Roundtable predictions for Michigan Football in the Orange Bowl

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Some of our writers offer predictions for Michigan football and Georgia in the 2021 Orange Bowl.

We are about 48 hours from kickoff in the biggest game that Michigan football will have played in almost 25 years.

There’s always a first time for everything these days, and for Michigan, this playoff appearance is a first-time, and it is against a formidable foe, an SEC power, the Georgia Bulldogs, and frankly, none of us would have it any other way.

This game is another chance to prove that Michigan football belongs on the biggest stage, and can take down an SEC opponent, the conference that has continuously tortured the Big Ten over the years in the regular season and post-season games.

The Big Ten is 38-52 all-time against the SEC (not including this year’s bowl games).

Michigan and Georgia haven’t played each other in 56 years, so there is not a lot of history of matchups between the two blue bloods.

None of that matters though. Now, the GBM writers will give their round table predictions for what they think will transpire on Friday, December 31st:

Jared Dettmer

Georgia is a heck of an opponent (it is the Playoff after all), but they have some flaws. Flaws that have been hidden by a fairly mediocre schedule, even in the SEC.

Their best win is likely the 37-0 beatdown of now #22 Arkansas, an impressive win, but nowhere near the heights of Michigan’s wins over Ohio State and Iowa.

The Wolverines are battle-tested and have nothing to lose. They’ve taken the underdog story and literally run with it all season. Michigan takes this low-scoring, defensive battle 24-17.

Kyler Kregel

While Georgia figures to be the toughest, fastest, and most physical defense Michigan football has seen, the Wolverines are battled-tested at moving the ball against top defenses this year, having faced four of the top-30 scoring defenses in college football (Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa).

In those matchups, the Wolverines are averaging nearly 39 points per game, thanks to an equally physical rushing attack and a smooth, efficient passing attack to balance it out.

Should Michigan break through the Georgia defense a couple of times, they will set themselves up in an ideal position to force Georgia to play from behind, something they struggled mightily with against Alabama. Michigan 27, Georgia 20.

Chris Peterson

No one expected Michigan football to be in this game at the start of the season. But here we are. The Wolverines face their most difficult opponent of the season in Georgia.

But against a QB who isn’t elite and a run game that struggled against Bama, if Michigan can force Stetson Bennett to win the game, the Wolverines pass rush can be the difference. That and Cade McNamara has one of his best games. Michigan wins 23-20.

Nick Popio

Georgia is a sizable favorite because they’re from the SEC, but Michigan should not be overlooked. The Wolverines proved they can dance with the big boys and Georgia could not when it faced Alabama.

That’s why I like Michigan in a close one, especially if they’re able to run on Georgia’s intense front seven. Michigan moves on to the national championship in a nail-biter 16-13.

Cameron Stokes

I’ve listened to various SEC podcasts and have watched various SEC sports talk shows and all of them say the exact same things, not giving Michigan much of a chance, only hyping up Georgia’s vaunted defense.

Frankly, I’ve grown sick of this Georgia-heavy talk and just want the Boys in Blue to lay it all on the field. Whether they win or lose is up for debate, but I know one thing: Michigan won’t just fall over and play dead. No, they’re going to fight, and fight until the final whistle blows.

Michigan has more than enough offensive firepower to hang some points on Georgia, and even though Georgia’s defense is statistically the best in the country as a whole, I still feel like Michigan can wear them down over time.

No, Georgia isn’t the only team that can play football. Michigan is in the playoff for a reason and needs to be treated as such. The amount of disrespect that some Georgia fans and all of the SEC talking heads have done in the lead-up to the playoff game is irritating.

Paul Finebaum says that he believes in Jim Harbaugh now, and then in the next sentence, still doesn’t think that Michigan can compete with Georgia “quite yet.”

Everyone wanted Ohio State to be the team to make it to the playoff out of the Big Ten and not Michigan because they are the “sexier” option, and everyone thought that Ohio State would be able to beat Georgia if they made the playoff but guess what?

Michigan beat Ohio State, so they can beat Georgia too. And do people realize that Michigan has more explosive plays on offense of 50, 60, and 70+ yards than Ohio State? Hmm, but I digress.

Michigan has been much more battle-tested than Georgia, the Wolverines have momentum, and they have a man named Aidan Hutchinson on defense.

Next. 5 bold predictions for the Orange Bowl. dark

Georgia will create problems with Brock Bowers and Michigan won’t run for 250 yards on Georgia’s defense, but Cade will make enough plays, Michigan will do just enough to squeak by in a tough, tough physical game. Give me Michigan 27-24.