Pour up the Haterade and enjoy your seat at the 2022 Michigan Football Player Hater’s Ball — the first of what will hopefully be an annual event at Saturday Tradition meant to tell you how your team will fall drastically short this year.

It’s time to knock the Wolverines down a few notches and come back to a heavily and negatively skewed reality.

Now, of course, this is all meant to be tongue-in-cheek — not some hit piece like some other guys do it. We’re just having some fun while being skeptical … because … well, there has to be equal balance, right?

Note: Michigan will be good this year. But just play along with the following what-ifs that could, in theory, stall Michigan during this upcoming season. To continue the cynical tone, here is some free ammo for the dyed-in-the-wool Wolverines haters to use throughout the season. You are all very welcome.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming … 

No way Michigan repeats as Big Ten champs, makes history again

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Wolverines won back-to-back Big Ten titles, winning it outright in 2003 and sharing the crown with Iowa in 2004. The last time UM stood alone for consecutive seasons as the league’s premier squad? Take a minute to guess …

Answer: 1991 and 1992; the Wolverines went 8-0 and 6-0-2, respectively.

Despite taking major leaps toward national supremacy coach Jim Harbaugh’s going-on-8-year tenure, it’d be almost insane to project Michigan as a repeat B1G champion. According to ESPN’s FPI, Michigan is on schedule for a 9.5-win season. Michigan hasn’t had back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2015 and 2016, Harbaugh’s first 2 in Ann Arbor.

Per the FPI, Michigan has a 7.2% chance of winning the Big Ten and a 9.9% chance of winning the East Division.

Put all of that together: Slim chances to win league and division, the fact that it’s been 6 years since the Wolverines had back-to-back 10-win seasons (10 or more will absolutely be necessary to win B1G in 2022), and the historical gut-punch of it having been 30 years since UM has won the Big Ten twice in a row.

Yeah, choke down that Haterade, Eternally Optimistic Fan. Might not taste great, but it packs some punch: AKA the truth, although delivered in an overly player-hating tone… just play along, though. This piece is meant to irk some folks with some snarky doses of reality.

Repeating history just is not happening this year.

Unless the stars align in miraculous fashion, Ohio State completely forgets how to play football, and the likes of Michigan State and Penn State fail to charge toward the top … well, then maybe — just maybe — there will be a back-to-back B1G title championship celebration in Ann Arbor.

Needless to say, there won’t be a consecutive College Football Playoff appearance … and we don’t even have to mention this last piece of info, but we will: Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State in consecutive years since 1999 and 2000. Even the oldest of Wolverines were barely even around when that happened.

Their parents, most likely, were graduating high school or in their early 20s. They might remember Michigan’s glory, but the current players don’t have a clue. Will they establish their mark and do it even bigger in 2022?

No, they won’t.

Harbaugh is gone after 2022

Harbaugh is in the midst of his longest coaching tenure, entering Year 8 at Michigan. He spent 4 years at Stanford and 3 at San Diego State. Prior to joining UM, he was the coach of the San Francisco 49ers for 4 years.

It’s time for a change. Harbaugh has to be getting bored, right?

Now, if you’ve ever read my stuff, you know that this is a major stretch for me to write. I’ve been a Harbaugh advocate. He’s perfect for Michigan … but with this annual NFL talk, well … sometimes even the rumors start to sound like potential truth. I don’t think Harbaugh will leave after this fall, but I’m just giving the Finebaums of the world something to work with this season. They can thank me later.

Yeah, that’s it. He’s gone after this year.

Tuck Comin’ for 3

Mel Tucker is the only MSU coach to ever win his first 2 games against the Wolverines. Tucker, now considered one of the best coaches in the game, will become the first Spartans coach to beat Michigan during his first 3 attempts. Let’s just call it right now. The Haterade is really taking effect, so I can’t necessarily be held accountable for this prediction.

Super Sophomores

Yeah, I can’t even lie, this part is difficult to even fake-believe as I write it: But the hater has to come out, so I’m going to say that Michigan’s star sophomore RB Donovan Edwards, WR Andrel Anthony and QB JJ McCarthy won’t live up to their potential. They all had great starts, but come on, are they really going to make that coveted sophomore leap that Harbaugh always talks about?

Linebacker Junior Colson was a Freshman All-American in 2021. Did he already peak? To follow the pessimistic tone of this piece, we’re going with yes.

One of the four will make that leap toward stardom. The other three will have to wait.

Worst-case scenario?

On paper, Michigan has a favorable schedule, opening with 4 at home before going on the road to Iowa (where UM gets iffy sometimes) and Indiana. Michigan will lose one of those, getting its first L of the season (assuming it gets through its easy non-con schedule without a scratch).

So we’re looking at 5-1 team going into Penn State and Michigan State weeks. Both games are in Ann Arbor, but Michigan won’t win both. It’s possible UM could be 5-3 before it heads east to Rutgers, assuming all the negatives in the galaxy come together and hinder progress.

Fans want a perfect season … well, the irrational fans. Logical fans can see 11-1 as a best-case scenario, or even 10-2. But we’re here to rain on the parade, so 8-4 is going to be as good as it gets for the Wolverines.

Nobody escapes the Player Hater’s Ball without insult, and the Wolverines have been thoroughly trashed throughout this piece. Will they prove this comical and skeptical piece to be true? Probably not.

But they better come close, because I’m going to hate Twitter this fall.

Thanks for reading along, having fun and digesting some facts that have been heavily skewed in effort to down Michigan. Have a great day!