Who: Florida Gators (9-3) vs. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)
What: The Peach Bowl
When: Saturday Noon
Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Here’s what to watch:
Establish the run
If the Gators are going to have success on offense it’s going to start on the ground. The two headed monster running back combo of Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine (above), who had 100 yard rushing games against South Carolina and FSU at the end of the year, are going to be counted on to get some drives scrolling and points on the board. The run game progressively got better in the second half of the year for Florida.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks is limited at being able to attack defenses by just throwing the ball and is much better, as the dual-threat to tuck it under and take off.
If Florida cannot get something going on the ground, it could be a long day against the Wolverines.
Personnel losses could cost Michigan
Since the regular season finale loss to Ohio State which cost them the division title in the Big Ten title game, Michigan has seen Junior defensive and rashan Gary and Junior linebacker Devin Bush both declare for the NFL draft. Also, running back Karan Higdon has announced he won’t play in this game Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. Higdon is a senior who is nursing an injury and ran for almost 1,200 yards and 10 TD’s will be missed.
The Gators defense is one of their strong suits and Higdon not being there will put more pressure on Michigan quarterback and former Ole Miss player Shea Patterson.
Mullen vs. Harbaugh
First-year Gators coach Dan Mullen has got everybody on board with him, especially after a strong finish with a 9 and 3 season and the win over the Noles. The Gators also had a very solid early signing period recruiting class a week and a half ago.
Meanwhile, there is some discontent with Harbaugh as he’s been unable to get past Ohio State even once in his four years and once again Michigan is relegated to a second-tier bowl game. However, Harbaugh has had the Gators number including the season-opening win a year ago in Arlington, TX and the Citrus Bowl win over Florida three seasons ago.
ESPN will spend a lot of time showing and talking about both coaches on the sidelines and let’s see who can out X and O the other.