Once again, Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines enter this season as either the favorites or co-favorites in the Big Ten. With Shea Patterson at quarterback, one of the best wide receiver rooms in the country and Don Brown in charge of the defense, how could this team possibly end up like one of those disappointing Harbaugh teams of yesteryear? Well, like many Michigan teams, there are some significant holes lying beneath the glitzy surface that could force them to suffer through another year of unfulfilled expectations.
3. The Defense is Depleted
Brown's unit last year featured two players selected in the first round of the 2019 Draft (Rashan Gary, Devin Bush) as well as several other starters (Chase Winovich, David Long) who were picked on Day 2. This leaves the Wolverines' defense led by safety Khaleke Hudson and pass rusher Kwity Paye. Will they be a solid unit? Of course. Will they be as dominant as the group that carried them to wins against Big Ten foes? No.
2. Shea Patterson's Limitations
Patterson had a solid season in Ann Arbor (64 percent completion, 22 TDs, seven picks), but it still looks a bit disappointing considering what was expected of him. His arm strength was merely average, and he had issues forcing balls through the November Michigan air. His downfield accuracy and pocket presence were also far below par for a guy who had first round buzz heading into the season. Without Karan Higdon or Chris Evens this year, Patterson's weaknesses could be exposed and cost Michigan a win or two.
1. History Repeats Itself
The 2019 Wolverines are almost identical to most of Harbaugh's teams that he's had during his time at Michigan. They have average to above-average quarterback play, NFL caliber receivers and offensive lineman and a great defense. In addition, they enter as the favorite because the media is convinced that this year is the one where Ohio State and Penn State finally fall off the cliff. Harbaugh hasn't proven he could fulfill those expectations in his first three years, so why should we assume he's got it figured out this time around?