Shea Patterson

In this April 13, 2019, photo, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson throws during the Michigan's annual spring NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich. A string of recent high-profile transfers gave the college football world the impression it was getting easier for players to switch schools and compete right away. Patterson to Michigan, Justin Field to Ohio State and Tate Martell to Miami seemed to usher in a new era of free agency, but waiver approvals are still far from a sure thing. That is prompting athletes, coaches and others to complain about a process that can be somewhat mysterious.

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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer BOB ASMUSSEN is counting down the top 50 teams heading into the 2019 college football season:

No. 13: Michigan

Coach: Jim Harbaugh

2018 record: 10-3

Projected 2019 record: 9-3

Circle the date: Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State

Bowl trip: Rose

Why No. 13: Many preseason polls have the Wolverines in the top 10. But the schedule is an issue. Michigan hosts dangerous Army early in the season and has a midyear game against Notre Dame. That kind of aggressive scheduling will be great for Michigan if it is in the hunt for the College Football Playoff. ... Shea Patterson returns at quarterback after throwing for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. ... Four starters are back on the offensive line. ... The Wolverines will miss tailback Karan Higdon. ... Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins caught 47 and 38 passes, respectively, in 2018. ... The defense needs six new starters, but coordinator Don Brown is one of the best in the Big Ten. ... Linebacker appears to be the strength of the defense. Josh Uche will try to better his seven sacks from 2018.

Last year’s ranking: No. 13

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).