The University of Michigan will take the field for the first time under head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has the program heading in the right direction, he has people thinking vintage Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t had a sense of direction since Lloyd Carr was the head coach. Michigan went to Rich Rodriguez following Carr’s time, taking Michigan from a pro-style team, to an option team. That didn’t go over so well in Ann Arbor. Although, it did produce one of the more memorable players at Michigan, Denard Robinson. That is about all that went right. Then it was time for Brady Hoke, who brought Michigan to a Sugar Bowl win in his first season, but they could never improve on that season. Michigan regressed, Hoke was fired, and now Harbaugh is the new sheriff in town. Harbaugh already brought success to Michigan this season, and more importantly, their recruiting has been one of the best in the nation. By February, Michigan may have the best recruiting class in the country. When Harbaugh gets his guys in there, they are going to be a top 5 team once again.
The Florida Gators went to the SEC Championship and had the opportunity to upset Alabama, and prevent them from going to the college football playoff. Florida was unsuccessful, as the defense hung in there early, but the Crimson Tide were ultimately too much to handle. The future for Florida I’m not so sure about. Michigan has a good looking future ahead of them, but Florida is a long way away from the glory days of Tim Tebow. When you’re playing in the SEC, there isn’t much room for error. To unseat Alabama, coaching needs to be great, recruiting has to be great, and then the on field product needs to follow.
They have struggled to find an offense at Florida in recent years. Actually, since Tebow left the offense has been stagnant. The defense has been good and has carried them, but the offense haven’t been able to compensate. Same story this season, and it was the same story in the SEC Championship. If Florida had an offense, that may have been a closer game. The Gators get two strong defenses back-to-back, which doesn’t measure up to the Florida offense. Florida will once again need to rely on the defense to carry them in the Citrus Bowl. It’s going to be interesting to see how Harbaugh performs in his first bowl game since coaching Stanford. Let’s get to the pick.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators Citrus Bowl Betting Odds:
vs. Florida +4(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Michigan vs. Florida Pick:
Jake Rudock took over the Michigan quarterback job after transferring from Iowa. This will be his one and only year at Michigan, but he made the most of it. He wasn’t catching anyone’s attention, yet still was made some plays for Michigan. He was a good quarterback who didn’t make the big mistakes. For Michigan, old school Michigan, that was what they won with. The quarterback didn’t make mistakes, and they won with a strong run game that beat up the opposing defense. Wearing the opposition down with the offensive line is what Harbaugh wants to establish.
Michigan ran the ball well this season, averaging 153 yards per game on the ground. The Wolverines will run the ball into the teeth of the Florida defense. The Gators were good against the run, but great against the pass.
I do not foresee Michigan getting into a game where they are going to pass the ball much. Did you watch the Michigan State and Alabama game last night? The total is this low for a reason. If you don’t like offense, look away and watch the Winter Classic in the NHL. With such a low total though, it doesn’t necessarily mean the UNDER will cash. Michigan averaged 30.6 points per game this season. It didn’t feel like it, Michigan had a quiet offense that could score. Florida scored 24.6 points a game this season. The Wolverines allow 17.2 points to Florida’s 16.5. This is an even matchup for the most part. If Michigan played in the SEC, they probably would have averaged the same in scoring. I feel like this is a field goal game, therefore, it’s a smart bet to take the points.
PICK: FLORIDA +4 (-110)