ESPN has sort of been chomping at the bit to heep praise on the guy. He is a heck of a coach but they were ready to nearly appoint them Big Ten Champs before the season started
No, ESPN was not close to picking Michigan to win the Big Ten.
They had them ranked 7th in the Big Ten, 4th in the East Division. Their preseason ranking said: "The defense should be solid. The offense? There's plenty of work to do. Jim Harbaugh should instill some toughness on that side of the ball. But what's the ultimate ceiling for a team without any bona fide stars?"
In fact, no Big Ten writer predicted better than 3rd in the Big Ten East. Every writer predicted their record between 8-4 and 6-6.