Intriguing Game– The Orange Bowl
(6) Michigan Wolverines at (10) Florida State Seminoles
Michigan: After such a strong start to the season, Jim Harbaugh and company cooled down at the end when it mattered the most. They were in control of the Big Ten East for a majority of the season and looked to win it after we saw Ohio State get upset by Penn State. After a 10-0 start, big blue would go on to lose two of their final three games. They were upset by Iowa and then lost a double overtime battle to Ohio State and that hurt their chances of even getting to the playoffs. Here’s one thing you need to understand about this playoff system. You need in between zero to one loss in order to be considered by the committee to make the playoffs and they had two. Despite that, they won ten games this year and had one of the best defenses in all of the nation and if you watched a lot of their games, whenever a team was driving the ball down the field on them, they were often stopped short of the goal line. If they stopped the run, throwing the ball on them was extremely risky as well. They only gave up 135 yards passing a game and as a unit, they recorded 12 interceptions and that’s more than the number of touchdown passes they allowed this year which is nine. They thrived off turnovers and when they had the lead in turnover battle, they won games, plain and simple. They aren’t where many expected them to be, but, they’ll be playing in New Year’s Six bowl game nonetheless.
Florida State: There were many high expectations surrounding Jimbo Fisher’s football team coming into this season. They opened the season with a 2-0 record and then came their first loss to Louisville and it was a beatdown. They were still in good shape though at the time. Two weeks later, their hopes at making the playoffs were erased after they were stunned by North Carolina. They also had Clemson on the ropes, but Clemson survived and the inexperience of Florida State would hurt them at times. Despite the disappointing losses, the Seminoles suffered only one loss to a 9-3 season. The engine to the Florida State offense by far has been Dalvin Cook and his game I think will translate well over to the NFL. Deondre Francois went through his ups and downs as a redshirt freshman but as the season went along, I saw him mature a great deal as a football player and he finally has that one year under his belt. The one thing that they don’t get credit for at all is the defense. Don’t overlook these guys, especially in the trenches. They can win that battle and control the line of scrimmage all game long and they have the playmakers to do so. Without question, they got off to a rocky start on defense this year. 34 points allowed in the opener against Ole Miss and then there was 63 given up to Louisville. Despite that, they found a way to regroup and are still considered one of the best units in the nation. For the third straight year, they are playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Michigan Player To Watch: Ryan Glasgow– The strength of Michigan’s defense is in their front and they’ll need any and everything to shut down Dalvin Cook. Glasgow has tremendous speed to burst through blockers and get to the ball carriers and he also has 9.5 tackles for loss this season. He’s a quiet force on the interior to shutting down the run.
Florida State Player To Watch: Deondre Francois– With an active and well-coached defense across from him, he knows he will have to make plays with his arm in order for them to have a shot at winning this game. He’ll have his work cut out for him. He’s facing a great offensive line and a secondary that loves takeaways.
Prediction: This will be the third all-time matchup between these two schools. Florida State needs to attempt to run Cook. Michigan simply needs to just play the football that got them ten victories. I like Michigan in this one. Michigan 28 Florida State 20.