CFB: After 4-0 start, Can Michigan go undefeated?

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
25/09/2023/
NCAAF

Highlights

  • Powered by Heisman candidate quarterback J.J. McCarthy Michigan has won its first four games by an average of 26 points.
  • The last Wolverines team to finish undefeated was in 1997, when they won the national title.
  • Of their remaining eight regular season games, only three teams currently have winning records.

Whispers are starting in Ann Arbor.

This Michigan football team is legit. It looks like they have something special going on, maybe even perfect.

After a 24-point drubbing of Rutgers Saturday, Coach Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are 4-0. They are the only college football team in Michigan with an unblemished record. Michigan State, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan are all 2-2. Western Michigan is 1-3.

Michigan online sportsbooks have open markets on everything involving Michigan football. The Wolverines remain +400 at BetMGM and FanDuel to win the CFB playoff, and there are even odds on whether the Wolverines can (gulp) go undefeated for the first time in 26 years.

Can the Wolverines Run the Table?

Of course, staying healthy has to be the biggest goal for the Wolverines. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy has dipped some in the Heisman odds. He was tenth on the board at BetMGM at +3500 behind USC quarterback Caleb Williams, among others, but on the field, you can’t argue with success.

McCarthy has been steady – even with Harbaugh serving a three-game suspension – he’s thrown for 915 yards and running back Blake Corum has eight TD runs.
The Wolverines next five games are all winnable: Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue. Each school is 2-2 (other than 1-3 Purdue) and going nowhere. That gets Michigan to 9-0.

The End Game

Expect Michigan to be favored by double digits in each of their next five games. Michigan currently has a 16-game win streak in the Big 10 and has won 19 straight games at home – their longest home win streak under Harbaugh.

But then, just as the autumn leaves start to drop, Michigan’s schedule becomes a gauntlet, taking on powerhouse Penn State, who is 4-0 and coming off a shutout of Iowa, then comes surprising 4-0 Maryland. The Terps have gotten good play from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (the younger brother of Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins). Taulia’s numbers – right now – are better than McCarthy’s.

Then comes to annual war with Ohio State, who needed a touchdown with one second left to beat Notre Dame in a thriller Saturday. Michigan/Ohio State remains one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

The Playoff Powerhouses

Michigan reached the CFB Playoff last season, losing a heartbreaker to TCU in the semifinals, and then TCU got destroyed by SEC champ Georgia. In college football, the SEC is still King.
Georgia is still the No. 1 team in the country, seeking a third straight national title, but the SEC as a whole doesn’t seem as strong as usual. Alabama is struggling at quarterback. Florida already has a bad loss to Utah, but then rose up and beat Tennessee, LSU has a good quarterback in Jayden Daniels, but a young defense.

Who else is out there? Washington and Oregon look like the powers out west. Florida State took a big step towards an ACC title with a win over Clemson Saturday. Texas is No. 3, but we won’t belong the Longhorns are back until they prove it.

Michigan has the experience in key spots to win it all. A loss to Penn State or Ohio State probably (you never know) knocks them out of the CFP, but win those two games and Michigan fans can see a perfect season coming together.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.