ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg believes Michigan could be a playoff team in 2018:
Yes, this is a projection pick, and the hype around Jim Harbaugh at Michigan hasn’t materialized so far. But Year 4 always was going to be the best chance for a breakthrough, as the roster would be filled with players Harbaugh and his staff recruited and developed. There are clear concerns, chief among them quarterback, a position that should be further along at this point. But Brandon Peters showed promise in limited action, and if the NCAA rules Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson eligible, he gives the coaches another option. The defense figures to be among the nation’s best again, even with Maurice Hurst departing, as productive players such as Rashan Gary, Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson all return. Michigan must upgrade an average offensive line, but the running game should be solid with Karan Higdon, and wideout Tarik Black’s return from injury will be big. The schedule will be very tough with trips to Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Northwestern, as well as home games with Penn State and Wisconsin.