Thursday, December 31, 2015

Citrus Bowl Preview

Time: 1:00 PM EST
Location: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
Weather: 82 - 10%  rain
Line:  Michigan -4

Bowl games are funny things, some programs consider them a reward for a tough season, others consider it an exhibition.  When predicting a winner, you try to find the teams that want to be there  vs. the ones that don't.   Nebraska didn't even win 6 games and found themselves in a bowl game against a quality UCLA team.     Nebraska wanted to be in a bowl - UCLA didn't and Nebraska upset the Bruins. 

The Citrus Bowl could be a similar situation.   Michigan didn't go to a bowl game last year after Brady Hoke left this program on fire.  Florida did go bowling but was coached by Michigan's DC this year (DJ Durkin).   Both programs replaced their head coaches after last season and have had successful first years.   Florida played in the SEC Championship and had thoughts of Playoffs or at least a New Years Big 6 Bowl.   They lost to FSU and Alabama back to back and that playoff dream slipped away.   UF recently had a bunch of NFL Draft announcements and a few suspensions.

Tale of the Tape:
Michigan WR vs. Florida CB = Florida
Michigan DL vs. Florida OL = Michigan
Michigan OL vs. Florida DL = Florida
Michigan QB vs. Florida QB = Michigan
Intangibles = Michigan

Both programs should know each other very well.  Michigan's former DC and now head coach of Maryland, helped create the dominate Florida defense.  (Did Jimmy drain DJ's brain on the Gators before he left for Maryland?).  Michigan's 1 year OC under Brady Hoke, Doug Nussmeier is now the OC at Florida.   These teams should know each other very well.  

UF has had serious trouble moving the ball on offense under Nuss and with recent suspensions could have mostly freshman on the offensive line.   That should be a huge advantage for the likes of Worm, Taco, and Big Willy.    Florida has also watched the Minnesota, IU and Ohio State games and knows Michigan has had trouble stopping the run against an athletic QB. 

Sing Hail to the Victors if...................................
  • Michigan can move the ball on the UF defense
  • Michigan can get TD's instead of field goals
  • Michigan has some sort of running game
  • Peppers and Rudock are healthy
  • Michigan defense shuts down the UF offense
Yell, I just got bite by a gator if........................................
  • Michigan's Defense can't stop the new offensive formations we will likely see from Nuss
  • Michigan can run against the Florida Defense
  • Michigan's WR can't get separation against the Florida DB's
  • Michigan offense gives Florida offense a short field
  • Michigan LB's continue to look lost

If you want a ton of points and a lot of offense, this is not the game for you.   Both teams have a very good secondary and want to stop the run.   If Michigan is going to win this game they will have to have a game plan that sets up the run through their passing game.   Michigan's offense is a stronger unit then Florida's offense, but has also turned the ball over in spurts and turnovers could push the game towards the Gators.  

Michigan's biggest advantage on offense is their TE's.   I expect Darboh and Chesson will have trouble with Florida's CB and Michigan will have to use Butt and Bunting a ton to move the sticks and get into the red zone.   I expect if Peppers is heathy enough to play, he will only take defensive snaps.  Rudock went to high school in Miami and will want to play well in his last college game in front of family and friends.   I just hope he is 100% healthy after a months rest.    He will have to play very will in getting the ball out fast and throwing in tight windows.   If he is not healthy or not even playing, all bets are off.

I like Michigan in this game, because the Wolverines are excited to be in a bowl game and have Harbaugh as their head coach.  This entire team remembers this time last year.   Florida is playing in their home state but could have their heads elsewhere.   Michigan will have to play smart, physical football to win.  I hope this game doesn't come down to a special teams mistake.

Michigan 17  Florida 9


M go Clean said...

I would like to thank Bob and the Big House Blog for another great year of updates. This blog is generally the first and only place that I go for a thorough, yet quick, daily update on M football. It captures every major happening and keeps me updated without spending hours of time reading and browsing through useless information. I feel indebted to the BHB!

THANK YOU!!!......And, Happy New Year!!!


ScottyDoggs said...

M go clean took the words out of my mouth, so all I can say is "I am going to go with Bob's prediction",, and Jimmy needs a quality win to advance his program.

Tim said...

Agreed. Thanks for everything Bob!

Go Blue.

dude1984 said...

I agree with the other two posters. This is the first place I go to get a quick update on Michigan football. Thanks for doing what you do.

Now on to the game. I agree with Bob. The offense is going to come down to utilizing the TEs, check downs, a variety of screens, and some trick plays. On defense they be facing an inexperienced O-line and QB...they need to show pressure/crowd the line every down, and alternate between blitzing and faking it.

dude1984 said...

Edit...I agree with the other 3 posters.

Voice of Reason said...

Florida is no doubt a very good team and they were in the championship game of what conventional wisdom considers “the best college football conference in the nation,” albeit, with that being said I am hard pressed to take a closer at Michigan’s bowl opponent.

Florida already has a ten wins but when we look at the quality of those wins we see the following:

New Mexico St. 0-5 (0-2)
East Carolina 5-7 (3-5)
Kentucky 5-7 (2-6)
Florida Atlantic 3-9 (3-5)
Vanderbilt 4-8 (2-6)
South Carolina 3-9 (1-7)
Missouri 5-7 (1-7)
Total seven (7) wins from very weak teams

Tennessee 8-4 (5-3)
Ole Miss 9-3 (6-2)
LSU 9-3 (5-3) [Weak Schedule]
Georgia 9-3 (5-3) [Weak Schedule]
Total four (4) wins from teams with winning records and two of those with a very weak schedule.

Florida St. 10-2 (6-2) [Case for weakness]
Alabama 12-1 (8-1) [Best team faced]
Total two (2) losses from arguably strong teams and one (FSU) of those from arguably a weak power conference.

My point being with all of this is that we all know that anything from the SEC is considered the “best in the country” however; one could argue that Florida has been a bottom feeder team, i.e., beating a very weak group of teams gaining seven wins, and struggling against some of them (East Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic).

So does that mean that Michigan is going to dominate or even win this bowl game? No! All I am saying is that yes, Florida is a good team and worthy of respect, but let’s not assume that Michigan is going to “struggle” simply because Florida has dominated a much weaker schedule and come from the SEC. IMHO!!!

Voice of Reason said...

Sorry I made a mistake in my math, Florida lost to LSU.

ScottyDoggs said...

Voice of Reason... your posts are always well received, probably the most thought out, and informative of this blog (besides Bob). You are forgiven for this minor infraction... (now back to your seat! {LOL})

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