Following two consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff, Michigan football has returned to national prominence under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The 2023 season should be another opportunity for the Michigan Wolverines to reach their goals of defeating Ohio State, winning a Big Ten title, and making the CFP, this time with an eye on winning a national title.
Fans of the Maize and Blue can get odds as lucrative as +1200 on the Wolverines to win the 2024 College Football Championship. That’s the number available at Caesars Michigan sportsbook.
Michigan Wolverines CFP Odds for 2023-24 Season
These top Michigan sportsbooks have odds for the 2023-24 College Football Playoff title available under NCAA Football Futures bets. Here is how each sportsbook lists Michigan’s odds to win it all next season.
This means a Michigan fan could wager $100 with Caesars Sportsbook on the Wolverines to win the next CFP title, and if that wager wins, they would receive $1,200.
Michigan ranks fourth among the favorites to win next season’s championship. At all four sportsbooks, Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State rank ahead of the Wolverines. At Caesars, USC also ranks ahead of Michigan.
Caesars Michigan is offering up to a $1,250 Free Bet for new users. That means, after making a deposit of as little as $5, you can place your first wager, and if it loses, you’ll get as much as $1,250 of that wager total back should it fail to win.
Jim Harbaugh’s NFL Flirtation Clouds Michigan’s Future
For the umpteenth time, NFL rumors are floating around coach Jim Harbaugh this offseason. The Michigan alum has seemingly waved them aside, telling reporters recently, “I expect to be coaching Michigan enthusiastically next fall.”
But on Tuesday, Jan. 10, it was reported that Harbaugh had interviewed with the Denver Broncos and was a “top candidate” for that job.
Should Harbaugh return to the NFL, where he posted the fifth-best winning percentage for a head coach since 1930, his absence would be felt in Ann Arbor. Yes, a culture has been established at Michigan since Harbaugh took the job before the 2015 season. But, without his khaki pants on the sideline, can the Wolverines maintain their resurgence in the Big Ten and nationally?
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How Good Will Wolverines be in 2023?
The best news for Wolverines rooters for 2023 will be the return of quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards this fall. The trio is not only the talented foundation of the Michigan offense, but it also provides unbridled leadership.
McCarthy will be in his junior year, coming off a 22-to-5 touchdown-to-interception season, and a 12-1 record as a starter. His fiery determination was crucial in Michigan’s win over the Buckeyes in Columbus, and McCarthy clearly has the respect of his teammates. While Michigan doesn’t stress the passing game, McCarthy could be a Heisman Trophy candidate next season. The U-M single-season passing record of 3,331 yards (by John Navarre), might be in jeopardy, as well.
Edwards was the protagonist of the Michigan ground attack following an injury to Corum. The sophomore ran for nearly 1,000 yards in 11 games and had an impressive 7.1-yard-per-carry average. With Michigan’s offensive line sure to be filled with Sumo-like athletes, Edwards will be able to scamper for loads of yards in 2023.
But the Wolverines have to be thrilled that Corum is returning to Ann Arbor for his senior year. The last time we saw the RB, he was idle on the sideline, shelved with an injury. He did not appear in the Big Ten title game, nor the CFP loss to TCU, and only carried the ball twice against OSU in the regular season finale.
Corum is a difficult man to tackle, and he has explosive speed. Playing behind a Joe Moore Award finalist O-line, he ran for 1,463 yards (5.9 per carry) and scored 18 touchdowns. Healthy again for his senior season, the All-American may threaten Tim Biakabutuka’s school record of 1,818 yards in a season.
The keystone to Michigan’s success the last two seasons has been defense. Oh, how Bo Schembechler would love this iteration of the Wolverines. In 2021 the defense was eighth in the nation in the fewest points allowed. Last year the unit finished seventh. The Wolverines especially proved to be adaptable by making adjustments at halftime. In 2022, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s unit allowed seven points or fewer in the second half nine times in 14 games. Much of the “Michigan is a second-half team” narrative stems from the ability of the defense to stifle opponents over the last 30 minutes.
What if the Wolverines are even better in 2023? We already know McCarthy, Corum, and Edwards will return, but other important personnel should be in the Maize and Blue again, too, and emerging players will make their way into the headlines.
It remains to be seen whether All-American center Olu Oluwatimi, a Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy winner, will return for his last season of eligibility. The defensive line will likely see three important pass rushers return in 2023, led by Jaylen Harrell. The linebacking corps will improve with the arrival of former Nebraska standout Ernest Hausmann via the transfer portal.
With receivers Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson probably leaving campus, that means Darrius Clemons can step into the No. 1 pass catcher spot. He flashed potential in 2022 and has the flair and run-after-catch ability to be a favorite target for McCarthy.
OSU has to travel to Ann Arbor in 2023, which will favor Harbaugh’s team. Michigan will face its toughest road challenges (perhaps it’s only regular season challenges) at Penn State and Michigan State. Also helpful for Michigan will be the fact that Ohio State will be training a new quarterback on the job, as will a few other national powers, should U-M get back into the CFP.
But with the last two seasons as a barometer, anything less than an appearance (and their first win) in the College Football Playoff would be disappointing for Michigan next season.
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri