Sunday, January 8, 2012 Updated: January 9, 1:32 PM ET
12 bold predictions for 2012
By Michael Rothstein WolverineNation
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The new year is here. Michigan's football season is over, and the Michigan basketball season is starting to take shape after a convincing win over Wisconsin.
With a new year comes expectations, both good and bad, and an almost universal view of renewed and restored hope. So in that vein -- and for the calendar year 2012 -- here are 12 predictions, some zany and some sane, for the next 12 months.
We'll check back in the last week of 2012 to see how I did.
Fitzgerald Toussaint a 2012 All-American? WolverineNation's Michael Rothstein believes the junior RB will have a monster season.
1) In its two major sports, Michigan will have three All-Americans, but not who you might expect. The Wolverines will actually have two basketball All-Americans as both guard Trey Burke and incoming freshman forward Mitch McGary will find themselves listed as a first-, second- or third-team All-American in the preseason by at least one publication and by the time 2012 rolls into 2013, McGary will put himself in position for a postseason All-American team finish as well. The third All-American will be redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who will cap a 1,300-yard season with a bevy of honors.
2) At least one Michigan sport will win a national championship -- but it won't be a major sport. Look for the Michigan men's gymnastics team, led by returning all-around champion Sam Mikulak, to take home its second NCAA crown in three seasons this spring. Mikulak ends up representing the United States -- and Michigan -- in this summer's Olympiad in London.
3) The Michigan softball team will again win the Big Ten -- and again host a regional in the Women's College World Series. This time, though, the Wolverines will reach the Super Regionals and go on the road, where they will lose in three games.
4) Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson will break an NCAA record. He'll set the career rushing yardage mark for a quarterback, passing former West Virginia quarterback Pat White in the second half against Ohio State, and will go into the Wolverines' bowl game with 4,503 yards. White's record was 4,480 yards.
5) The men's basketball team will struggle a little through the Big Ten -- and then make the NCAA Sweet 16. The league will be about what is expected for Michigan, where the Wolverines end up going 10-8 and reach the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. It'll land the Wolverines a No. 7 seed, where they'll dispatch their first-round opponent and then knock off second-seeded Duke in the Round of 32.
6) That performance, combined with the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. for his junior season and the addition of McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nick Stauskas, put Michigan at No. 9 in the country in the preseason polls for 2012-13.
7) Meanwhile, the Michigan women's basketball team will make its first NCAA tournament under Kevin Borseth and first overall appearance in over a decade. Once there, the eighth-seeded Wolverines will win their first-round game before falling to top-seeded Connecticut in the Round of 32.
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8) Heading into the fall, the Michigan football team will be ranked No. 10 in the preseason. However, the Wolverines will be facing the defending national champion, Alabama, in the season opener in Arlington, Texas, and it won't go well. Toussaint will have a 100-yard game, but Robinson will struggle passing -- leading to a 34-21 Crimson Tide win.
9) Most will peg Robinson as a preseason candidate for the Heisman Trophy and various player of the year awards, but by midseason, Toussaint will be the player who will pop up as a second candidate for the awards. He'll lead Michigan to its fourth straight win over Notre Dame on Sept. 22, 35-31.
10) Michigan will halt its four-game losing streak to Michigan State, knocking off the Spartans in Ann Arbor, 28-10, behind an interception return for a touchdown by J.T. Floyd and two touchdowns from Toussaint.
11) Michigan goes into Columbus at 9-2, needing to beat Ohio State to reach the Big Ten title game as Nebraska, which beat the Wolverines in Lincoln, finished its Big Ten schedule at 7-1. It doesn't go well for the Wolverines in Urban Meyer's debut in the game. Braxton Miller throws for three touchdowns, Robinson's Heisman candidacy will end when he throws two interceptions and no touchdowns in a 28-17 Ohio State win that ends the Buckeyes' season and sends Nebraska to the Big Ten title game.
12) Michigan, though, gets some solace. For the second straight season, the Wolverines are selected to play in a BCS bowl when the Cornhuskers knock off Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. This time, though, the Wolverines head to the Fiesta Bowl. As for how they do against Big 12 champion Oklahoma ... well, that's in 2013.
Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mikerothstein.