ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan completed its second consecutive 10-win season but did so on a down note, with a 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Landof10 is grading how Michigan (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten Conference) fared this season. In this installment, we examine how Michigan finished overall.
Michigan was in position to be a contender. The Wolverines had a roster of 43 seniors, one of the country’s most dynamic players in linebacker Jabrill Peppers and returned All-Americans in cornerback Jourdan Lewis and tight end Jake Butt.
|By the numbers||2016||Big Ten rank||Overall rank|
|Total yards allowed/game||261.8||1st||2nd|
|S&P+ offensive rating||33.8||3rd||40th|
|S&P+ defensive rating||7.7||1st||2nd|
|S&P+ special teams rating||0.7||T10||39th|
The only questions going into the season were at linebacker, where Michigan lost its three starters, and at quarterback, where Michigan lost Jake Rudock, who threw for 3,017 yards and 20 touchdowns in his only season at Michigan as a graduate transfer.
Michigan often bludgeoned opponents with its strengths in its second consecutive 10-win season.
The Wolverines forged their spot as one of the nation’s top defenses, cultivated depth on the defensive line and had a productive secondary led by cornerbacks Lewis and Channing Stribling, who combined to defend 30 passes. The Wolverines had a consistent quarterback in Wilton Speight and a deep running back corps. Michigan won its first nine games of the season, including six by at least 33 points, and put itself in the conversation to be among the nation’s top four teams in the College Football Playoff, ranked as high as third.
While Michigan had a loaded, dominant team, it fell short of the goal of winning a national title.
In fact, a controversial 30-27 loss Nov. 26 at Ohio State eliminated Michigan from College Football Playoff championship contention and denied the Wolverines a Big Ten East Division crown. Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2004 (when it split the conference title with Iowa), and hasn’t won a Big Ten East title since the conference was split into divisions prior to the 2011 season. But with so much talent, should a team like Michigan have faltered this season?
When it faltered, it faltered late in the season. A 14-13 loss Nov. 12 at Iowa hampered Michigan’s playoff hopes, and the loss at Ohio State sent Michigan to sixth in the CFP rankings, and, ultimately, to the Orange Bowl — where Florida State defeated the Wolverines.
The common denominator in the losses to the Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes: Michigan lost a two-point lead at Iowa with less than six minutes left in regulation, losing on a last-second field goal. Two weeks later, Michigan lost a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter at Ohio State.
Championship-caliber teams close out pivotal games. Michigan didn’t.
Overall grade: B-plus.
Check out the grades for other aspects of Michigan’s season
RELATED: See Michigan’s midseason overall grades.