The Michigan Wolverines and South Carolina Gamecocks meet for a New Year’s meeting in the Outback Bowl. Playing on New Year’s Day is always special, and the Wolverines have been a fixture on January 1st. The Outback Bowl wasn’t exactly in the blueprint for Michigan at the beginning of the year, but the future is looking good for the Wolverines.
Next season is going to be a critical year for Jim Harbaugh. He got sort of a mulligan in 2017 thanks to a young team and issues at quarterback. A lot of talent moves on to the NF. He’s been the head coach since 2015, so 2018 is going to be the year he’s under a microscope. Despite having a young team, it was still a failure. They lost to both of their rivals, the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Michigan had a carrousel at quarterback, with Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, and Brandon Peters all getting some playing time. Speight didn’t develop into a better quarterback this year and he suffered an injury to put the lid on his career at Michigan. He stated last month that he will be transferring from Michigan to a new school.
Decent quarterback, but Michigan is searching for the next Chad Henne. Speight knew he wasn’t going to be seeing playing time next year. Out of the three, Peters is the guy who could be something at Michigan. O’Korn was wrapping his career up, and Speight is transferring. But even if they were around another year, the job is now Peter’s to lose.
The Wolverines landed Joe Milton in the recruiting game, who I believe is going to eventually be a star at Michigan. He has a cannon arm and has some mobility that reminds you bit of a Vince Young or Jameis Winston. A long way to go before he accomplishes anything remotely close to what Young and Winston have done but he has the skillset.
It’s one thing to look like Vince Young against high school competition and doing it in college. Peters will likely be the starter next season, though. Peters will start in the Outback Bowl, as he gets a head start on 2018. He will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Wolverines are 14-7 and 8-5 in bowls against the SEC. They enter as favorites and are expected to win this game, but we’ll see how it goes. Head below for our free Michigan vs. South Carolina pick in the Outback Bowl.
Michigan Wolverines vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Betting Odds:
vs. South Carolina +7.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Michigan vs. South Carolina Pick:
For Michigan in this game, they’d love to see progress from Brandon Peters. A coming out party on New Year’s for Peters would be gold. Again, this is a young team, and experience they garner from this game hopefully helps out for next season. Peters came in late, so he doesn’t have big numbers, but they he’s been solid in his limited time as the starter.
He’s thrown 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. All you ask for a guy with little experience is to take care of the ball and avoid mistakes. Check for Peters in that regard. With the Michigan defense, it doesn’t take much to beat others with an adequate quarterback. When they had Chad Henne and were national contenders, their defense wasn’t quite on their current level. In other words, find an offense, and then Ohio State can start sweating.
South Carolina had pretty well an identical year as Michigan. They went 8-4, and just like Michigan, lost their big games. The Gamecocks fell to Georgia and Clemson, and beat the teams they should have beaten. A loss at home to Kentucky was a bad loss for South Carolina, though. They were hoping for a big year out of Jake Bentley, but he did not get over the hill. He passed for 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 62.4% completion percentage. Bentley was okay against the bad defenses, but struggled to do much against the top-tier defensive units.
He passed for just 126 yards against Clemson Michigan would be classified as top-tier. They are 3rd in the nation, allowing just 269 yards per game. Against the pass? The Wolverines ranked 1st with just 142.7 yards allowed per game. Conversely, the Gamecocks ranked 72nd against the pass, allowing 227.9 yards per game.
Here is your opportunity to put on, Peters. The difference here is going to be the Michigan defense. Harbaugh will have them ready to fly around the ball. The last time these two met was in the Outback Bowl of 2013, a 33-28 win for South Carolina. The only thing people remember from that game is the hit heard around the world delivered by Jadeveon Clowney. Michigan will make people remember the final score, at least for a few days. The Wolverines’ defense strings together an impressive four quarterbacks of play, as they head into 2018 with a win and plenty of promise for next September.
PICK: MICHIGAN -7.5 (-110)