The Michigan Wolverines football team had a memorable 2021 season, beating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten Conference Championship and playing in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines came up short in the playoffs as they lost to the eventual national champion Georgia Bulldogs. However, the question now is can Michigan be in the national title mix next season? Former Wolverines standout and current ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard recently spoke to PopCulture.com to share his thoughts about the future of the team.
"Well, I think they got a good recipe right now," Howard told PopCulture. "They just need to add a couple more pieces. I mean, what they did, they came into the 2021 season with an identity. They had a fresh new coaching staff in certain areas and especially defensively brought on Mike Macdonald, who was a linebacker coach with the Baltimore Ravens. He became Jim Harbaugh's defensive coordinator."
Howard continued: "They also had some new coaches on offense, Mike Hart, Sherrone Moore, offensive line coach, and some other pieces. So I think now they have a good nucleus of coaches who are young, energetic, great teachers, wonderful coaches. And they can really reach these young men. So I just think there's need a couple more pieces here and there and they should be okay."
For Michigan, it was the first time the team won a game against Ohio State in 10 years. The Wolverines won the Big Ten for the first time since 2004 and it was also the first time they qualified for the College Football Playoff. Michigan is led by head coach Jim Harbaugh, who won the Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award.
It looks like the Wolverines could be in the hunt for a national title next year. But Howard also revealed other teams will be looking to be No. 1 in 2022. "I do think that now we may start to get other team up against Oklahoma, who was the team that you would normally pencil in," Howard said. "Lincoln Riley is out. He's at USC. Brent Venables is the head coach. It's his first time that I'm aware of becoming a head coach. He's a long-time defensive coordinator for Clemson. And now you look at Clemson, they did not look good this past season. And now, Dabo [Swinney] has lost both of his coordinators. So, that's not easy to rebound from, when you got this long-time work relationship with these coaches. Now they're gone, and you're coming off of a bad season, too. I mean, bad by their standards. So, I think the door is starting to open up for other teams to get into the College Football Playoff."