ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan has all but dominated in its first eight games this season and has earned its highest ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 since 2006.
But the most germane rating will come when the initial College Football Playoff rankings are released at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday (ESPN).
On an ESPN teleconference Monday morning, ESPN college football analysts Joey Galloway and David Pollack projected Michigan at No. 3 in the initial rankings, behind Alabama and Clemson at 1 and 2 and ahead of Washington at No. 4.
Michigan’s schedule, Galloway said, is boosted by the play of No. 21 Colorado and No. 8 Wisconsin this season. Michigan defeated Colorado 45-28 on Sept. 17 and defeated Wisconsin 14-7 on Oct. 1.
“I’m not surprised at all they’re sitting at 8-0,” Galloway said of Michigan. “We all looked at their schedule before the season began. Everyone thought the first half of their schedule was very soft, even though Wisconsin has sort of come out of nowhere and surprised a lot of people. That has now become a good win. Colorado is becoming a pretty good team that’s surprised people and now that is a good win. We all thought they would go through the first half of their schedule pretty easily.”
Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten Conference) is No. 2 in the AP Top 25 for the second week in a row, following Saturday’s 32-23 win at Michigan State. Michigan hosts Maryland at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Michigan Stadium, and the Wolverines are off to their best start since 2006, when they were 11-0 and ranked No. 2 going into the final game of the season at Ohio State.
After Saturday’s game against Maryland, Michigan plays at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at Iowa, hosts Indiana on Nov. 19 (time TBA) and closes the regular season at noon Nov. 26 at No. 6 Ohio State.
The top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings will play in the national championship semifinals Dec. 31 in either Atlanta or Glendale, Ariz. The semifinal winners advance to the national championship game Jan. 9 in Tampa.