Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs No. 3 Georgia Bet Preview

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs No. 3 Georgia Bet Preview

Cole Paganelli
1 year ago
3 min read
Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs No. 3 Georgia Bet Preview

The 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl and College Football Playoff Semifinal features two of the best teams in America, the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines and No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs.

Both schools went 12-1 this season, each losing to top-eight programs. Georgia was regarded as the best team in America for most of the season, while Michigan has done a tremendous job fighting off the stigma surrounding their postseason reputation.

The winner of the New Year’s Eve contest will advance to the College Football Playoff final to take on the winner of No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati.

The Breakdown

Michigan finished out its season on a five-game win streak, the final two of which were decisive results over No. 6 Ohio State and No. 13 Iowa. Their lone loss to No. 8 Michigan State was only by four points, and besides that, they have dominated nearly every team they faced. 

Cade McNamara is under center for the Wolverines, having thrown for 2,470 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions this season. His partner in the backfield is running back Hassan Haskins, who racked up 1,288 yards and 20 touchdowns; Blake Corum was just behind with 939 yards and 11 scores. Michigan prefers to run the ball, but they have shown an ability to get big plays through the air in recent weeks.

The Wolverines’ defense is anchored by defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, presumed to be one of the first few picks in the upcoming NFL draft. With 14 sacks on the season, Hutchinson is the leader of a unit that has allowed just over 16 points per game.

On the other side, Georgia is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a 41-24 defeat to No. 3 Alabama, after they had gone 12 games undefeated prior. With a 4-1 record against top-25 teams and three shutouts under their belt, the Bulldogs strike fear into teams before even lining up for the first snap.

Georgia’s offense is led by Stetson Bennett who, although he did not look adept enough to take down Alabama, threw for 2,325 yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions over the course of the season. Zamir White and James Cook split carries out of the backfield, producing 1,337 yards and 17 touchdowns between them.

The Bulldogs’ defense has allowed a staggering 8.8 points per game despite giving up 41 to the Crimson Tide, showing just how stout of a unit they are. However, Bama’s recent explosion called their pedigree into question, especially against the nation’s elite offenses. Georgia tied for the seventh-most sacks in America and has a ridiculous spread of talent, headlined by star-studded linebacking corps. 

The Odds

Georgia is a -7.5 (-105) favorite heading into the contest, while Michigan is a +7.5 (-115) underdog; UGA is also -265 on the moneyline to UM’s +210.

The points total has been set at 45.5 with (-105) odds on the over and (-115) on the under.

The Outlook

This is going to be a defensive game, with each coach option to call a safe game and rely on their defense over taking unnecessary risks and pushing the ball down the field. 

Michigan has had an impressive season and has a physicality that was missing in years past, but the Bulldogs’ ridiculous path through the Southeastern Conference should have them more prepared for the upcoming game. With the prospect of redemption against Alabama on the horizon, they are the safer pick to take home the Orange Bowl.

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