The No. 10 Florida Gators (9-3) and the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines (10-2) face off for the third time in four seasons this Saturday in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Both teams suffered losses early in the season. Michigan lost their season-opener against Notre Dame. For Florida, a Week two loss at home against Kentucky had the potential to send its season into a spiral. However, the Gators went on to win their next five games.
For the Wolverines, the season-opener loss didn’t seem to affect them much; they won their next ten games. Michigan’s only other loss of the season came in their last game against Ohio State. This eliminated their chances at entering the College Football Playoff.
What to Watch For
Despite giving up over 60 points in their most recent loss to Ohio State, Michigan comes into Saturday’s game with the top-ranked defense in the nation. On the flip side, Florida has won their last three games, coming off their most recent win against rival Florida State, where they scored over 40 points.
However, Florida will need to step it up significantly on the offensive side of the ball to break through Michigan’s defense. Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks needs to play with consistency. Look for Florida’s run game to be active as well, featuring their top running backs Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett.
- This is just the fifth time these teams have matched up, most recently meeting in 2016 and 2017.
- Michigan has won all five games played against Florida.
- Four Michigan players are forgoing Saturday’s game to enter the NFL Draft, most notably defensive lineman Rashan Gary and running back Karan Higdon.
- Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said he respects the decisions his players have made. “It’s someone’s right to — we respect that it’s their decision to make. We don’t push anybody in the back to go play football. I will say even further, I think I’ve grown in terms of even respecting people when I don’t agree with what they’re decision is.”
- It’s Florida’s first trip to a BCS/New Year’s Six bowl since it’s 33-23 loss to Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
- Florida head coach Dan Mullen said he likes the structure of the bowl game system. ” There’s a bunch of seniors on both teams that are going to get to play their last college football game, and one of them is going to get to walk away with that trophy. I think that’s pretty unique in college football, that they get to finish their careers that way.”
How to Watch
Saturday’s game kicks off at noon from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will air on ESPN.