From May 27 to July 3, Insider's college football experts will preview the season for the 25 teams with the best chance of making the inaugural College Football Playoff, based on Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections. This is the entry for the Michigan Wolverines.
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Projected finish: 8-4 (5-3)
Chance to make playoff: 3 percent
Chance to win Big Ten: 6 percent
Toughest games: Sept. 6 at Notre Dame (37 percent); Oct. 25 at Michigan State (28 percent); Nov. 29 at Ohio State (26 percent)
Why they'll make the playoff
1. Doug Nussmeier's offensive makeover
From Lloyd Carr's "traditional Michigan offense" to Rich Rodriguez's decidedly non-traditional Michigan offense to Brady Hoke's somewhere-in-between approach, it has been quite the schematic roller coaster for the offenses of Ann Arbor. In the hopes of settling things down and finding an identity, Hoke dismissed offensive coordinator Al Borges and replaced him in January with Doug Nussmeier, who was hired away from Alabama, where he coached after stints at Washington and Fresno State. Almost immediately, Wolverines offensive players started gushing over their new coordinator's intensity and attention to detail. Even before the new game plan has been fully implemented, the hire has already led to a badly needed attitude boost.