Here are my 2012 predictions, in case you're interested.
Michigan no longer has a quarterback who's much of a threat to lead the team in rushing, although he's a pretty good runner. Fitzgerald Toussaint is the best running back currently on the roster, but he struggles to stay healthy. I make this choice with very little confidence.
Prediction: Toussaint, 900 yards
The top receiver returns from last year, and that player has great chemistry with quarterback Devin Gardner. Jeremy Gallon had 829 receiving yards last season, despite having Denard Robinson as the primary passer for the first half of the season. Gallon should see an uptick in receptions and yardage this season, but without another proven threat, he might be bracketed a little more often.
Prediction: Gallon, 1100 yards
Strongside linebacker Jake Ryan led the team in tackles with 88 last year, but he's out with a torn ACL until at least October. The choice comes down to middle linebacker Desmond Morgan or weakside linebacker James Ross III, and I think I'll go with sophomore Ross, whose instincts are unmatched by anyone else on the team.
Prediction: Ross, 90 tackles
Ryan also led the team in sacks with 5.5 last season, but he probably won't have time to get to the quarterback that much since he'll miss half the season or so. There's been a lot of buzz about weakside end Frank Clark's improvement this offseason, and I think he'll gather a few sacks in some early season games against the likes of Central Michigan and Akron.
Prediction: Clark, 8 sacks
The safeties aren't huge playmakers, and the best cornerback (Blake Countess) is coming off a torn ACL. Countess has good cover skills but has never been known as a true ball hawk. I think three players end up tied for this honor.
Prediction: Countess, Thomas Gordon, Raymon Taylor, 2 interceptions each
All-Big Ten First Team
Prediction: Jeremy Gallon, Taylor Lewan
Leading Scorer (non-QB, non-kicker)
I'm calling 10 touchdowns for Toussaint and Gallon rushing and receiving, respectively, but add a couple touchdowns through the air for Toussaint.
Breakout Offensive Player
There are a few options for breakout players. I'm not going to count Devin Funchess, who already showed what he can do last season, even if he didn't get targeted much toward the end of the year. This leaves some backup running backs and whoever shows up across from Gallon. I think I'll go with Jehu Chesson, who should be targeted plenty.
Breakout Defensive Player
This is a really tough choice, because I foresee a few guys stepping up this year to make some plays: Frank Clark, James Ross, and Cam Gordon. I'm most confident in Ross, but I think the other two will take large steps forward as well.
Most Disappointing Offensive Player
I think the interior of the offensive line is going to struggle, and that starts with redshirt sophomore Jack Miller. Miller will be a new starter and he's not the biggest or strongest of guys, so there will be both mental and physical issues there.
Most Disappointing Defensive Player
I think the issues at free safety will carry over from last season, when Jarrod Wilson really struggled as a backup. This year senior Courtney Avery is competing with sophomore Wilson for the job, but Avery's out for a couple weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery. Wilson has good physical abilities, but gets himself out of position too much.
The Big Finish
August 31 vs. Central Michigan: WIN. The Chippewas are a mediocre MAC team.
September 7 vs. Notre Dame: WIN. Notre Dame got lucky a lot last season, and while their defensive front seven will still be good, the offense will sputter too much.
September 14 vs. Akron: WIN. Another mediocre MAC team.
September 21 at Connecticut: WIN. If for no other reason than the fact that I saw Paul Pasqualoni at a clinic this offseason and didn't care for his attitude, I'm picking the Wolverines.
October 5 vs. Minnesota: WIN. Jerry Kill has a good history of improving teams, so I don't think it will be a cake walk, but Michigan is more talented.
October 12 at Penn State: WIN. I have a feeling Penn State will drop off a little bit after the emotion of last season carrying them a little bit. It won't be easy, but I think Michigan wins.
October 19 vs. Indiana: WIN. Indiana isn't very good at the football, but the offense will be entertaining.
November 2 at Michigan State: WIN. The Spartans will have a good defense, but they'll struggle this year on offense. Michigan is more balanced.
November 9 vs. Nebraska: LOSS. After the emotion of beating MSU and facing a pretty good team in the Cornhuskers, Michigan loses a squeaker.
November 16 at Northwestern: WIN. Michigan is getting more athletic on defense, and Jake Ryan should be back by this point to help out defensively. It might be a shootout again, but I pick the Wolverines.
November 23 at Iowa: WIN. Iowa will probably be bad.
November 30 vs. Ohio State: LOSS. Michigan just won't have the running game to keep Ohio State honest because of the mediocre interior line.
Final record: 10-2