Michigan vs TCU prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Saturday, December 31
Michigan vs TCU College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Prediction Game Preview
Michigan vs TCU How To Watch
Date: Saturday, December 31
Game Time: 4:00 ET
Venue: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: Michigan (13-0), TCU (12-1)
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Michigan vs TCU College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl 5 Things To Know
– It didn’t seem like it was “just the beginning” for Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh suggested coming off a 34-11 pasting from Georgia in last year’s College Football Playoff semifinal.
Harbaugh was 50/50 on going to the NFL – and was probably the Minnesota Viking head coach if he wasn’t lowballed – Ohio State was going to be back to its normal unbeatable self, and the Michigan program was going to settle back into being very good, but hardly among the elite of the elite.
And then it not only did it again, it was even better in an undefeated season with a crazily consistent offensive style of play that held for a full 12 games on the way to winning a second straight Big Ten title.
Last year, the Wolverines had done enough. They broke through, exorcised the Buckeye demon, and proved it was possible to win massive things under Harbaugh.
Not this time. Just getting here won’t get it done like it does for …
– TCU was one of the massive pleasant surprises of the 2022 season. New coach, program coming off a mediocre year, some rebuilding to do, and a schedule that looked a tad too daunting – some genius actually predicted TCU was going to lose to Colorado to start the season … I sought out professional help after that.
But head coach Sonny Dykes put together something magical. QB Max Duggan took over early and morphed into Max Tebow, the team found every way possible to win close games and pull off comebacks, and even getting here despite losing the Big 12 Championship was a charmed moment for the program.
It’s not like TCU hasn’t been close. It was No. 3 in the penultimate 2014 College Football Playoff rankings and got pushed out in the final version. In the CFP era this is the fourth season in nine with 11 or more wins, it knows how to crank up the offense, and it can pull the “nobody believes in us” attitude.
– This is TCU’s first bowl appearance since winning the 2018 Cheez-It 10-7 in OT – unquestionably the ugliest-played event in the history of sporting contests. However, the program has won four of its last five and ten of its last 13. On the flip side …
– Michigan has been a bowl game disaster. It lost five straight and is 3-12 since winning the 2003 Outback over Florida. Even worse, the last three bowl appearances were brutal blowouts, and the team melted down in the 2018 Outback loss to South Carolina and 2016 loss to Florida State. This is the first time Michigan has ever faced TCU.
– No pressure or anything, Fiesta Bowl, but College Football Playoff semifinal or not, you’re supposed to be amazing. Last year’s Oklahoma State comeback win over Notre Dame was one of the wildest moments of the bowl season. The 2019 Clemson win over Ohio State in the CFP semifinal screwed up The entire university for a full year – OSU was out of its mind over the way that game ended.
LSU getting by UCF the year before that was fun, Penn State getting by Washington the year before that was fun, and in all, four of the last five Fiesta Bowls have been outstanding – they needed to be to make up for the 31-0 uggo of a Clemson College Football Playoff semifinal win over Ohio State in 2016.
NEXT: Why Michigan will win the College Football Playoff Fiesta Bowl, why TCU will win the College Football Playoff Fiesta Bowl
Why Michigan Will Win The College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
Run the ball, keep running, rely on the defense, wait for the dam to break, repeat.
That’s been Michigan all year.
The team gets into a little bit of trouble as it takes a half to warm up, and then in the second half it runs for a gajillion yards on its first few drives, the defense settles in, and all is right with the world from there. Expect more of the same.
TCU’s run defense is fine, but it lost to Kansas State when it gave up 205 rushing yards in the Big 12 Championship, and it needed a miraculous late comeback and kick to get by Baylor despite allowing 232 yards on the ground.
The Horned Frog defense hasn’t faced anything like this, and it certainly hasn’t faced an O line this good.
Again, you know exactly what you’re getting from Michigan. It’s going to keep the ball for almost 35 minutes, it’s not going to allow any pressure in the backfield, and it’s going to eventually get the attack moving with long, sustained drives with a few occasional big rushing bursts. All that, and the Wolverines come into this with the third-best defense in America.
If that wasn’t enough … 7. That’s how many turnovers the Wolverines have given away. They don’t commit penalties, they don’t make a slew of big mistakes, and they’re as methodical in what they do as any team over the last several years.
Why TCU Will Win The College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
TCU will stretch the field a bit. The weapons are there to keep pressing the Michigan defense.
No, the Horned Frog lines can’t and won’t hold up against what Michigan does, but Max Duggan can hit the deep shot, WR Quentin Johnson might just be the best player in this game – at least he’s close – and Kendra Miller is a tough, explosive back who was good for at least one touchdown in every game and over six yards per carry.
How do you hang with Michigan? You have to convert on your third down chances and keep that O line on the other side from taking over.
Maryland was able to make it a fight in a 34-27 loss by keeping the pressure on with the passing game, and Illinois was able to use its combination of running, defense, and third down conversions to almost pull of a win in a 19-17 loss.
