ESPN predicts Michigan football’s postseason run

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When it comes to the College Football Playoff, while matchups are heavily important, to some degree, just get there.

Michigan football will embark upon its first trip ever to the playoff, but thanks to Alabama upsetting Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the road back to Indianapolis got a little tougher.

Just a week ago, Georgia was thought of as a juggernaut that could not be beat, with the talk that it has a generational defense and the best players in the country. However, Georgia did what Georgia does — disappoint with everything right there on the table.

Thanks to the perception that has long existed, the Bulldogs still made it into the College Football Playoff, and Michigan will be the team who attempts to give UGA two losses in a row.

And, as far as ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg sees it, that’s precisely what will happen.

CFP Semifinal at Capital One Orange Bowl: Michigan Wolverines vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Jim Harbaugh’s mission to build Michigan into a team that would truly reflect his personality took longer than expected, but it has happened. The Wolverines will make their CFP debut against a team that largely resembles them. Like Michigan with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, Georgia boasts elite defensive linemen such as Jordan Davis. Both teams are built around multiple rushing options, talented tight end play and unheralded but effective quarterbacks in Cade McNamara (Michigan) and Stetson Bennett IV (Georgia). Will Georgia consider a QB change after Bennett’s struggles in the SEC title game? Coach Kirby Smart must guard against an Alabama hangover, or Georgia’s four-decades-long national title drought will add another painful year. Michigan played its best football down the stretch and will outlast Georgia in a defensive struggle behind two Hutchinson-forced turnovers.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Georgia 21

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But, that would mean that the Wolverines would get a rematch against Alabama — the team it lost to in the last bowl game when the duo met in the VRBO Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020.

Rittenberg is not as enthusiastic about Michigan’s chances in that game.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T: Michigan Wolverines vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
Jan. 10, 8 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Who could have imagined before the season that Michigan would play not one but two championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium? The first CFP national title game in the Midwest will feature an incredible atmosphere and two of the most recognizable coaches in all of football. Michigan will need to replicate its Ohio State game plan, dominating the line of scrimmage and limiting deep passes from Alabama’s Bryce Young, ideally with pressure from Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. But Young isn’t going to be stopped this season and will find enough holes in the Michigan secondary. The Wolverines won’t generate enough in the run game and their quarterbacks will make a few too many mistakes to take down the Tide. Alabama will repeat as national champion for the second time under coach Nick Saban, who further solidifies his status as the best to ever walk the college sideline.

Prediction: Alabama 33, Michigan 21

Again, just get there. We do find it kind of odd that Rittenberg thinks that Michigan will score more on Georgia’s defense compared to Alabama’s, which has been somewhat susceptible this season.

Either way, as said, just get there.

List

What Jim Harbaugh said about Michigan football being in the Capital One Orange Bowl