Jerry Hinnen: ‘Michigan Better Than People Think’

Get excited, folks.

College football is almost here.

“We’ve got less than a month,” CBSSports.com college football writer Jerry Hinnen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I saw earlier on Twitter that we are under 700 hours from the start of college football season. I think I can make it 700 hours. I think.”

Scott Ferrall then went rapid fire with Hinnen, asking for predictions on seemingly every major team in college football, starting with Notre Dame. Las Vegas predicts the Irish will win nine games this year.

Thoughts?

“Man, if it’s exactly nine, I’d expect a push,” Hinnen said. “I think I’d bet the under on that. Their schedule is tough. They got to go to Clemson, I think Georgia Tech is an extremely tough game, I don’t think Texas is going to be easy in the opener and I think Stanford is underrated at the end of that. I like Notre Dame’s experience. I like Malik Zaire, but I don’t see them as a 10-win team against that schedule.”

Vegas has Alabama at 9.5.

“Man, I’ve got them going under,” Hinnen said. “I think they’ve got so many questions on that offense. We don’t know who the quarterback is, we don’t know who’s going to catch the passes – they lost their top three receivers from a year ago – the offensive line finished 28th in yards per carry in the FBS last year, their lowest finish since 2008. I don’t think they’re going to be able to score enough points to avoid losing three games in the SEC-West, which is ridiculously deep this year.”

Auburn, meanwhile, is at 8.5

“I’ve got them going over,” Hinnen said. “I think they’re another team that could hit exactly at nine wins – a lot like Alabama. Again, a really tough slate, but I love the Will Muschamp hire. He does have pieces to work with on that defense. They can start up to three five-star recruits on the defensive line. Carl Lawson’s back and we know Gus Malzahn is going to have a phenomenal offense. Jeremy Johnson is the real deal. I think Auburn’s going to win the SEC-West and go over that 8.5.”

Hinnen believes Georgia Tech will win the ACC and that Baylor will win the Big 12.

As for the Big Ten, it’ll come down to Ohio State and Michigan State. Michigan hosts both this year, but don’t expect the Wolverines to win either, especially their annual showdown with the Buckeyes.

“Yeah, it’s way too soon,” Hinnen said. “Harbaugh’s a great coach. They’re going to be much-improved. I think they’re going to be better than some people think. I think Jake Rudock, who is transferring in from Iowa – Harbaugh is going to get a lot more out of Rudock. But all that said, they’re not on the same plane with Ohio State. I don’t think they’re going to be able to beat Michigan State at home, either. They’re going to have a nice season. They’re going to win probably eight games – maybe nine if they catch some breaks – but they’re not on the same level with Ohio State and Michigan State.”

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