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Posted on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

Phil Steele says Michigan is one of 11 teams to fit the 'national championship mold' in 2012

By Nick Baumgardner


Noted college football analyst Phil Steele says Michigan fits the national championship bill in 2012.

Melanie Maxwell |

The Michigan football team has been labeled a 2012 Big Ten favorite by several outlets for months now.

Some betting lines have Michigan as a 2-to-1 favorite to capture the league championship this season, while most others give the Wolverines a much smaller chance to win the 2012 BCS national title.

National college football analyst Phil Steele, though, definitely likes the Wolverines' chances for the latter.

Steele, who produces the always popular "Phil Steele's College Football Preview" annually, wrote Monday that Michigan is among 11 teams in America that currently fit his "national championship mold" for 2012.

Steele used extensive statistical research from 24 different stat categories for all national title winners and contenders over the past 20 years to come up with his final list of 11.

His research looked at all past championship teams' wins and losses from the previous season, offensive and defensive numbers, turnover margin and schedule strength.

Along with Michigan, Steele also lists Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford and Texas as clubs he feels have a realistic shot at winning the crown.

The research is lengthy and in depth, and can be found here.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 4:06 a.m.

It's nice that Mr. Steele thinks our Wolverines "fit the national title model" but regardless of his apparent "deep research" it would be MUCH more reassuring to see the results of his past prediction / estimates. So what is his actual track record as a prognosticator (granting that creating a "pool" of possible champions isn't real predictive ability)?? As for MSU being on Steele's list: that right there calls into question his judgement. MSU has a record: win a few vs. Michigan when Michigan is down, then return to the middle or back of the class when Michigan comes back (as they always do).


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:22 a.m.

The Spartans have far more talent on their roster than UM could even dream of. What game were you watching last October 15th? The Spartans will administer another pounding on 10/20/12. The two best teams in the BIG will once again be MSU and the BADgers. No threat coming from Hokeville! What's an over weight Ball State grad doing coaching in the Big 10? No threat.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

think Ohio St would be on that list also if they were not banned this year. Their schedule sets up favorably and allows them to improve before their big games come. I am sooo jealous of that offense. I wish we had a oc with the genious that their's has.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

ted, it's ok to leave MICHIGAN. . . PLEASE. . . just walk toward's the dim-fuzzy light of c-bus, your saviour awaits you!! you will feel better. . . we will feel better. . . it's a win-win for everybody. plus i here theo is on the other side? i'am just messing with you ted. . . GO BLUE!!!!!!

Terry Star21

Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

Michigan has as good a shot as the other ten teams or better, that's a given fact. Outsiders just don't get it, but geez - This is Michigan. The most storied college football team in history, rich with more success stories than outsiders can imagine or even count. Before each season we hear all the outside negativity, then during the season they disappear - right on cue as Michigan succeeds, making people like Michigan folk and Phil Steele continue to look like geniuses. MgoBlueForTiM....great time to be a Michigan Football Faithful.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:18 a.m.

Michigan football...legends in their own minds. One national championship since 1948. Terry you are REALLY FUNNY and you didn't even go to UMAA. Any chance that your "legendary" team will win the rematch with Appalachian State? No threat!


Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Speaking of geniuses at work--there's a fine Pure Michigan ad about U of M Football on YouTube submitted by "Forgazi". Very well done. Go Blue!


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

Oh, I totally agree with Mr. Steele's predictions/assessments. I can definitely see Blue ending as the #3 team in the Big10.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

It's less of a stretch to believe this team will win the national championship than the 2010 team that got destroyed by Mississippi State 52-14 in the last game of the year could go 11-2. That the 2010 defense could turn into the 2011 defense with the same players; Miracles do happen.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

I think you're right. Just looking at Michigan's "worst ever" three-season record and then looking at how far up they climbed in 2011 tells us that the Hoke Era may bring "a-maize-ment" to the college football world (again).


