247Sports’ Josh Pate is optimistic about Michigan but doesn’t believe the Wolverines will repeat as national champions.

The University of Michigan’s football team reached the pinnacle last fall, going 15-0, defeating Ohio State for the third consecutive year, securing another Big Ten championship, and winning a national championship over Washington after beating Alabama in the Rose Bowl.

Following these accomplishments, the Wolverines have experienced significant roster and coaching staff turnover. Key players returning include defensive stars like cornerback Will Johnson, defensive tackles Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, along with offensive standouts running back Donovan Edwards and tight end Colston Loveland.

Opinions on Michigan’s prospects for 2024 vary widely. Josh Pate, host of the popular podcast Late Kick w/ Josh Pate, shared his insights on the Wolverines’ upcoming season. He clarified that, while he doesn’t see them winning the national title, he is still optimistic about the team.

Pate praised Michigan’s defensive line and linebackers, as well as their strong culture and identity, which he believes remain intact despite coaching changes. He cited predictive metrics like ESPN’s SP+ ratings, which place Michigan at No. 6 for the new season. However, Pate noted the challenge of winning back-to-back national titles, especially with the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams.

A significant factor in Pate’s analysis is the transition at quarterback, as J.J. McCarthy was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. The new starter, potentially Alex Orji, is an unknown quantity. Additionally, Michigan had 13 players selected in the 2024 NFL Draft and several others signed as undrafted free agents, resulting in the 126th-rated returning production among Power 4 teams.

Pate questioned whether Michigan can replicate last year’s depth, essential for winning championships, especially with more games in the expanded playoff format and a new quarterback and coaching staff. He emphasized the difference between believing a team can win and believing it will win.

Pate suggested that early indicators of Michigan’s defensive dominance and ability to control game scripts, similar to their performance against Penn State last year, would increase his confidence in their chances of repeating as national champions.