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Four Phil Steele Facts: Michigan Wolverines

Numbers never lie. What do they tell us about U of M?

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Phil Steele puts out the best college football preview magazine every year. It’s not even a contest. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of his first publication we at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are going to find four interesting facts about each team on Wisconsin’s schedule, including the Badgers, and break them down for you.

Phil, we love your magazine and we also love your mustache.

NUMBER 1: 18

The Wolverines have lost 18 of their last 19 road games against opponents ranked in the AP Top-25. If the Badgers are 2-0 heading into the conference opener for both teams there is a chance that UW is ranked and, as science has clearly proven, they will then beat Michigan. Both teams are coming off bye weeks so everyone should be ready to get after it once kickoff rolls around.


This is kind of cheating, but don’t get mad, I think it may be interesting! Over the last three years, three defensive statistics have gotten worse for the Wolverines.

Michigan Defensive Stats

Year Pts. Allowed Rushing Yds. Allowed Total Yds. Allowed
Year Pts. Allowed Rushing Yds. Allowed Total Yds. Allowed
2018 19.4 127 275
2017 18.8 121 271
2016 14.1 119 262

They even had nine starters returning last year and the numbers still got worse. For the 2019 season, Michigan has five starters returning but will be playing some inexperienced guys up front on the defensive line. Their game prior to Wisconsin? Army and their bruising triple-option attack. Hopefully the Cadets soften up the Wolverines for UW.


We like to make fun of Michigan around here, and for good reason...they’re awful, but they are going to be pretty good this year. Phil Steele has six Wolverines on his first team all-conference list including quarterback Shea Patterson and offensive linemen Ben Bredeson and Jon Runyan. The Wolverines have a new offensive coordinator (Josh Gattis) who will run more up-tempo stuff and Patterson should thrive behind a veteran, stout line.

NUMBER 4: .500

For some strange reason, Harbaugh is 4-4 coming off of a bye week as head coach of the Wolverines. On the other hand, Paul Chryst is 6-2 coming off of a bye. I did a little more digging to see which of these two was the norm and I was surprised by what I found: Mark Dantonio (12-11), James Franklin (4-7), Kirk Ferentz (17-17), Scott Frost (0-1), PJ Fleck (1-2), Pat Fitzgerald (7-14!!!) and Jeff Brohm (3-1).

Is Paul Chryst some sort of Bye Week Wizard????? Probably.


That’s the amount of points Michigan allowed Ohio State to drop right on their maize and blue domes last year. It’s the most points that the Wolverines have ever allowed during regulation in their 1,000 year history of being smug jackasses.