For Michigan, the 2016 season dawns with hopes of continued ascendance under Jim Harbaugh. For Hawaii, a meeting with Michigan in the Wolverines' season opener is just another game on a brutal schedule.
The Wolverines come into 2016 riding the momentum of a return to prominence in 2015, their first season under the dynamic Harbaugh. A salty defense gave Michigan a much-needed dose of the toughness that has been a hallmark of Harbaugh's teams, and Iowa transfer Jake Rudock morphed into one of the nation's best quarterbacks as the season went on. Now, the Maize and Blue will seek an encore performance.
Hawaii, on the other hand, is getting an encore season opener, once more doing so away from Honolulu. The Rainbow Warriors traveled to Australia to begin the 2016 college football season against Cal last week, falling 51-31 in Nick Rolovich's head coaching debut. There's still virtually nowhere to go but up for the embattled program, which has dealt with budgetary constraints in recent years, and hasn't made a bowl since 2010, but a probable resounding defeat at the hands of the hungry Wolverines is another lump they will probably just have to wear.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: Noon ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: The Wolverines opened as 40.5-point favorites.
Three big things to know
1. Can Michigan start strong? While the Wolverines had a very good 2015 season, their season began with a loss on the road at Utah, in which Rudock struggled mightily. Michigan would go on to allow a not-a-misprint 14 points over its next five games, making up for more Rudock struggles, but Harbaugh would probably prefer not to start 0-1 in 2016, especially against the overmatched Rainbow Warriors.
2. The Wolverines need a passer. A long quarterback competition has come to this, a game in which Wilton Speight will apparently start. With virtually every major contributor but Rudock returning from 2015, finding that competent quarterback, and quickly, could boost Michigan from Big Ten contender to College Football Playoff participant.
3. How tired will Hawaii be? The Rainbow Warriors are probably more accustomed to wearying days on the road than every other FBS team, given that they routinely fly thousands of miles to the mainland for road games. But they've never played in Australia and then Ann Arbor in the span of a week, and it would be more than understandable if fatigue is a factor for them, especially given how substantial Michigan's trench-minders are.