By Ryan Mayer
The college football bowl season is upon us. With 40 games spread out over the next two weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline/Bookmaker.eu. Find all our picks here.
All lines listed are as of publishing date. As always lines may change in the lead up to games so be sure to check.
Capital One Orange Bowl
#6 Michigan vs. #11 Florida State
Spread: Michigan -7
Spread: The Wolverines and their fans are obviously disappointed to be left out of the College Football Playoff. But, this is still a rapid improvement in two years under Jim Harbaugh. They’ve won 10 games back-to-back for the first time since the ’02-03 seasons and are looking for the program’s first 11-win year since 2011. They’re built on strength in the trenches, wanting to physically dominate teams in that area on both sides of the ball. They’ve done a good job of it this season. On offense, they average 5.0 yards per carry and, on defense, they allow opponents just 3.1 yards per rush. That stalwart defensive unit will be tested in this game by the electric Dalvin Cook (1,620 yards, 6.0 YPC, 18 TDs), who is a physical back in the Zeke Elliott mold. They’ll also have to contend with dual-threat QB Deondre Francois who presents problems from a mobility standpoint.
However, the biggest advantage in this game will be the Michigan defensive front seven against what has been a bad Florida State offensive line. Multiple times this season (Louisville and Clemson most notably) the Seminoles line has allowed consistent pressure and big hits on Francois forcing him into hurried, inaccurate throws. That’s a death knell against a Wolverines secondary with playmakers like Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers. The Michigan offense could struggle some against a stingy Seminoles run defense (131.3 YPG, 27th), the ‘Noles are seriously banged up. Michigan -7
Total: This game feels like more of a defensive struggle than an offensive explosion. While I expect Michigan to dominate Florida State’s offensive line, I don’t see them running all over Florida State’s defense. Michigan will cover, but in more of a 28-17 type of game. Under 52.5
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.