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Once Denard Robinson is gone, will Michigan have enough air and land assaults available to compete? Where's the beef? Are the new players capable of giving the increase Michigan fans have for so long been looking to see? The coaches will be under intense pressure to improve in a year where improvement doesn't seem reasonable.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

You do realize Michigan has top 5 recruiting classes coming in. They have a former 5* dual-threat QB in Devin Gardner waiting to play, as well as a 5* QB recruit, Shane Morris coming in next year.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

Once Denard Robinson is gone... haven't you noticed who his most likely replacements will be?? Nothing but UP for this team: the recruits who will play in 2013 and beyond are self-regenerating. Hoke will continue to have one of the best recruiting and coaching records in the country. @ SEC Fan: RichRod didn't have the juice to recruit the kind of talent Hoke has already gathered in. And obviously, RR's record (worst ever!) at Michigan speaks for itself. Hoke certainly deserves credit as a coach: he coached up the same 7-5 team RR had to an 11-2 contender. And he did it with LESS talent than he's already recruited in his first two attempts.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

well, UM could always re-hire RichRod for a year to recruit another 11-2 team for someone else to coach and take credit for.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

I don't like Urban Meyer or Ohio - They deserve to be given major penalties and devastating whoopings carried out against them on the football field. Notre Dame has a hot tempered disrespectful coach who's school should have quit drawing 5 star recruits decades ago. Why ND has been getting some of the best players in the country lately is beyond my comprehension. Finally, the MOOSE LODGE has never ceased to be arrogant on the grandest scale of all. Their foolish coach had the gall to say "Where's the threat?" He will soon learn to keep his big mouth shut (This is a prophecy). Michigan has a very tough schedule this season - which includes BAMA. Both Borges and Mattison will have a hard time getting the D and O LINES to perform properly. I'm NOT convinced we've finally turned the corner, but if we can get the student players to think and act more responsibly, so that they quit getting in trouble with the law, perhaps we can win 8 or 9 games this year. No more 300 pound players getting drunk and rolling on automobiles. No more law suits getting filed against promising wide receivers.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

It's always fun seeing football stuff in the summer. How many days till Alabama? Go Blue!


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

What pure, absolute rubbish! Why, Mr. Steele doesn't even pick an SEC team to be in the National Championship game! hrrrumph. :-) fyi, before ya'll get too excited about this list of the Magic 11...Mr. Steele lists his bowl predictions: Rose Bowl: Wisconsin versus USC Capital One: Michigan (Big 10 #2) versus Georgia (SEC #2) Sugar Bowl: MSU versus LSU Championship Game: Florida St. versus Oklahoma


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

Well...if Steele is right at least there will be some talent playing in the Sugar Bowl. Last year's game was a DISGRACE! UGA would pound on the Walverines in Orlando but Michigan will not be good enough to get the #3 Big 10 bowl seed. Dream on....LOL! No threat!


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

dittos to Sunset from Sunset Beach


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

So true Sunset. Totally agree.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

This is what Steele does, and he does it better than anyone. This doesn't mean Michigan is guaranteed to contend for a title; it just means that he expects about 50-80% of the BCS to come from this group of teams. What's nice about Steele is that he isn't one of those mugwumps who has an allegiance to one conference or one school. He puts out a great preview magazine and makes a lot of money providing solid advice to gamblers. I read the previews and I avoid the gambling. Though if I gambled, I would invest in his weekly newsletter.

Howard the Duck

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Mr Steele is a legend in his own mind!


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Really? Would you care to make it interesting?


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Auburn won it all in 2010 and the year before they were 8-5. Most every team in the county that has won a national championship didn't look like a national championship team the year before. Basically, every team in the country has amazing seniors and upperclassmen that look great "and can never be replaced..." Of course, these same upperclassmen were once sophomores and freshman. They say we can win it all, I say - WHY NOT!? Here's how it works: Humans have a hard time imagining a team losing that doesn't lose very often. Urban Meyer's own Florida teams let him down in every year but the years he won it all... especially when we wooped 'em...


