The Cincinnati Bearcats and Alabama Crimson Tide get going on Friday afternoon in the first game of the College Football Playoff.
Following the Cotton Bowl, attention turns to Florida at the Orange Bowl in the final playoff game to decide the National Championship.
One-half of the National Championship will be complete by the time the Georgia Bulldogs and Michigan Wolverines kick-off. Georgia enters as the lower seed at No. 3 against No. 2 Michigan.
In the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs were dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 after a loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide. For the first time in 2021, Georgia was rocked and received the blows instead of delivering.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 4, 2021
Georgia opened the year against the Clemson Tigers and won a close defensive battle, 10-3. At the time, that looked like a great win for Georgia.
However, Clemson turned out to be a major disappointment. What we know now, Georgia probably should have won by three touchdowns.
After that close call in the opener, no one could come close against Georgia before Alabama defeated the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started quick and had a lead, but Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide made better adjustments. Alabama pulled away for a 41-24 win, with Bryce Young passing for 421 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Young also ran the ball with 40 yards and a touchdown on three attempts. On the other side, Stetson Bennett looked confused at times, throwing a couple of big interceptions.
Bennett couldn’t keep up with Alabama despite passing for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide caught on to the Georgia offense, will Michigan?
The Bulldogs have another physical and fast defense to worry about in the Orange Bowl. Michigan will send Aidan Hutchinson on the edge at Bennett. He must think fast against a dangerous Wolverines’ pass rush.
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) December 21, 2021
It isn’t just Hutchinson, the potential top pick in the draft, that the Bulldogs must have on their stop list. David Ojabo is coming to deliver pressure as well. Bennett can’t make poor decisions.
Hutchinson and the Michigan defense frustrated a high-octane Ohio State offense, and they have the talent to do the same versus Georgia. Head below for our free Georgia vs. Michigan Orange Bowl pick on December 31, 2021.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines Orange Bowl Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Georgia Bulldogs||-7.5 (-116)||-285||Over 45.5 (-110)|
|Michigan Wolverines||+7.5 (-114)||+240||Under 45.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Georgia Bulldogs||Michigan Wolverines|
|Points Per Game||39.4||37.7|
|Points Against Per Game||9.5||16.1|
|Passing Yards Per Game||247.9||228.1|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||194.8||223.8|
Georgia vs. Michigan Prediction:
Aidan Hutchinson may have locked in the first pick in the draft after taking the game over against Ohio State. It wasn’t a one-off for Hutchinson, either. He’s been bullying good offensive lineman in the Big Ten all season.
Hutchinson goes into the Orange Bowl with 33 solo tackles, 14 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. That doesn’t include the countless quarterback hurries that Hutchinson has caused this season.
Highest-graded seasons by a Big Ten edge defender
'19 Chase Young, OSU: 96.0
'21 Aidan Hutchinson, UM: 94.7
'17 Nick Bosa, OSU: 93.7 pic.twitter.com/pDiEdf1mh2
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 27, 2021
If you don’t think an edge rusher can take a game over, then you haven’t watched this guy play football. Hutchinson is that good, and Georgia will have to scheme away from him.
Unfortunately for Georgia, this entire Michigan defense has talent. They have conceded 315.8 yards per game for 12th in the nation. The Wolverines have been equally dangerous against the run and pass.
Michigan has allowed 121.1 rushing yards per game for 21st in the FBS. They’ve been equally strong against the pass, with 194.7 yards conceded per game.
Look at what Michigan did against Ohio State, and then they did it again to Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. Holding the Buckeyes to 27 points and then a field goal in a 42-3 win over the Hawkeyes in Big Ten Championship was impressive.
Spencer Petras passed for 137 yards on 9-22 passing, while Alex Padilla had 38 interceptions and an interception on 10-15 passing. Bennett and the Georgia offense will do much better, but Michigan should get stops.
Going into the College Football Playoff, Michigan has allowed 16.1 points per game for fourth-best in the country. Their defense has allowed 18 or fewer points in all of their last five games except the Ohio State game.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Trends:
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games after a loss
- 6-2 ATS in their previous eight games in December
- 10-4 ATS in their previous 14 games a betting favorite
- 6-2 ATS in their previous eight bowl games
- UNDER is 7-2-2 in thier previous 11 games at a neutral field
- 5-0 ATS in their previous five games
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games versus non-conference teams
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games after allowing 20 points or less
- 7-3 ATS in their previous ten games after scoring more than 40 points
- 12-1 overall in their previous 13 games
Michigan isn’t all defense; they have one of the most underrated offenses in the nation. Iowa is a good defensive team, and the Wolverines ran through them.
Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins will give the Bulldogs all that they can handle. Corum had 74 yards and a touchdown on 14.8 yards per carry, while Haskins had 56 yards and 2 touchdowns on 3.3 yards per carry.
Cade McNamara was a solid field general with 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 64.6% completions. He didn’t make the big mistake, which is all asked of him by Jim Harbaugh with this running game and defense.
The Wolverines are much better than they look; just ask Ohio State and Iowa. Their methodical offense was 13th in the FBS, with 37.7 points per game. Georgia has that same kind of offense. They aren’t all flash but move the ball well and wear down the defense.
The Bulldogs have a defense as well, but they didn’t play a capable offense all year until Alabama. Georgia is going to get stops in this one; however, I could see Michigan ripping off two or three long runs. They will keep coming.
I’m not interested in fading Michigan as 7.5-point underdogs. Hutchinson and the Michigan defense are in lockdown mode at the moment. Some doubt crept into Bennett’s head in the SEC Championship. It’s hard to look past the Wolverines plus the points in a game that could go either way.