This New Year’s Eve special will certainly be a toss-up. Michigan and Georgia both have great strengths and nearly perfect resumes, so predicting a blowout for either side just doesn’t make sense. As mentioned by many, this one might be the best matchup of the bowl season.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami; it has all the makings of a College Football Playoff classic.

The No. 2 Wolverines can beat the No. 3 Bulldogs. That’s not even for up debate; it’s not like UGA has too much for UM to handle. Of course, in order for that to happen, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines will have to play their best game of the season. Forget 42-27 over Ohio State and 42-3 over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Those milestone wins are in the past.

Georgia is the future.

My score prediction will come in a day or two. But for now, let’s review why Michigan can beat Georgia. There will probably be a little bit of “how” mixed into this as well. On paper, Harbaugh’s Wolverines certainly have the means to take down coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs.


If Jim Harbaugh isn’t the consensus coach of the year, then who is? He went from 2-4 in 2020, unranked during this preseason, and now he’s got a great shot at winning a national title. He beat Ohio State, finishing 11-1 during the regular season before securing Michigan’s first outright Big Ten title since 2003 (shared in 2004).

Harbaugh already has won Eddie Robinson COTY honors. He’s up for the Dodd too. Even Paul (AKA Pete) Finebaum changed his tune, singing the praises of Harbaugh’s incredible run through the schedule. Michigan has Josh Gattis on the offensive side and Mike Macdonald on the defensive side. So many sharp football minds all in one collection, all focused on advancing to a national title bout with either Alabama or Cincinnati.

Best OL and B1G-best RBs

Michigan’s O-line just won the Joe Moore Award, given annually since 2015 to the best offensive line in college football. The Wolverines were the second Big Ten representatives to win the coveted, rolling cabinet-looking monster of a trophy. Iowa snagged it in 2016.

With the best blockers and QB protectors in the game, it’s game on for the running backs and quarterback. But specifically, the running backs: Michigan has the two highest-graded RBs in the Big Ten. Blake Corum should be completely healthy come game time. Hassan Haskins has been more-than-healthy all year, hurdling Buckeyes and scoring 5 TDs during the Wolverines’ biggest win in who knows how long.

This past week, Michigan OG Andrew Stueber was asked about the progress of the running backs. Did he know they were going to go off like they have this season?

Pretty much, yeah.

“We knew what we had,” he said, adding that Haskins and Corum, and the rest of the RB corps, comprise a “special group.”

This is Michigan’s best backfield during the Harbaugh era, and it’s the best OL of the Harbaugh era. So “this” can definitely contribute to a victory over Georgia.

70 TFLs/Ojabo-Hutch

Michigan had 70 tackles for loss this season, good enough to be among the top overall teams in that department — and good enough for an average of nearly 5.5 per game. Led by Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, sack-masters supreme, the Wolverines have two of the best pass-rushers in college football.

Hutchinson has a single-season UM record 14 sacks (and counting), while Ojabo has 11 (and counting). There is no team in the nation that has such a dynamic edge-rushing duo. Georgia has 6 or 7 players with 4.5 TFLs on the season — a great mixture spread around all kinds of talented defensive players.

However, the power coming from Michigan’s edges is unparalleled in college football and it’ll certainly be a key factor for Michigan’s potential victory over Georgia.

65 plays of 20 yards or more

When a team can burn up a field with 20-yard-plus plays, you know it has a great chance to win some games. Michigan had 65 of them this season, most likely setting a Harbaugh-era record. The 2016 team may have come close … but it’s almost certain that 65 were the most since Harbaugh took over in 2015.

That stat, alone, is one to really think about. Literally, any Michigan offensive player has the potential to break off a chunk-yardage play. The Wolverines have even had a handful of 45-to-50-yard plays this season, too. Every starting receiver has had a catch of 20 or more, and every starting running back has broken off a run that big or bigger.

And don’t forget about the trick-play factor, either. Michigan has successfully executed a couple of flea-flickers and end-around/reverses.

Watch out for RB Donovan Edwards. He has a nice arm.

Time to beat an SEC team

Short and sweet: Why not now?

If not for a 37-33 loss to Michigan State, Michigan would be undefeated. UM beat Ohio State and won a B1G title. This has been a dream season for the Wolverines. So, next obstacle: not only win a bowl game (UM hasn’t since the 2015 season), but also beat an SEC team (only done once vs. Florida, 2015).

Harbaugh is 1-4 against the SEC in the postseason. Time for a change? Michigan is all about change these days, so why not?