Michigan (0-0) at Utah (0-0)
When: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 8:30 ET
TV: FOX Sports 1
The Michigan Wolverines begin a new era with former QB Jim Harbaugh taking over the head coaching duties in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh spent the last 4 seasons in the NFL as the 49ers head coach. Prior to that, he was with Stanford for 3 years. Michigan is coming off a 5-7 season which includes a loss to this Utah team 26-10. In that game last year, Michigan never reached the red zone. Their only score came on an interception return. Michigan returns 8 starters on offense and 7 on defense. They return their top 3 rushers from last year, but lose QB Devin Gardner. Harbaugh has still not announced whether Jake Rudock or Shane Morris will start at QB on Thursday. Rudock has more experience as a transfer from Iowa, he has 34 career touchdown passes.
The Utah Utes rebounded from a 5-7 season in ’13 to a 9-4 record last year including wins over Michigan, USC, and Stanford. They were also 9-4 ATS last year including 4-0 as an away dog. They finished the season off by blowing out Colorado State 45-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl. They return 7 starters on offense including their key players at the skill positions. Kyle Whittingham will return for his 11th season in Salt Lake. He’s 84-43 overall and an incredible 7-1 in Bowl Games. Devontae Booker ran for 1,566 yards last year and 10 TD’s. Look for him and the offensive line to establish a nice running game this year.
Utah plays well in these big games against non-conference opponents. Michigan will need a few games under Harbaugh to start clicking. I like the Utes here tonight.
Pick: Utah -5.5