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Five reasons why Michigan will beat Alabama in the Rose Bowl

The Wolverines will beat Alabama because...

2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Adam Childs Adam is a freelance writer for MaizeNBrew and is a lifelong Michigan fan.

The Michigan Wolverines are heading to their third straight College Football Playoff and will play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Wolverines are still searching for their first CFP win and will have their hands full.

The Crimson Tide have the history, but the Wolverines are ranked No. 1 and come in as a slight favorite. Despite a lot of people picking the Crimson Tide, today, we provide five reasons why the Wolverines will win this game.

1. The Wolverines have already faced a ton of adversity this year

No other team in the country had to go through what the Wolverines did this year. Yes, a lot of it was their own doing, but there isn’t another college that would have had their head coach suspended for half the season, had all their rivals calling them cheaters and had one of their top defenders out numerous games, and still stayed unbeaten.

The Wolverines have barely flinched this season, have taken on all challenges head-on, and have conquered all of them so far. While Michigan might have cowered in past seasons, it won’t this year.

2. Experience

The Crimson Tide have won three championships during the CFP era and would normally own the experience factor in this game. However, that isn’t the case this year. Alabama missed out on the playoffs last year and have many contributors who have never been in this position.

First-year starting quarterback Jalen Milroe has been great since being benched at the beginning of the year, leading the Crimson Tide to an SEC championship over Georgia. However, the lights of the CFP are going to be much brighter, as J.J. McCarthy knows all too well from his struggles last season in the Fiesta Bowl.

Playing through all that already provides the Wolverines a huge edge nobody is talking about. The Crimson Tide may have the name on the chest, but the Wolverines are the more experienced team and are hungry for a third opportunity.

3. Secondary play

The Wolverines have arguably the best secondary in college football and two of the best shutdown corners. Will Johnson and Mike Sainristil have been great for Michigan this year and are the best one-two punch the Crimson Tide will face all year. They have the ability to shutdown receivers, which allows Michigan to keep a spy on Milroe.

Milroe can be dangerous, completing 65.5 percent of his passes this season. But he is also coming off a 13-for-23 game against Georgia. We aren’t saying he can’t pass the ball, but he can be shutdown, and the Wolverines have the secondary to do that. Michigan’s defense is going to be a difference, especially the secondary.

4. Corum and Edwards

The Wolverines also have arguably the best running back duo in the country in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. They haven’t had as explosive year as they did in 2022, but they still combined for more than 1,400 yards on the ground.

They know how to grind out yards, but can also bust a big play. They wear you down before finally getting that back-breaking 20+ yard gain.

The Crimson Tide are 30th in the country in rush defense, giving up 124.5 yards per game. They have looked tough at times, but they did give up 206 rushing yards to LSU and 244 to Auburn, so they are susceptible to good rushing attacks.

5. Bama gives up a lot of sacks

The Crimson Tide gave up 43 sacks this year, an average of 3.31 each game. Part of it is Milroe holding the ball for too long, but the offense line has also been exposed at times.

The Wolverines should bring pressure, and often, to keep Milroe guessing. He can run, but Michigan’s defense is quick and can contain him. With the secondary being as good as it is, that should provide the defensive line with ample time to, at least, pressure Milroe.

If all goes well, the Wolverines should be able to exploit their offensive line and force Milroe into tough spots.