Three reasons why you should watch the Outback Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.
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Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (8-4)
Date: Monday, January 1st
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 17 out of 39
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Outback Bowl
– It’s not like Jim Harbaugh is on any sort of hot seat, but it would be a really, really nice boost for him him – and the hopes of Wolverine fans – if Michigan wins this without a problem. After so many problems with the big boys on the schedule this year, and considering last season’s loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, a win would slow down the simmering grumble.
– Will Muschamp was one of the few SEC head coaches who survived, doing nice things with a limited team that needs time to build. 8-4 might not have been good enough for Michigan this year, but it was plenty solid for the Gamecocks. However, after losing to USF in last year’s Birmingham Bowl – and considering the program won its previous four bowl games, including the 2013 Outback vs. Michigan – he can make a huge statement with a good bowl win.
– It’s the first college football game of 2018, and it just might be the best day all season with the two playoff games coming later in the day. There’s this to start it all off, Notre Dame vs. LSU in the Citrus and Auburn vs. UCF in the Chick-fil-A Peach going on at the same time. However, the Outback gets a half hour jump on the other two – it should be good enough to wake up for.
Here’s Why Michigan Will Win The Outback Bowl
– South Carolina doesn’t have the offense to pull this off. The Gamecocks don’t have enough weapons, and they don’t have the consistency on an offense that averaged just 340 yards per game. With a month off to rest of and get ready, Michigan’s defense – third in the nation – should be dominant, especially on the …
– Defensive line. South Carolina’s offensive front has been solid, but the ground attack is just a wee bit lacking. It perked up a little late in the season in wins over Vanderbilt and Florida, but the Gamecocks failed to hit the 100-yard rushing mark five times, losing four of those games.
The Michigan line – led by pass rushing terror Chase Winovich, and with working around future NFL starters Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst – struggled a wee bit late, but allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards six times.
– Brandon Peters had a month to heal up. The Michigan offense perfect up when the freshman took over the quarterback job. He was solid in a three-game winning streak, and he was good against Wisconsin before getting knocked out with a concussion. Now he not only is back and ready to go, but he’s playing to show that Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson might not be a lock to take over next year after all.
Here’s Why South Carolina Will Win The Outback Bowl
– Michigan’s offensive line has been okay, not amazing. South Carolina doesn’t have a great pass rush, but it should be able to turn it loose against a Wolverine front that allows way too many plays behind the line. Be shocked if the Gamecocks don’t come up with at least three sacks.
– For all of the good things the Michigan defense does, it’s not big on taking the ball away. South Carolina isn’t all that big on giving the ball away. For this to work for the Gamecocks, they have to win the mistake battle, they can’t screw up, and they can’t commit any big penalties. They led the SEC with the fewest penalties, fewest fumbles lost, and was first in takeaways.
– Time to step it up, Jake Bentley. The sophomore quarterback threw for 390 yards in the bowl loss to USF last year, but he hasn’t been forced to turn it up too often this season – he has just one 300-yard game, and lost. As long as he’s not throwing any big picks, and as long as he’s hitting his third down passes to keep drives alive, this might grind down into Muschamp Ball.
You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Outback Bowl
– The Big Ten needs this bowl win. Iowa got destroyed by Florida last year, and Northwestern lost to Tennessee 45-6 in the previous Outback. The SEC has taken four of the last five, but the Big Ten has the stronger team in this one. For all the talk about the bad year for the SEC, a win will help the perception problem.
– This is over if Michigan comes out fast. It’s an attitude moment for the Wolverines. They’re better, they should win this without a problem, and they should be able to turn it over to their defense if the offense can jump out to an early lead. If this is 14-0 Big Blue, America will be off watching the other bowls.
– It might be just this easy: South Carolina’s run D has to be great. The Gamecocks were 8-0 when allowing fewer than 184 rushing yards, 0-4 when giving up that many or more. Michigan is 8-0 when running for more than 103 yards, 0-4 when running for that many or fewer.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Outback Bowl?
This will be the Michigan you were waiting for. The defense will be too much for the Gamecocks right away, the running game will look fast, and this will be just the type of win that gets the hype machine rolling this offseason.
South Carolina will put up a nice fight to keep this from getting out of hand, but the Wolverines will have the game in hand from the start.
Michigan 31, South Carolina 20
– More Bowl Info & Get Tickets
Michigan -8, o/u: 43
ATS Confidence: 3
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar
Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas
Outback Bowl History, Results
Jan. 2, 2017 Florida 30, Iowa 3
Jan. 1, 2016 Tennessee 45 Northwestern 6
Jan. 1, 2015 Wisconsin 34 Auburn 31
Jan. 1, 2014 LSU 21 Iowa 14
Jan. 1, 2013 South Carolina 33 Michigan 28
Jan. 2, 2012 Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 (3 OT)
Jan. 1, 2011 Florida 37 Penn State 24
Jan. 1, 2010 Auburn 38 Northwestern 35 (OT)
Jan. 1, 2009 Iowa 31 South Carolina 10
Jan. 1, 2008 Tennessee 21 Wisconsin 17
Jan. 1, 2007 Penn State 20 Tennessee 10
Jan. 2, 2006 Florida 31 Iowa 24
Jan. 1, 2005 Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
Jan. 1, 2004 Iowa 37 Florida 17
Jan. 1, 2003 Michigan 38 Florida 30
Jan. 1, 2002 South Carolina 31 Ohio State 28
Jan. 1, 2001 South Carolina 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 2000 Georgia 28 Purdue 25
Jan. 1, 1999 Penn State 26 Kentucky 14
Jan. 1, 1998 Georgia 33 Wisconsin 6
Jan. 1, 1997 Alabama 17 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 1996 Penn State 43 Auburn 14
Jan. 2, 1995 Wisconsin 34 Duke 20
Jan. 1, 1994 Michigan 42 N.C. State 7
Jan. 1, 1993 Tennessee 38 Boston College 23
Jan. 1, 1992 Syracuse 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 1991 Clemson 30 Illinois 0
Jan. 1, 1990 Auburn 31 Ohio State 14
Jan. 2, 1989 Syracuse 23 LSU 10
Jan. 2, 1988 Michigan 28 Alabama 24
Dec. 23, 1986 Boston College 27 George 24