Boy, Was I Wrong!
Well, I guess the C-Bush curse was in full effect on New Year's Eve night. One day after I declared that Michigan would beat Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals, the Bulldogs kicked the living daylights out of the Wolverines 34-11 in the Orange Bowl.
The Georgia team we saw in the Orange Bowl wasn't even close to the team that Alabama laid waste to in the SEC Championship back in early December. There are a few reasons why.
It was obvious from the first drive of the game that Georgia wanted to atone for the bad performance they had against Alabama. And they scored the first five times they had the ball. And had they not screwed up the clock at the end of the first half, they probably would've scored there to make it six drives in a row.
It's not that Michigan doesn't have speed, it's that Georgia had more of it EVERYWHERE. Bulldog tight end Brock Bowers is a future pro (Barring injury). But the best player on the field was Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean. He was all over the place, accumulating 7 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
MICHIGAN'S DEFENSE WAS AWFUL
They made Georgia QB Stetson Bennett IV look like an NFL All-Pro. I don't think he's very good, but he shredded Michigan with 313 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Wolverine secondary was putrid, and they didn't get nearly enough pressure up front. David Ojabo did nothing, and Aidan Hutchinson wasn't a major factor.
GEORGIA STOPPED THE RUN
The Georgia defense you saw on Friday night was the one that dominated throughout the regular season. They crushed Michigan's offensive line all night long, holding them to just 91 yards rushing. That forced Michigan QB's to throw more than they would like to. And neither Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy are good enough right now to beat top-level teams with their arm (remember they beat Ohio State by running the ball down their throat).
All is not lost for the Wolverines. Going 12-2 and reaching the College Football Playoff is a successful season. There was nothing Jim Harbaugh could do to stop the onslaught. They have good and promising players in place on offense. Donovan Edwards and Andrel Anthony are true freshmen that show the most promise. And they'll have experienced guys back like Ronnie Bell (who missed the season after tearing up a knee in the first game of the season), Mike Sainristil, and Blake Corum returning. And let's not forget, Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy will both likely return at QB.
To win the national championship (which should be the stated goal of every major program in the Power 5), you have to have lots of speed everywhere. And Michigan's doesn't have enough of it, especially in the defensive secondary. They can beat anybody in the Big Ten with the guys they have now. But to beat the top of the SEC (Georgia, Alabama), you have to match their speed, especially on defense (to cover all the offensive firepower).
ONE MORE THING
When you put yourself out there and make predictions that you are confident in, you can tell everybody "I Told You So" when you're right. But part of the deal is that you better be ready to eat crow if you are wrong. And man, I was horribly wrong about the Orange Bowl. So I am eating crow today. I'm far from a dumbass when it comes to sports, but I'm not an expert, either. And none of you reading this are, either. I really thought Michigan would win. But it didn't happen. And there are no excuses for it.
OK, let me have it. Just don't get personal.