Michigan vs TCU: What To Expect

Can Duggan and TCU upset Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl? The Associated Press
Can Duggan and TCU upset Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl? The Associated Press

It is finally time and the college football playoffs kicks off this weekend. Both of these teams fought all season to get to this point, and look to try and play one more game after this. Here are some of the things to expect from TCU and Michigan.

Betting Lines

  • Spread: Michigan -7.5
  • Over/under: 58.5
  • Moneyline: Michigan -300, TCU +255

The Wolverines opened as 8.5-point favorites on some sportsbooks, and the movement suggests there is some value in the Horned Frogs. Michigan was favored by even more before, as the line originally was Michigan as a 9.5 or even 10 point favorite on some books. Duggan is going to the NFL draft as well after the CFP, so he is trying to end his great season with a Championship. Michigan is looking to avenge its tragic loss last time out in the CFP.

Michigan’s Advantage

This 13-0 BIG10 school has some big bodies. Michigan has one of the biggest and best offensive lines in the country, and they make sure to use them well. With Blake Corum out, Michigan will need a big game out of JJ McCarthy and Donovan Edwards. The sophomore combination has stepped up in the absence of Corum, especially during the last two games. With TCU having some good defensive backs, Michigan will look to lean on the run. While McCarthy can get it done through the air, the run game is almost a must for Michigan.

Edwards should be in for a huge role. The 202-pound running back averaged 9.1 yards per carry against Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue. He’s rushed for 100 yards in every game he had at least 15 carries. Jim Harbaugh has flipped the script on his tenure the last two seasons, especially against ranked teams. Along with this, Michigan’s coaching staff has been incredible after halftime this season. The Wolverines have a +206 point differential after halftime.

TCUs Advantage

First year coach Sonny Dykes has done well with his arrival. TCU (12-1) is making its first CFP appearance, and will be led by Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan. Michigan has done well shutting down mobile quarterbacks, so Duggan will have to find different ways to help out on the ground. To help him with that, Kendre Miller will need to get touches. He was a monster for TCU this season, and has scored a touchdown in every game this season. On the outside, TCU has some great wideouts. This group is led by Quentin Johnson, who has averaged 17.0 yards per catch this season. This team loved its big plays as well, as they are one of the best in the nation at plays of 15+ yards.

Defensively, TCU has three defensive backs with at least three interceptions. These are Thorpe Award winner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Bud Clark and Josh Newton. They are a bit smaller in the front seven, but TCU has done a good job all year with beating teams with scheme.

Game Expectations

TCU will want to get into a shootout and get out on top early, while Michigan will look to run the rock and slow the game down. The Horned Frogs can make Michigan uncomfortable if Duggan is an efficient playmaker outside the pocket, especially if the Wolverines have turnovers. They also should be able to move the ball against the Michigan defense. Ohio State and Purdue averaged 474 total yards in the last two games. The only issue is TCU needs to score. The Buckeyes and Boilermakers combined for three TDs and six field goals in those games, and that left the door open for Michigan to pull away. Michigan’s opponents scored 11 TDs in 29 red-zone attempts this season.

I would love to see TCU win this game. They have the talent to do so, but they will have to play some really good football. Michigan has been good all year and has been really well coached. This game can truly be won by either of these teams. Michigan vs TCU will be a great matchup to kick off the CFP.

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