It’s finally the weekend we have all been waiting for and it’s safe to say that the past three weeks have felt like an eternity. The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday in Phoenix. This is the first meeting between the two programs, and to do that on college football’s biggest stage proves quite a unique way to start a series.
The Horned Frogs earned their first ever CFP appearance after going undefeated during the regular season before losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game. Michigan enters as the current favorite in this matchup after going undefeated in the regular season and defeating Purdue in the Big Ten Championship. Both teams aim to earn a coveted spot in the National Championship game. Who do you think has the edge? Who will earn their first appearance in the National Championship in the CFP era?
Perhaps the best way to understand that is to ask: how do these two teams stack up? What will be the main area of contention? What space does Michigan need to dominate in order to effectively defeat the Horned Frogs? What’s a team that has played a similar style to TCU that Michigan has played and bested in the past?
In other words, in what areas is TCU a favorable matchup for the Wolverines?
I think this could be interpreted in two ways. Having these two programs go head-to-head this year yields a genuinely interesting matchup. That can be reflected by the alternating point odds over the course of the last two weeks. The more that this matchup is considered, the closer this game appears to be.
For example, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the line of scrimmage and who has the means to control it for the entirety of this game. Michigan has a Joe Moore Award winning offensive line and its slow, meticulous offense thrives because of it. The offense Michigan runs isn’t a secret and TCU’s main defensive strategy is to contain it by forcing J.J. McCarthy to be a mainly pocket passer. Whether the Horned Frogs’ defense can weather the storm is still unknown, this will still be an interesting point of contention on Saturday.
On the other side, it’s a generally favorable route for Michigan to take to reach its goals this season. The way the Wolverines were playing their last weeks before their “break” they looked like they could play and beat anyone. The matchup on paper favors Michigan through almost every phase, but it’s not like TCU is going to allow themselves to be pushed around. But will this be the case? Will Michigan dominate or is TCU going to make this game be reminiscent of Michigan’s closer contests this year?
One thing’s for sure, we will have all the answers in a matter of 24 hours. So then, what aspect of play are you most looking forward to seeing? What unique challenges do you think TCU presents Michigan? Will the Wolverines break their bowl game curse? And lastly, how are you feeling about the game tomorrow?
Share with us all your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!