Florida State vs. Michigan, 12/30/16 – Prediction
Written by: Stephen Sobek
#11 Florida State Seminoles (9-3, 7-4 ATS) vs. #6 Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 6-6 ATS)
NCAAF: Friday, December 30 @ 8:00 p.m. ET
The Line: Michigan Wolverines -6.5 Total: 56.5
Bowl: Capital One Orange Bowl
It’s time for the Jennifer Garner Bowl as the Florida State Seminoles from the ACC battle Big Ten juggernaut Michigan the night before New Year’s Eve. The Wolverines lost a heartbreaker to bitter rival Ohio State last time out in double overtime that arguably kept them out of the College Football Playoff. Florida State faired much better against the team they love to hate, knocking off the Florida Gators 31-13.
Nole Place Like Home
Florida State tailback Dalvin Cook recently found out that he wasn’t invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, and his reaction could spell trouble for Michigan in the upcoming bowl game. Cook said: “It just shows I’ve got a lot more work to do in this next game to show people I should have been in New York.” It figures that the Wolverines will stack the box against Cook, which should lead to plenty of open looks in the passing game for Deondre Francois and company. The freshman from Orlando threw for 3,128 yards this season, and at times was the go-to guy in the offense. He’ll face his toughest test of the year in the Orange Bowl against college football’s best defense in terms of yards allowed.
The battle for football supremacy in the state of Florida went the Seminoles’ way two weeks ago against the Florida Gators. Francois had a minimal impact passing the ball, as he tallied 138 yards on 26 attempts. He did find the end zone once through the air and another time on the ground, so his dual threat ability should make it tougher for Michigan to stop the Noles’ offense. Cook was much more effective at running back, taking 26 handoffs for 153 yards and a score in the 31-13 victory.
Hail to the Almost-Victors
Michigan came up a few inches short against the Ohio State Buckeyes in The Game two weeks ago, falling 30-27 and out of the College Football Playoff picture. A 4th-down stop by the Buckeyes in double overtime sealed the victory thanks to a questionable spot by the officials. Jim Harbaugh wasn’t satisfied after the game, voicing his displeasure with the crew. Bad call or not, Michigan finds themselves in a New Year’s Six bowl regardless.
They’ll look to build on a solid offensive output, as 27 points versus OSU were the most Michigan had scored in three weeks. Wilton Speight threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but two interceptions proved to be very costly in the end. The Wolverines’ run game was held under 100 yards in the loss, and I expect them to want to establish it early in their contest against Florida State. Michigan prides itself on the defensive side of the ball, so as long as the offense can control time of possession, they should be fine in the Orange Bowl.
College Football trends: N/A
Florida State gets the added advantage of playing in their home state for this one, but I don’t think it will be enough against Jim Harbaugh’s squad. He’ll have his side fired up after a heartbreaking defeat to Ohio State, as he’s not the kind of coach that will allow any complacency. Michigan has been just average in their last six bowl appearances, going 3-3 since 2007. Florida State needs to be weary of an angry Wolverines team, and I actually don’t think this contest will be very close in the end. Go with Michigan in a sort of revenge game for Harbaugh and his players.
The Pick: #6 Michigan Wolverines -6.5
This total seems incredibly high considering that college football’s best defense is involved in this one. I don’t see how Florida State will be able to move the ball with any consistency against a formidable Michigan defense. On the flip side, the Wolverine offense has had its share of problems, and I expect Jimbo Fisher to have a solid gameplan in place for Wilton Speight and company. This has all the makings of a 28-14 final, which is still multiple possessions short of the 56.5 mark set by oddsmakers. Take the under without looking back before it begins to drop closer to kickoff.
The Pick: Under 56.5
Confidence: 3/5 (spread) 4/5 (total)
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