Michigan football vs. Georgia Bulldogs predictions in the College Football Playoff national semifinal Friday at the Orange Bowl 2021 in Miami (7:30 p.m., ESPN). The Bulldogs are favored by 7½ points.
The No. 2 Wolverines (12-1) are the Big Ten champions and have won five straight games. No. 3 Georgia (12-1) was throttled in the SEC championship game by Alabama four weeks ago.
Jim Harbaugh has had a great year, and his coaching staff has done a fantastic job. Kudos for them for being in this spot. But I still don’t believe Michigan is an elite team with a legit chance to get to the natty. Alabama beat Georgia when Bryce Young threw for 421 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another. Michigan doesn’t have that kind of quarterback. Doesn’t have that kind of offense. And doesn’t have enough trick plays — whether it’s Donovan Edwards throws or flea flickers — to upset a team with the third-ranked run-defense in the country. The pick: Georgia 24, Michigan 21.
In most cases, the most talented team wins. Georgia has better players. But the Bulldogs have been faced with a ton of questions by their probing media corps: Should Stetson Bennett be their starting quarterback? Can the defense shake off the poor performance against Alabama? Is head coach Kirby Smart capable of finally finishing the job and leading his alma mater to a national championship? There is a lot of negativity creeping into the Georgia camp. On the flip side, things seem pretty rosy with Michigan. And the Wolverines are brimming with confidence after winning their past five games. Momentum is a powerful force that could minimize the talent differential and carry Michigan across the finish line. The pick: Michigan 24, Georgia 21.
After so many weeks and so many months of gritty performances and against-the-odds victories, it’s clear there’s something different about this Michigan team. Harbaugh and his staff have a group of players whose will to win is off the charts. That means something in a sport as physically demanding as football. U-M finds a way to do it again on the biggest stage. The pick: Michigan 24, Georgia 23.
Our editors wanted this pick the night the announcement was made more than a month ago. I see no reason to change my pick now. Some teams have a vibe some years and I’ve learned not to fight the vibe. Besides, the Wolverines match up well against the Bulldogs’ vaunted front seven. In a season of exceeding expectation, Jim Harbaugh does it again. The pick: Michigan 26, Georgia 23.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football predictions vs. Georgia in Orange Bowl