Outback Bowl: Michigan Wolverines at South Carolina Gamecocks
Big Ten and SEC Square Off in First College Game of 2018
There are five college football bowls left to be played prior to the CFP Championship game, which will be played January 8, 2018. The first game for January 1, 2018 has the Michigan Wolverines (8-4) meeting the South Carolina Gamecocks (8-4). Michigan finished fourth in the Big Ten East with a 5-4 record. They ended their season with two losses, 24-10 to #5 Wisconsin and 31-21 to #9 Ohio State. North Carolina ended up in second place in the SEC East with a record of 5-3. They were three-and-two in their final five games, losing to #1 Georgia 24-10 and to #3 Clemson 34-10. Our Michigan plays South Carolina 2018 Outback Bowl pick has the Wolverines at -7.5 and the over/under at 42.0.
The Wolverines come into this game averaging 25.8 PPG. This is a team that likes to run a lot. More than half of their 356 YPG of offense are related to the ground attack. With senior QB Wilton Speight injured and out for the last eight games, they Wolverines have been especially focused on the ground game. RBs Karan Higdon (147 ATT, 929 YDs, 6.2 AVG, 11 TDs) and Chris Evans (126 ATT, 661 YDs, 5.2 AVG, 6 TDs) are the team’s primary offensive thrust. QB John O’Korn comes to this game with two touchdown passes and six interceptions. The Michigan defense, which is holding teams to 18.3 PPG, is exceptionally tough versus the pass. Opponents are accumulating just 143 YPG through the air. The Wolverines are giving up 126 YPG on the ground. South Carolina prefers the pass over the run, and the tough Wolverine pass-D may prove to be too much for them. Players like the versatile Chase Winovich (70 TCKLs, 8.5 SCKS, 18 TFL), DB Tyree Kinnel (2 INTs, 8 PD, 4.5 TFL), and KB Devin Bush (89 TCKLs, 5.5 SCKs, 10 TFL, 7 PD) can create havoc for opponents.
- The running game has to be effective
- Wolverine defense is especially tough on opponents
- Lack if QB experience can be costly
South Carolina Overview
The Gamecocks are gaining 213 YPG through the air and 127 on the ground while putting on average 24.1 PPG on the scoreboard. QB Jake Bentley (62.4 COMP%, 16 TDs, 11 INTs) is a solid passer. WR Jake Bentley (59 REC, 705 YDs, 11.9 AVG, 4 TDs) is the team’s top pass catcher. RBs A.J. Turner (92 ATT, 517 YDs, 5.6 AVG, 3 TDs) and Ty’Son Williams (92 ATT, 460 YDs, 5.0 AVG, 1 TD) offer good ground-gaining chops, while Bentley, who has a half-dozen rushing TDs, can sneak the ball into the end zone from close range. The South Carolina D is not quite as stingy as Michigan’s. They’re allowing 375 YPG to opponent offenses, which is about 100 more yards than Michigan allows. They are especially challenged by the pass, as they are giving up 228 YPG to the pass. This can be a major factor in this matchup. DE D.J. Wonnum (52 TCKLs, 6.0 SCKs, 13 TFL, 5 PD) and LB Skai Moore (80 TCKLs, 2 SCKs, 8 TFL, 3 INTs) are skilled and effective.
- Decent pass attack
- Some depth at running back
- Defense can disrupt passing game
Three Outback Bowl Takeaways
Our Michigan plays South Carolina 2018 Outback Bowl pick includes these three takeaways-
- QB edge South Carolina
- Defensive edge Michigan
- Michigan ground game needs to perform
Our 2018 Outback Bowl Pick
Michigan is vulnerable in this game due to their QB situation. However, their defense could be the difference in this contest. The over/under is low at 42.0. We’re taking the over. As far as the spread goes in our Michigan plays South Carolina 2018 Outback Bowl pick, we are taking the Gamecocks at +7.5.