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Just the fact that we are in this discussion shows how far Hoke and company came from that 52-14 debacle in the Gator Bowl. I have no idea if we are good enough to compete--the loss on both lines worries me a lot, and may be a significant deterrent to national success. But--the tone set by Hoke that his expectations are high, and that he doesn't really make excuses--is refreshing and gives me hope that anything is possible. None of this "well, in 3 years we may compete...". That is important for a winning program, and that is why Michigan belongs on that list.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

I love the blue, but this is a pretty unrealistic opinion. Our D lines do not have talent or depth (especially on defense)...and we are weak at receiver, which will make us too one dimensional. Of course, the coaching job done with last years D gives me optimism that we will be better than people expect. I do think we will be title contenders by 2014 because The recruiting train is rolling big time right now, and I don't see it slowing down.

Blue Marker

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

I like 2015-16. The reason? The schedule. Even years have us going to South Bend, Lincoln and Columbus. Odd years have all those games at home. Shane will be a Junior along with all the other talent Hoke & Co. have brought in.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

I guess we will find out where we stand at the first game. A win is going to put us right up there. A close loss means every game on the schedule will need a good whoopin to put us back in consideration. A bad loss will be a stab in the heart with a pencil.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

aarox: Play the best. Beat the best. Be the best. Prove it on the field. Football should not be about contriving to play a schedule designed to give you the best record. If we are to prove we are champions, we want a schedule that takes on the toughest competition. Maybe we win. Maybe we lose. But at the end of the season if we are 13-0 there will be no doubt about our right to play for the championship, or the quality of Big Ten football.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

I don't like opening with Alabama and have said as much before. Saban does not need a big win here. The south is SEC-crazy and has little respect for the Big Ten. He can and will treat this as a warm up game if the result is anything other than a blowout. A close loss is the most likely result but is a no-win for us as far as I can tell.

Howard the Duck

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Even Hoke admitted that UM was not just losing, but getting their arses kicked by the Spartans. To expect a national title caliber turnaround, with basically the same personnel in place, is at the height of lunacy!


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

Howard, we are the most overconfident set of fans the midwest has ever seen. Get over it.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

Keep hoping, keep coming to this site out of fear, keep counting days of rare msu victories (30.7%), and always keep fearful of Michigan. Good job !


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Well Michigan State is going to lose in their opener to Boise State so MSU will be out from day one.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Well it's worse than that, Michigan has lost its best and most experienced linemen. The reasonable man does not expect them to match last year's record.

Big Tex

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Bwa ha ha!! Keep building up the hype; it'll be oh so delicious watching the mighty Wolvies stumble to a 7-5 record! No cake sked this year, boys; no 8 games at home! All of a sudden UM fans will be recalling their initial regret at getting stuck with "Third Choice" Hoke as their coach. OSU needs a coach, and who do they get? The best one in the country. UM needs a coach and they can only hire a guy with a losing record who'll bring his team back to earth this fall. But keep hyping 'em, media! Love it!!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:10 a.m.

Michigan does not have the physicality to contend for the Big 10 championship much less the national championship. In less than 60 days the "hype" will come to a crashing end. Get ready with the excuses. I will be laughing my butt off as your team's is being kicked. No threat at all!


Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

I'm a UM alumnus and as big of a UM fan as anyone out there, but the fact is that Urban Meyer has been the head coach against Michigan only once in his career, while at Florida. He did not coach against UM while at Utah (2003-2004). Michigan played Utah in 2002 and 2008.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

SEC Fan - Meyer has faced Michigan twice (0-2). I see you just conveniently just ignore his Capital One bowl loss to Michigan in 2008. This is the same Florida team that had a heisman winner in Tim Tebow, and Percy Harvin. And yes, that was the Michigan team that lost to Appy St.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

@Terry, Please list the 3 games you say Meyer lost to Michigan. Quit making up fantasies.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

Your attempt at humor a bit misleading. Remember; Texas keeps chasing Michigan on the win list, Hoke was the 'only' coach to be offered a contract, urban meyer still 0-3 against Michigan (looking for 0-4) and Michigan has as good as any of those other 10 teams to win it all. Just the true facts.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

@Blue, Michigan beat Utah in 2002, which was McBride's last season as their head coach. Meyer took over the Utes in 2003. love these Big10 "facts".


