College Football Odds: Will Michigan Finally Win Bowl Game in 2023-24 Season?


There is no question that the University of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is one of the best football coaches around, college or the NFL. There are likely only a handful of NCAA programs (Alabama, Georgia, Clemson to name three) that wouldn’t fire their current coach to hire Harbaugh.

Annually, NFL teams try to lure Harbaugh back to the professional ranks. He nearly took the Minnesota Vikings gig last year and is expected to get calls from the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts (Harbaugh played quarterback there) after this season – and maybe a few other clubs who haven’t fired their coaches yet.

Yet for some reason, Harbaugh’s record in bowl games is just 2-7 dating to his days at Stanford after No. 2 Michigan was shocked 51-45 as nearly a double-digit favorite over No. 3 TCU in the College Football Playoff national semifinals on New Year’s Eve. It’s the second year in a row U-M went out in the semifinals.

The Horned Frogs never trailed in the game and led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before a Wolverines rally came up short. Michigan’s defense entered as one of the best nationally and had been on the field for all of 15 total plays when trailing by at least seven points, the fewest in the FBS. U-M fell to 3-15 all-time under Harbaugh when trailing by at least 14 points — the wins came in 2016 vs Colorado, 2018 vs Northwestern and 2020 vs Rutgers.

Let’s break down a prop on the 2023 Michigan season already, which may or may not include Harbaugh.

U-M Will Be Loaded Again

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws against Hawaii during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Have to say this is the earliest I’ve seen a bowl prop for the next college football season, but whether Michigan wins a bowl game in 2023-24 – doesn’t matter which bowl – is +150 with no at -200. U-M’s last bowl win was the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day 2016 at the end of Harbaugh’s first season.

No doubt the Wolverines will be bowling again as they should be a preseason Top 10 team. Star running back Blake Corum might turn pro – he missed the semifinal loss injured. Even if Corum leaves, Michigan is just fine at the position with his former backup Donovan Edwards. He rushed for at least 100 yards in the final three games, including 119 vs. TCU. QB JJ McCarthy will return barring a shocking transfer, but he’ll lose top wideout Ronnie Bell.

The Michigan offensive line earned the Joe Moore Award this season, which goes to the nation’s top O-Line. Two-time All-Big Ten pick Ryan Hayes is out of eligibility. On the other line, Kris Jenkins led all Power 5 defensive tackles in run stops (29) and was first out of 286 qualified tackles in run-stop rate (15.0 percent) this season and has said he will be back.

The Wolverines open the 2023 regular season on Sept. 2 at home vs. East Carolina.

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