Florida State (9-3) vs Michigan (10-2)
When: Friday, December 30th 2016
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Florida State Seminoles and Michigan Wolverines both missed out on the College Football Playoffs and will instead meet in the Orange Bowl on December 30th in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Seminoles were a preseason top four pick, but losses to Louisville (60-23), North Carolina (37-35) and second-ranked Clemson (37-34) during a six-week span, doomed them. Junior running back Dalvin Cook, who has rushed for 4,319 yards and 45 touchdowns in his Florida State career, is likely playing his last collegiate game. 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). 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 record three straight 100-yard games against the Gators. Florida State led the nation with 47 sacks the regular season behind DeMarcus Walker’s FBS-leading 15. The Seminoles line should cause some problems for a Michigan offensive line that struggled in the last three games of the season.
Michigan is disappointed in missing out on the CFB by losing two of their last three including a controversial 30-27 double-overtime loss to No. 2 Ohio State. Sophomore hybrid linebacker Jabrill Peppers, who has played 11 different positions, won numerous 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. He became the first unanimous All-American at Michigan since Jake Long in 2007. Michigan finished right behind the Seminoles with 44 sacks in the regular season and also have a dominate defense. Under first-year coordinator Don Brown, the Wolverines finished first nationally in tackles for loss (115), second in scoring defense (12.5) and second in total defense (252.7). 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. Junior quarterback Wilton Speight, who threw for 2,375 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first year as a starter, was slowed by a shoulder injury down the stretch but is expected to be back to 100 percent health against Florida State.
This should be a fun game to watch as both defenses are solid. The offense won’t get much going here in this one, but Florida State has a little more with Cook leading the way. This is way too many points to give a talented Florida State team.
Pick: Florida State +7