With the New Year’s Eve bowl games set and ready, it is time to start predicting who will win. We have a powerhouse Michigan team facing off against a Cinderella team in TCU for the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. Sure TCU finished 12-1 before the CFP but this is their first time in the CFP and they beat out Alabama in the voting.
The Fiesta Bowl is one of two games determining who will play for the CFP National Championship. This is the first-ever meeting between Michigan and TCU. There is not a better way to introduce these programs to each other than with a shot to play for the national title. The big question now is whether this is the end of TCU’s magical run or if it continues in the CFP National Championship.
Michigan Run Game Will Not Suffer
A big topic for this game will be how the Wolverines play without star running back Blake Corum. Corum suffered an MCL injury during Michigan’s win over Illinois and is out for the season. However, Michigan’s second string back, Donovan Edwards, logged 216 rushing yards and two touchdowns in their beat down of Ohio State right before the Big Ten title game. Edwards has eclipsed the 100-yard mark four times this season and is averaging about 200 yards per game over his last two games.
If Edwards can get active, Michigan will not lose the run game part of their offense. Michigan is averaging 243 rushing yards per game this season so it will be crucial to get Edwards active. Unfortunately for TCU, they are allowing 200 rushing yards per game so look for the Wolverines to attack on the ground against TCU. If Edwards has another 200-yards day, Michigan will win the Fiesta Bowl.
Max Duggan Will Struggle Against The Michigan Defense
Max Duggan is the heart and soul of the TCU offense. He makes the big plays when they’re needed and puts his team in positions to win. Duggan led the Frogs to a 12-1 record prior to the CFP with their lone loss being against K-State in the Big 12 title game.
Duggan is the leader of an elite TCU offense that is scoring 40 points per game this season. He also was up for the Heisman Trophy in case you forgot. Duggan and the Frogs are the real deal on offense with 473 total yards per game. So why am I throwing out all of these stats? None of them will matter come New Year’s Day.
While TCU’s offense is elite, Michigan’s defense is even better. The Wolverines are holding opponents to just 13.4 points per game this season. They are also holding opponents to 277 total yards per game. The most important stat is that they are holding opponents to only 191.8 passing yards per game which is nearly 100 yards less than Duggan averages.
Call me crazy but I think the experienced Michigan defense eats Max Duggan and the inexperienced Horned Frogs for lunch. Pressure on Duggan will force him to scramble but Michigan is also only allowing 85.2 rushing yards per game. This is a nightmare matchup for a team making the CFP for the first time. Give me the Wolverine defense to keep Max Duggan and company rather quiet for the Fiesta Bowl.
Fiesta Bowl Final Prediction
I am happy that TCU made the CFP to represent the Big 12. Their first ever appearance in the CFP is huge for that program overall. However, Michigan is built to win it all this year despite losing their starting running back. The Michigan defense is built to come in waves and the TCU offense is not ready.
Max Duggan will need the best game of his career and in all of college football to survive here. TCU is just far too inexperienced to make this a good game. Jim Harbaugh wants to win the national title and the Fiesta Bowl will be their first step. Sorry TCU but experience in postseason football is key and Michigan is the better team.
Final Score: Michigan 42, TCU 17