The Outback Bowl played at Tampa Florida, will see the 8-4 Michigan Wolverines take on the 8-4 South Carolina Gamecocks on January 1, 2018.
This will be the 46th bowl appearance for Michigan and the fifth time that they have appeared in this particular bowl game. Michigan has one of the most storied histories in all of college football, but their bowl record has not been particularly stellar, as they have gone 21-24 in their previous bowl appearances. The last appearance for the Wolverines in a bowl game was in 2016 when they lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, 33-32.
South Carolina will be making their 22nd bowl appearance, where they have a previous record of 8-13. The last appearance for the Gamecocks was in 2016 when they lost to South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl, 46-39, in overtime.
Gamecocks vs. Wolverines
Spread: South Carolina +8 (-115 ); Michigan -8 (-105 ) Get the latest CBB odds direct from Las Vegas with WagerTalk Live Lines
Moneyline: South Carolina +250; Michigan -300
Totals: Over/Under 43.0 (-110)
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Will Muschamp is in his second season as South Carolina where he is posted an overall record of 14-11. This will be the second time that he has led the Gamecocks to a bowl game. Muschamp has an impressive resume, serving on the coaching staffs at such college programs as LSU, Auburn, Texas, and Florida, as well as being an assistant head coach with the Miami Dolphins. Is overall coaching record is 43-32 and he is 1-2 in bowl games.
Why South Carolina Will Win?
Quarterback Jake Bentley is turning into a really mature young man in his sophomore season. Because so much emphasis should be on the South Carolina running attack, this should give Bentley the opportunity to have a big day through the air. He did throw for 390 yards last year against USF, showing he has the kind of arm to deliver in these kinds of games.
South Carolina is quite solid in their base seven on defense, and Michigan does not have a particularly stout offensive line. Despite the fact that the Gamecocks have not put up huge sack numbers, they do have an active group that should get pressure on the Michigan quarterback.
Turnovers will likely favor South Carolina in this game. They do not turn the ball over with any frequency, and Michigan has not been particularly adept at taking the ball away. South Carolina led the SEC with the fewest number of penalties and also gave away the fewest numbers of fumbles. However, they were first in takeaways, which should be a huge advantage for them in this game.
Jim Harbaugh is one of the most respected coaches in all of football and has an impressive resume at both the collegian and professional levels. Harbaugh helped lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012 and was the NFL Coach of the Year that season. He has also had successful stints at Stanford and San Diego State and boasts an overall college record of 86-37 to go along with his NFL record of 44-19-1.
Why Michigan Will Win?
The Wolverines have the far superior offense in this game. That starts with the running attack that has greatly improved over the final two months of the season, and which should have a big day against South Carolina defense that has played well but not so much against the run attack.
Michigan also has an outstanding defensive line, which should be able to pressure Bentley. The offense of line for South Carolina is solid but not impressive in any way. Consider that in the final five games of the season this team was able to rush for 100 combined yards in only one of those contests, which does not bode well against this front for Michigan.
Chase Winovich is one of the best and most dangerous past rushers in all of college football and should be a star one day. Combined with Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst, they did not allow a single hundred yard rusher in six of the last eight games of the season, while the Wolverine defense put up a total of 39 sacks.
Gamecocks vs. Wolverines Betting Lines
No offense to South Carolina, but Michigan is the superior team in this game. While 8-4 was a bit of a disappointment, the truth is that this is the kind of contest that head coach Jim Harbaugh lives for, and should surely have his team ready with a month’s preparation. Look for Michigan to roll by the third quarter, 37-10.
My Pick: Michigan -8 ( -105)
Totals: Over 43.0 (-110)
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