first-ever meeting between these two schools despite being just four hours apart. It is a new era of football for Cincinnati with former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell taking over as head coach. Fickell is 0-1 in his career as a head coach against the Wolverines.


Sept. 16

Ann Arbor, MI

This will be the third matchup all-time between Air Force and Michigan, with the last coming back in 2012, a 31-25 Wolverines win. The Falcons are a tough matchup because of their run-oriented offense and return many pieces from a unit that averaged 35.2 points per game last season. It should not surprise anyone to see a tightly contested game heading into the second half.


Sept. 23

West Lafayette, IN

The Wolverines and Boilermakers have not faced each other since 2012 despite 58 total games in their history – eighth most of any Michigan opponent. The Purdue offense is expected to look drastically different in 2017 with the hiring of new head coach Jeff Brohm who led Western Kentucky to three consecutive seasons of 40 points or more per game. Now about that defense...

6. Oct. 7 Ann Arbor, MI

The Wolverines snapped a three-game losing streak against their in-state rivals last season with a 32-23 victory in East Lansing. But get ready to see plenty of highlights from the last time the Spartans traveled to Ann Arbor with the blocked punt heard ‘round the world. Let’s go ahead and set the over/under at three for the number of times that storyline gets beaten to death during the broadcast.


Oct. 14

Bloomington, IN

The Wolverines’ winning streak over Indiana sits at 21 in a row after last season’s 20-10 home victory in wintry conditions. The Hoosiers have a new head coach in Tom Allen after dismissing Kevin Wilson during the offseason, and have a number of questions entering 2017 with key pieces being lost at running back and along both the offensive and defensive lines. Even though this game is in Bloomington the expectation is Michigan will make it 22 in a row over Indiana.


Oct. 21

State College, PA

Outside of the Ohio State game at the end of the season, this looks to be the Wolverines’ toughest matchup of the year as they travel to Happy Valley. Penn State is loaded on offense with quarterback Trace McSorley, potential Heisman Trophy candidate running back Saquon Barkley, future NFL tight end Mike Gesicki and a number of talented receivers on the outside. While the start time of this matchup is officially TBD, expect this to be a night game in “White Out” conditions, adding to the level of difficulty for the Wolverines.


Oct. 28

Ann Arbor, MI

As college football fans, let us all hope this game is more competitive that last year’s 78-0 trouncing. The numbers won’t be as staggering this season, but Rutgers is not close to being able to compete with the big boys of the Big Ten just yet, especially on the road.


Nov. 4

Ann Arbor, MI

Are there two more energetic or animated coaches in all of college football than Jim Harbaugh and new Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck? I will be tuning into this game just to see their sideline antics and postgame handshake. As for the game itself, Minnesota has major questions at quarterback with Mitch Leidner departing, whether you deem that good or bad. Expect the Golden Gophers to lean heavily on running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks.

11. Nov. 11 College Park, MD

Round 2 of disciple vs. teacher as former Jim Harbaugh assistant DJ Durkin gets another crack at defeating his old employer. Last season did not work out to well for Durkin and his Terrapins, who were overwhelmed 59-3 in Ann Arbor. Don’t expect to see quite as lopsided a score, but this should be another comfortable win for the Wolverines.

12. Nov. 18 Madison, WI

It was a defensive struggle in last year’s matchup between the Badgers and Wolverines, and I would expect much of the same in 2017 despite significant losses in defensive personnel for both teams. This will be Michigan’s first visit to Madison since 2009 and the stakes should be high with both teams likely in the race for a spot in the Big Ten title game.

13. Nov. 25 Ann Arbor, MI

The Game was an instant classic last season with Ohio State pulling off the comeback victory in double overtime. As of now, it is difficult to project how this game will turn out as Michigan is having to replace more than 40 seniors from last year’s team, and will look much different by late November. The Buckeyes, though, seem primed to make another run at a spot in the College Football Playoff. Can Jim Harbaugh afford to go 0-3 against Ohio State in his first three seasons?

— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. For College Fantasy Football insight, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 08:30

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