TCU has to do all of that, and it can.
Only five teams were able to hit 100 yards rushing on Michigan. Maryland was one, Illinois ran for a season-high 148 yards and two scores, and it’s going to be bothered by a Horned Frog ground game that was only held under 140 yards twice, and that’s because the Iowa State game was a blowout and the passing attack worked too well against Baylor.
NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Michigan vs TCU Prediction, College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl History
Michigan vs TCU College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, What’s Going To Happen
TCU doesn’t necessarily live off of turnover margin, but that’s not happening here.
It lives off of controlling the game with its offense and working with a great balance. That’s not happening here either.
You know how this works. TCU will be great to start, everyone will go crazy that the upset is coming, and then 2022 Michigan will go 2022 Michigan.
The defense will rise up, the offense will hammer down, and the Wolverines will own the third quarter with its system taking over and the big plays from the TCU offense in the first half slowing down. It’ll all mean yet another bad College Football Playoff semifinal undercard.
In the first eight years of this, only the epic 54-48 double-overtime Georgia win over Oklahoma in the 2017 season’s Rose Bowl was a good first game of the CFP day. The other seven were all decided by 17 or more.
Make it eight of nine.
Michigan vs TCU College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Prediction, Line
CFN Prediction: Michigan 34, TCU 17
Line: Michigan -7.5, o/u: 58
ATS Confidence out of 5: 4
College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Must See Rating (out of 5): 5
CFN Experts CFP NY6, Dec 28-Jan 2
College Football Playoff Vrbo Fiesta Bowl History
Jan. 1, 2022 Oklahoma State 37, Notre Dame 35
Jan. 2, 2021 Iowa State 34, Oregon 17
Dec. 28, 2019 CFP Clemson 29, Ohio State 23
Jan. 1, 2019 LSU 40, UCF 32
Dec. 30, 2017 Penn State 35, Washington 28
Dec. 31, 2016 CFP Clemson 31, Ohio State 0
Dec. 31, 2014 Boise State 38 Arizona 30
Jan. 3, 2013 Oregon 35 Kansas State 17
Jan. 2, 2012 Oklahoma State 41 Stanford 38 (OT)
Jan. 1, 2011 Oklahoma 48 Connecticut 20
Jan. 4, 2010 Boise State 17 TCU 10
Jan. 5, 2009 Texas 24 Ohio State 21
Jan. 2, 2008 West Virginia 48 Oklahoma 28
Jan. 1, 2007 Boise State 43 Oklahoma 42 (OT)
Jan. 2, 2006 Ohio State 34 Notre Dame 20
Jan. 1, 2005 Utah 35 Pittsburgh 7
Jan. 2, 2004 Ohio State 35 Kansas State 28
Jan. 3, 2003 Ohio State 31 Miami 24
Jan. 1, 2002 Oregon 38 Colorado 16
Jan. 1, 2001 Oregon State 41 Notre Dame 9
Jan. 2, 2000 Nebraska 31 Tennessee 21
Jan. 4, 1999 Tennessee 23 Florida State 16
Dec. 31, 1997 Kansas State 35 Syracuse 18
Jan. 1, 1997 Penn State 38 Texas 15
Jan. 2, 1996 Nebraska 62 Florida 24
Jan. 2, 1995 Colorado 41 Notre Dame 24
Jan. 1, 1994 Arizona 29 Miami 0
Jan. 1, 1993 Syracuse 26 Colorado 22
Jan. 1, 1992 Penn State 42 Tennessee 17
Jan. 1, 1991 Louisville 24 Alabama 7
Jan. 1, 1990 Florida State 41 Nebraska 17
Jan. 2, 1989 Notre Dame 34 West Virginia 21
Jan. 1, 1988 Florida State 31 Nebraska 28
Jan. 2, 1987 Penn State 14 Miami 10
Jan. 1, 1986 Michigan 27 Nebraska 23
Jan. 1, 1985 UCLA 39 Miami 37
Jan. 2, 1984 Ohio State 28 Pittsburgh 23
Jan. 1, 1983 Arizona State 32 Oklahoma 21
Jan. 1, 1982 Penn State 26 USC 10
Dec. 26, 1980 Penn State 31 Ohio State 19
Dec. 25, 1979 Pittsburgh 16 Arizona 10
Dec. 25, 1978 Arkansas 10 UCLA 10
Dec. 25, 1977 Penn State 42 Arizona State 30
Dec. 25, 1976 Oklahoma 41 Wyoming 7
Dec. 26, 1975 Arizona State 17 Nebraska 14
Dec. 28, 1974 Oklahoma State 16 BYU 6
Dec. 21, 1973 Arizona State 28 Pittsburgh 7
Dec. 23, 1972 Arizona State 49 Missouri 35
Dec. 27, 1971 Arizona State 45 Florida State 38