The Michigan Wolverines will take on the Florida Gators in the 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Conference bragging rights will be on the line as the Wolverines represent the Big Ten Conference, while the Gators will try to win a game for the SEC. Michigan has won all four matchups against Florida, including victories in each of the last two seasons.
Michigan finished the 2018 regular season with a 10-2 record but ended their season with a blowout loss to Ohio State. The Wolverines were ranked 7th in the final College Football Playoff poll. Florida checked in at number 10 in the final ranking of the season, after finishing with a 9-3 record. The Gators come into the Peach Bowl having won three straight games. Michigan is -6.0 over Florida in this game.
Michigan Offense Without Higdon
The Wolverines will be without several key players for the Peach Bowl, but none more important than running back Karan Higdon. Higdon ran for 1,178 yards this season and scored 10 rushing touchdowns. The absence of Higdon will put more pressure on the shoulders of quarterback Shea Patterson. Patterson had a solid season in his first in Ann Arbor, throwing for 2,364 yards and 21 touchdowns. Look for Michigan to throw the ball more often without their star running back.
Defense was the calling card for Michigan throughout the first 11 games of the season, but they were gashed against Ohio State. The Wolverines gave up a whopping 62 points to the Buckeyes, but have had more than a month to fix their defensive issues. Michigan recorded 31 sacks during the regular season, and they will look to put some pressure on the Florida quarterback.
Florida Offense Must Perform
Questions surround the Florida offense, most notably around who will play quarterback for the Gators. Sophomore Felipe Franks was the main starter during the regular season, but freshman Emory Jones might be the most talented. Franks threw for over 2,200 yards this season but completed just 58 percent of his passes. Look for the Gators to feature running backs Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett regardless of who plays the QB position.
The Gators were one of the better defenses teams in the country this season, allowing just over 20 points per game. Florida did give up over 166 rushing yards per game this season, but they are catching a huge break with Higdon skipping this game. If the Gators can find a way to get some pressure on Shea Patterson, they could put up a low number against the Wolverines.
Gators Win Peach Bowl
Michigan looked like they were going to play their way into the College Football Playoffs this season, but their season ended in miserable fashion. The Wolverines will be without several key members of their team in this game, and that will hurt their chances. Florida is a team on the rise and is looking to use the Peach Bowl as a springboard into an even better 2019 season. Look for the Gators to dominate this game, and upset the Wolverines. Take the points and bet on Florida +6.0 over Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.