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How the national media is projecting Michigan vs. TCU

The wind is blowing almost exclusively in Michigan’s direction.

Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Michigan Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

After beating the Purdue Boilermakers and winning the Big Ten Championship, the Michigan Wolverines are in the College Football Playoff for the second year in the row.

In contrast to last year’s predictions leaning towards their opponents, the national media is (almost) all-in on the Wolverines’ chances to make the National Championship this year. Let’s dive into what each outlet is saying:

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports

“Can the Frogs’ D hold up against a pounding Wolverines O? Michigan RB Donovan Edwards has run for 400 yards — almost half his season total — the last two weeks in relief of the injured Blake Corum. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has been given more to do as a thrower lately. Michigan will hold the ball as it usually does (fourth in time of possession). The question is whether TCU can respond in the precious minutes that remain against the nation’s No. 3 defense. If TCU does, Duggan will need help. He almost collapsed from exhaustion against K-State.”

Prediction: Of 11 writers surveyed, nine picked Michigan, two picked TCU.

ESPN (TV)

During the wall-to-wall coverage of the CFP selection show on ESPN Sunday, four analysts — David Pollack, Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer and Greg McElroy — gave their picks for the Fiesta Bowl.

All four selected the Wolverines to beat TCU, with Galloway further predicting a Michigan-Ohio State rematch for the National Championship.

Richard Johnson, Sports Illustrated

“Michigan wins if... It continues to showcase what got it here in the first place. Michigan has an explosive play waiting to happen in Edwards and has been getting the best out of QB J.J. McCarthy the past few weeks with a play-action passing game. Its defense is not built with the edge pressure it had last season, but it is much more stout up the middle. The Wolverines will have to keep the lid on Duggan, whose off-schedule prowess makes him adept at extending plays. And in a tight game, don’t count out the fact that kicker Jake Moody is one of the nation’s best at getting the ball through the uprights”

Prediction: None given

FiveThirtyEight

While it’s not an out and out “prediction” of the Fiesta Bowl, the FiveThirtyEight statisticians give Michigan a 66% chance to make the national title game, while giving TCU only a 34% chance to do the same.

FiveThirtyEight

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com ($)

“J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverines quickly shifted their attention to the CFP after the Big Ten title game, saying the team has “got a lot bigger plans” for the postseason after struggling against Georgia in last year’s semifinal. TCU makes its first CFP appearance after a dream season, and star quarterback Max Duggan and his supporting cast will stress a Wolverines defense that has exceeded expectations following key personnel losses. The Hypnotoads make their customary second-half push, but Michigan is a second-half team, too, and playing with too much confidence on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines get key contributions from their young, celebrated recruits like McCarthy, running back Donovan Edwards and cornerback Will Johnson and march on to the natty.”

Prediction: Michigan 38, TCU 31

Michelle Bruton, Bleacher Report

“Michigan has the edge in experience here, and the Wolverines are favored over the Horned Frogs by more than the Bulldogs are over Ohio State. And yet, in some ways, more so than in Georgia-Ohio State, this is a game when it feels like anything could happen if TCU is firing on all cylinders. Expect Michigan to pull it out in the end... but the Horned Frogs will put up a fight all the way.”

Prediction: Michigan