Ranking Big Ten Opening Week Games-ELITE Tier

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5. MICHIGAN @ UTAH (Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. CT) Fox Sports 1

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Remember this game last year when Utah took it to Michigan inside the Big House?

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

To say Michigan would love to avenge its 26-10 loss to the Utes a year ago would be an understatement. Utah embarrassed the Wolverines on their home field, not allowing Michigan to score an offensive touchdown and even inside the red zone for that matter. Running back Devontae Booker returns for his senior season after compiling 1,512 yards and 12 total touchdowns last year. For Utah to come away with another victory over Michigan, quarterback Travis Wilson will have to play a mistake-free game. Wilson went 14-for-20 and threw for 172 yards and one touchdown against the Wolverines despite being briefly knocked out of the game. Utah’s defense forced four turnovers in the last meeting and the Utes will need to be ball hawkers once again to steal a win from what was a Big Ten powerhouse. Head coach Kyle Whittingham has this Utah team on the rise and don’t be surprised if you see the Utes up there in the Pac-12 standings.

As for Michigan, the Jim Harbaugh era will begin in Salt Lake City, UT trying to avenge a loss from a year ago and get back on track after a dismal 2014 campaign. Harbaugh brings with him a lot of fire, but also a lot of attention to a program that underwhelmed for the most part under Brady Hoke. Quarterback Shane Morris, who saw limited action last season, will need to jump-start an offense that really did not have a rythym with Devin Gardner under center. But he’ll need to find a new weapon to throw to as Devin Funchess has moved on to the NFL. One bright spot from last year was Michigan’s defense which seventh overall nationally. Linebacker Joe Bolden, the team’s second leading tackler, returns to reak havoc on offenses this year and defensive back Jabrill Peppers comes into the season with sky-high expectations.

This is going to be a very fun game to watch. It’s such a toss up, I could make a case for either team to come away with a victory.

Next: A New Era in Lincoln