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Nothing like an article like this to bring out the trolls. Unlike some other recent coaching hires in the conference, Hoke has class, integrity, character, vision, and can recruit with the best of them for good measure. Any coach who can take a 6-6 team that got run off the field in the Gator Bowl, and turn them into an 11-2 team in one year with basically the same players knows how to coach. And that's also transforming one of the poorer defenses in Div. IA into a top 10 team in total defense. Third choice? Whatever. He was the best choice.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Are you saying he's the best coach in the Big Ten? I saw that before, and didn't believe it. If you can judge a man as great on the basis of never coaching a game in the Conference, I guess you can judge him as not-so-hot on the basis of two games.

Blue Marker

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Meyer is 0-2 vs. Michigan. He lost to Lloyd Carr as head coach of both Utah and Florida. His only bowl loss I might add. I make a certain judgment whenever I read a post that starts off with written laughter. Due to strict comment guidelines I won't reveal what my judgment is of such posts. Are there really people still left who doubt Hoke was the right hire? If so, how do they explain last year? I know....fluke.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

@Forever. meyer has faced UM only once. I guess I fail to see your point. That's like saying Hoke is undefeated against the buckeyes. Big deal.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

"OSU needs a coach, and who do they get? The best one in the country." has "inner circle" Urban ever beaten Michigan?


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

There's a lot of hype building over this season and it's going to be a serious challenge to match last year's result, much less improve on it. I hope M fans will keep expectations in line with a significantly more difficult schedule and the loss of some key performers. Go Blue!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

But BornIn, we already did that LAST year! Do we have to do it again?

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

We can enjoy Hoke restoring dignity and excellence to the Michigan program without dumping on Sparty. Maybe Mark Dantonio is their Fielding Yost and this is the beginning of consistent excellence in East Lansing as well. It would be nice to have a second rivalry approaching that of Ohio State. I'm a little tired of Notre Dame.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

Were MSU and Michigan not in the same state they would not consider us rivals. We'd just be a team that beats them roughly twice as often. We don't consider them rivals. Yes they have beaten us four years running. We still own them over the last ten years. The ND rivalry is old and real. While we did not play them for large segments of our history, since that game was reinstated the underlying rivalry has been reaffirmed strengthened by ND homerism in the national media. MSU is NOT our rival. Historically they have mostly been a tough Saturday on the way to "The Game". I acknowledge that they have had a good run. It's about to end.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

Mick , Michigan's second biggest rivalry to OSU is not Michigan St, Its ND


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

well said. I get a little uncomfortable calling MSU a rival after so many years of "big two." my State fan friends see Wisky as their real rival at this point. We will have to recreate the rivalry after this many years.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

I've always been a little tired of ND, but I still love that game...and I wouldn't have given up last years epic for, well, for an immediate end to the 2012 election.

Blue Marker

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

I love the ND rivalry. I think the whole country does. You just can't get more tradition on one field!


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

I don't consider ND a rival. MSU is just our state rival.

Spartan Bob

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I know it disappoints many fans in East Lansing to see the Maize and Blue make such a quick turnaround in just a brief period of time. No one really expected "little brother" to continue to compete for the conference championship. It kind of reminds me of when Northwestern tasted a few years of success under Randy Walker in the early 2000's. But now they have since returned once again to being a doormat in the Big 10 just like MSU will shortly.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

Spartan Bob, did you even read the article?


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

You do realize MSU is on this same list?