Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Capitol One Bowl Preview

Florida vs Michigan 1:00 ET ABC

Tampa, FL
Line: Fl -10.5, 59

Florida Gators (9-3, 5-3)

The 2007 Florida Gators was the Tim Tebow show. The super soph ran and passed his way to being the first sophomore to win the Heisman. The Gators looked liked they were going to make a another championship run until Auburn. Then came the epic game against LSU where four 4th down conversions sunk the Gators. Tebow took a beating this year as Florida's primary tailback and his injury hindered Florida in their loss to Georgia that ultimately ended their SEC hopes.
Best Win: vs Tennessee 59-20
Worst Loss: vs Auburn 17-20
Record vs Bowl Teams: 4-3
Record vs BCS Top 25: 1-3
Schedule Strength: 8th
HC Meyer Record in Bowls: 4-0

Michigan Wolverines (8-4, 6-2)
Michigan has been in the news all year, but not always for the right reasons. They started out off as a preseason national title favorite. They lost to Appalachian State at home, then got blown out by
Oregon at home. They hit the stop button and won 8 straight before losing their final two in the Big 10. The Wolverines were hit hard by injuries this year to their two best players - QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart. A 6th loss in 7 years to Ohio State led to the "resigning" of Lloyd Carr who will be coaching his final game in the bowl.
Best Win: @ Illinois 27-17

Worst Loss: vs App State 32-34
Record vs Bowl Teams: 4-3
Record vs BCS Top 25: 1-2
Schedule Strength: T-25th
HC Carr Record in Bowl Games: 5-7

Florida Offensive Game Plan:

1. Tim Tebow Run
2. Tim Tebow Pass
3. Tim Tebow Run, then jump pass
In all seriousness, the Gators should try to spread it out and get the
ball to playmakers like Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell in space. Michigan does not have the speed to run sideline to sideline with Florida. I think Tebow will only have limited success running up the middle. He will do much better around the ends and in space.

Michigan Defensive Game Plan:
Michigan should put LB Shawn Crable as a spy on Tebow. Crable is Big Blue's best athlete and is capable of tracking the Heisman winner. Not speaking out loud, but Michigan's best hope is that Tebow gets hurt or has put on 20 pounds on the Heisman dinner circuit.

Michigan Offensive Game Plan:

The Wolverines need to limit the Gators offensive possessions so expect them to grind it out on the ground with Mike Hart behind LT Jake Long. If they can suck up the Florida DBs, then they can use WR Mario Manningham who is one of the best deep threats in the nation. Michigan must protect Chad Henne who has been banged up all year.

Florida Defensive Game Plan:
Florida should over load to the left side of Michigan's offense where Jake Long is. The Wolverines are much better running over Long than to the right. Getting pressure on Henne is going to be key because Florida will have trouble covering Manningham for very long.

What does Tebow have left to proove? Michigan has a big group of seniors who have never won a bowl game and will be playing their last game in the Maize and Blue. This is also Lloyd Carr's last game. But if Michigan's seniors were that strong, they would have finished off last year instead of pouting, they would have beaten Appalachian State, and they would have beaten Ohio State at least once.

This is the cover I feel the most confident about in all of the bowls. There is no way Michigan can cope with Florida's speed on offense. The Wolverines should be able to score some points, but their defense will give up 40+.

Florida 45 Michigan 30
Florida Wins, Covers, Over

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