MIAMI – The Michigan Wolverines College Football Playoff semifinal matchup vs. the Georgia Bulldogs is swiftly approaching.
The New Year’s Eve game winner will advance to the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game to face Alabama or Cincinnati in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10.
The matchup between the similarly eerie teams will be ratings galore as Michigan has had some of the highest-rated games on television this year. Before all eyes are glued to the prime-time matchup, how about we look at some possible scenarios that may come to fruition.
1. Georgia forfeits
The rise of the omicron variant is running rampant throughout this country. The spread has hit the sports world, including the Bulldogs locker room. As reported Wednesday, former five-star recruit and current backup quarterback J.T. Daniels has tested positive for the virus.
Wide receiver George Pickens, who recently returned for the season finale, also tested positive.
Although Daniels is vaccinated, both players have been placed in COVID protocols which put their chance to compete on Dec. 31. in jeopardy, and with the new CFP policy in place, a team may advance to the National Championship by forfeit.
The medical staff for the Bulldogs said they will be offering their players a booster shot today, Dec. 23. 2021, to help stop the surge within their locker room.
Michigan, like Georgia, will also receive their boosters as a precaution this week. That’s per right tackle Andrew Stueber, who told the media that not one person has tested positive for COVID-19.
2. Look for Michigan to start fast
COVID-permitting, look for Michigan to come out of the gate as fast as they did in Indianapolis when running back Blake Corum broke a 67 yard run for six then followed that up with a Donovan Edwards swing pass to wide receiver Roman Wilson for a touchdown.
It’s time to bring the cows home to start milking the clock when the Wolverines play with the lead. Their defense gets more aggressive, and their offensive line becomes stouter. When Georgia had to play from behind, the team could not mount a comeback, although it was just one time.
3. Michigan dominates on the ground
The Bulldogs run defense is top five this season as they are allowing 81.7 yards per game on 2.6 yards per rush and only three touchdowns on the ground.
Alabama gained 115 yards on the ground against Georgia in the SEC Championship. 40 of the 115 came on a single run by Mr. Heisman himself, quarterback Bryce Young.
So predicting that Michigan will dominate the ground game with Hassan Haskins, Corum and Edwards seems like a tall tale, but it may open up the passing game if one can go off.
4. Keep Cade McNamara clean
Michigan has allowed 10 sacks in 13 games this season, the third-fewest behind Air Force (9) and Army West Point (7). So it’s safe to say that Steuber and the rest of the O-line have kept Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy upright all season.
Georgia is averaging three sacks a game, and the Wolverines will face their biggest test thus far with the Bulldogs vaunted front seven. They will get into the backfield, but how many sacks, hurried throws, and turnovers will they account for?
5. Aiden Hutchinson and David Ojabo get to the quarterback early and often
The Bulldogs offensive line has been exceptional at protecting their quarterback this season. But they haven’t faced a duo such as Heisman runner-up Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, who combined for 25 of the Wolverines 34 sacks this season.
Hutchinson’s stellar season gave him the title as the first defensive player to be named MVP in the Big Ten Championship game. When those dogs hunt, expect Daxton Hill and Josh Ross to feast in the defensive backfield and on the defensive line with disguised blitzes.