clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yup. Michigan has the second best 2016 national championship odds at the moment

*thinking emoji*

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If all the chatter surrounding satellite camps, recruiting graphics, and all the other minutiae orbiting Jim Harbaugh's extremely prolific self promotional early run as Michigan's head coach hasn't gotten to you, just wait until we get to the football part.

Before we do though, at least one prominent Las Vegas sportsbook is assuming the hype is real -- or at least that enough UM fans believe it is.

Per ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, one of the largest in the world, has the Wolverines at 7-1 favorites to win next January's College Football Playoff national championship. That checks in as second best in the country, behind only Nick Saban and defending national champion Alabama, who have 6-1 odds. Ohio State finds themselves not too terribly far behind Michigan in a three way tie for third at 8-1 odds. The Buckeyes are joined by Clemson and Oklahoma.

So what does this mean? Is Michigan materially better than Ohio State? While the Buckeyes have outrecruited Michigan consistently enough to give them a meaningful talent advantage, they haven't done so to such a degree that a perfect storm of attrition and youth could lend to Harbaugh's best shot at revenge after losing by 29 at home in his The Game debut.

Michigan's defense should be one of the best in the country under its new engineer, former Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown. Though Brown's never coached outside of the mid-Atlantic at any point in his career, his Eagles defense last year was the country's most stout, despite having virtually no help on the opposing side of the ball during a 3-9 campaign.

The primary unknown for the Wolverines is their signal caller. Finally eligible transfer John O'Korn, he of the "he's even better than Jake Rudock in practice" fan gossip, followed a prolific freshman season in a pass happy offense at the University of Houston by falling off a cliff to such a degree that he was eventually benched for a wide receiver. While Jim Harbaugh's proven his quarterback whisperer skills are top notch, after turning virtually unheard of Josh Johnson into an NFL QB and a mediocre Big Ten QB in Rudock into a late round NFL Draft pick in a matter of months, O'Korn wasn't even the top quarterback selected by his teammates in an intra-squad draft for this past March's 2016 Spring Game.

That said, goodness is their schedule ever so forgiving. Assuming the Wolverines are even to tap a replacement level quarterback, it would take a lot going wrong for Michigan not to be unscathed heading into their end of the season matchup against Ohio State. Even if they had another black swan event loss akin to last year's other rivalry loss against Michigan State, it makes a lot of sense to think they'd be well positioned to beat Ohio State and claim the Big Ten East divisional crown.

Should Buckeye fans worry? Probably not yet. It's May and even Urban Meyer doesn't fully know what he has in his team yet. Assuming a bit of good luck and some maturation and development from last year's team to this, even if the Buckeyes drop a game to, say, Oklahoma out of conference and a team-to-be-determined in league play, OSU should be very capable of continuing Jim Harbaugh's winless ways as a head coach against Ohio State.

Of course should UM play to the level of their lofty Vegas odds, you might want to see if your friendly neighborhood IT person can go ahead and blacklist all relevant Michigan related destination sites by no later than this November. Better safe than sorry.