Game to be played at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Sixth-ranked Michigan looks to overcome the disappointment of missing out on the College Football Playoff when it faces No. 10 Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 in Miami. The Wolverines seemed poised to make their first appearance in the CFP until they dropped two of their last three games down the stretch, including a controversial 30-27 double-overtime loss to No. 2 Ohio State. The Seminoles were picked fourth in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ poll but failed to live up to the hype, suffering losses to Louisville (60-23), North Carolina (37-35) and second-ranked Clemson (37-34) during a six-week span, as they failed to advance to the ACC title game for the second time in as many seasons.
Sophomore hybrid linebacker Jabrill Peppers, who has played in 11 different positions, and junior running back Dalvin Cook, who has rushed for 4,319 yards and 45 touchdowns in his Florida State career, are likely playing their last collegiate games. Cook rewrote the record book with the Seminoles after running for 1,620 yards and 18 touchdowns this season to break Warrick Dunn’s career mark for rushing yards (3,959) and eclipse Greg Allen’s 32-year old record for most touchdowns (44). Peppers won a multitude of awards this season, including the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, the Lott Impact Trophy, the Horning Award and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting en route to becoming the first unanimous All-American at Michigan since Jake Long in 2007.
The key to the matchup could hinge on whose offensive line protects their quarterback the best as Florida State led the nation with 47 sacks while Michigan finished right behind the Seminoles with 44 in the regular season. DeMarcus Walker led the country with 15 sacks and anchors a talented Seminoles’ defensive front that has the potential to wreak havoc on the Wolverines’ offensive line, which struggled in the last three games of the season. Michigan was dominate defensively under first-year coordinator Don Brown as the Wolverines finished first nationally in tackles for loss (115), second in scoring defense (12.5) and second in total defense (252.7).
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Wolverines opened this bowl favored by 7-points, that line was briefly dropped to 6.5 before returning to the opening number. The total hit the board at 55 and has been driven down 2.5-points to 52.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a beautiful night for football at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The forecast is calling for clear, minimal winds and temperatures in the low 60’s.
Michigan – QB Wilton Speight (probable, shoulder), K Quinn Nordin (questionable, leg)
Florida State – DB Calvin Brewton (probable, head), DT Adam Torres (questionable, foot), DT Darvin Taylor II (questionable, shoulder), TE Jalen Richardson (questionable, concussion), DB Marcus Lewis (questionable, hip), LB Josh Brown (questionable, foot), OL Brock Ruble (questionable, leg), WR Da’Vante Phillips (questionable, wrist), DB A.J. Westbrook (questionable, concussion), WR Ermon Lane (out, foot), DB Derwin James (out, knee), OL Wilson Bell (questionable, possible suspension), LB Jacob Pugh (questionable, concussion)
ABOUT MICHIGAN (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS, 8-4 OU): Junior quarterback Wilton Speight, who threw for 2,375 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first year as a starter, was hampered by a shoulder injury down the stretch but is expected to be back to 100 percent health against Florida State. “Wilton had a phenomenal year and improved game by game,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. “I truly think he will go into next year as one of the top quarterbacks in the country.” Every defensive starter for the Wolverines received Big Ten honors, including Peppers, cornerback Jourdan Lewis and defensive end Taco Charlton, who are all projected to be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (9-3 SU, 7-4 ATS, 5-6 OU): Promising quarterback Malik Henry, who was beaten out of the starting job by Deondre Francois despite throwing for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game, revealed his intention to transfer to another school on Dec. 13. Cook has rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of his last nine games and is coming off an 153-yard performance in the 31-13 win over No. 18 Florida to become the first player since Sammie Smith in 1988 to notch 3 straight 100-yard games against the Gators. “I’m looking forward to it. That’s why I’m putting in the time watching Michigan film,” Cook told reporters. “I’m looking forward to playing a good football team.”
* Wolverines are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
* Seminoles are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
* Seminoles are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
* Over is 11-2 in Wolverines last 13 vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 5-0 in Seminoles last 5 neutral site games.
For a full list of hot and cold trends click here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Covers users like the favorite in this matchup, with 52 percent of the wagers on Michigan. As for the total, bettors are split 50/50. Check out complete consensus data here.