2018 Peach Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick
Gators looking for their first.
With the 2018 Peach Bowl, of the New Year’s Six variety, we are finally getting into the top-shelf bowl games.
I don’t want to hear it, Alamo Bowl (which, by the way, I think is an intriguing matchup that I will watch): these are both top-ten teams. It’s not you; it’s them. On one end, it’s the Florida Gators, SEC team having a bit of a renaissance under Dan Mullen in his first season. The other sideline is roaming territory for Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines, a team so close to the College Football Playoff they could rech out and touch it. Yet, the only thing they felt was Ohio State’s proverbial cleat up their backside.
Michigan seeks redemption in this Peach Bowl, but so does Florida, for reasons about to become clear. Which team takes this game?
Previous Bowls Picked: Cure | New Mexico | Las Vegas | Camellia | New Orleans | Boca Raton | Frisco | Gasparilla | Bahamas | Idaho Potato | Birmingham | Armed Forces | Dollar General | Hawaii | First Responder | Quick Lane | Cheez-It | Independence | Pinstripe | Texas | Music City | Camping World | Alamo | Belk | Arizona
2018 Peach Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info
|Saturday, December 29, 2018, 12:00pm ET (9:00am PT)|
|Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Broadcast on ESPN|
|Payout comes from CFP Revenue Pool (Link: College Football Poll)|
|Michigan is a 7-point favorite|
2018 Peach Bowl: Florida Gators
|9-3 (5-3 SEC); 3rd place in SEC East|
|Best Win: LSU|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 32nd, Total Offense 45th, Rushing Offense 27th, 3rd Downs 56th, Time of Possession 66th, Turnover Margin 10th, Sacks Allowed 18th, Red Zone 80th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 21st, Total Defense 27th, Rushing Defense 73rd, Opponent 3rd Downs 48th, Sacks Per Game 29th, TFL Per Game 45th, Interceptions 34th, Opponent Red Zone 112th|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 6th, Punts Per Game 86th|
2018 Peach Bowl: Michigan Wolverines
|10-2 (8-1 Big Ten); Big Ten East co-champions|
|Best Win: Penn State|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 20th, Total Offense 43rd, Rushing Offense 26th, 3rd Downs 7th, Time of Possession 4th, Turnover Margin 21st, Sacks Allowed 24th, Red Zone 39th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 12th, Total Defense 1st, Rushing Defense 16th, Opponent 3rd Downs 16th, Sacks Per Game 36th, TFL Per Game 38th, Interceptions 50th, Opponent Red Zone 123rd|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 34th, Punts Per Game 123rd|
2018 Peach Bowl: Head-to-Head
Michigan and Florida have four previous meetings in the bank, all four of which were won by the Wolverines.
In recent times, Michigan defeated Florida in the 2016 Citrus Bowl in a 41-7 rout, and then in the 2017 season opener by a 33-17 score. (Link: Winsipedia)
2018 Peach Bowl: Pick
Florida has not defeated Michigan in four prior attempts, and the last two were recent. Does it make a difference in this game, no, but sure, the Gators want to further enhance Michigan’s misery with the way their regular season ended.
The Michigan defense, if it shows up, is a force with which to be reckoned. (We did not say “a force to be reckoned with” in that sentence because, as you know, you should not end a sentence in a preposition. You’re welcome.) For much of the way, except against the very best of competition, they smothered teams in ways that may be considered illegal in some states. No unit allowed fewer yards per game this season than the Wolverines.
Florida is also a very good defensive team, so low-scoring might be the word of the day in Atlanta. Neither one was bad, relatively speaking, at giving up too many big plays over the course of the season as a whole. Florida’s red alert should be their average run defense, which got blowtorched a few times this season. Kentucky and Mizzou ran all over them and they tended to do much worse against better FBS competition. Michigan has Karan Higdon, who would have made Florida’s lives difficult, but he is NOT playing in the 2018 Peach Bowl. He’s not the only one. (Link: CBS Sports)
A few Michigan men taking a pass on the bowl game may not necessarily tip the scales, because the Wolverines still have plenty, but these defensive battles can hinge on the smallest details. Michigan is, and has been, the better team this season. We will find out if the gap narrowed or disappeared due to NFL Draft roster attrition.