High expectations and Michigan football go hand-in-hand, but it appears that the hype train heading into Jim Harbaugh’s fourth season in Ann Arbor is gaining some steam.

It’s not a shocker that former Wolverine great Desmond Howard thinks big things of Big Blue. In fact, he has Michigan going all the way to the College Football National Championship at winning it, according to his recent predictions on ESPN.com.

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That may seem like a huge homer pick and again, it’s not shocking coming from the former Heisman Trophy winner, but it turns out No. 21 is not alone in his high expectations for the Wolverines.

Perusing through the rest of the picks there are a handful of college football experts that can see Michigan making quite a splash this season. Nobody else expects the Wolverines to win it all, but it’s well worth noting that five other ESPN experts can see Harbaugh’s team making the College Football Playoff: Todd Blackledge, Dan Orlovsky, Rod Gilmore, Cole Cubelic and Marty Smith

Of course, if Michigan wants to do anything worth mentioning this season it all starts in Week 1 against the No. 12 ranked Fighting Irish. The Wolverines have had a surprisingly tough time against ranked opponents in the Harbaugh era — especially on the road — so starting the season off with a big win in South Bend would go a long way towards pushing the Wolverines towards contention.

Even making the Big Ten Championship would be a milestone for Harbaugh at Michigan, but it’s not as if his team doesn’t have plenty of chances to prove that they can play at the highest level this season. Along with Notre Dame, other currently ranked schools on Michigan’s schedule include No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 10 Penn State, and No. 5 Ohio State.

Three of those aforementioned games are on the road.