Michigan Shoulda Been in the Absentee Bowl
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The ghost of Willis McGahee lingers over college football's holiday season to this day.
He's the dude who famously got his knee origami'd almost beyond recognition in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Ultimately, dude went on to log a decent pro career, but the damage dropped him from a sure-thing top-five draft pick to a 23rd-round selection by the Buffalo Bills, and he still had to sit out the 2003 season for rehab reasons.
McGahee never really lived up to what his career with the Miami Hurricanes projected.
Four Michigan Wolverines decided to sit out the Peach Bowl so the same thing doesn't happen again, which is assuming a lot.
First and foremost, McGahee's the only highly-touted player to ever suffer such a fate, so the odds of these or any other players suffering catastrophic injuries are about as Slim as our favorite cowboy actor.
But the show, the swag, and all the money generated that never gets to the players themselves must go on.
Why bet on Florida ...
Well, for one thing, every able body is gonna show up.
The Gators did log a couple of impressive victories this season, over LSU and Mississippi State. As well, they're riding a three-game winning streak coming into this one, with Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett carrying the mail at a 5.9 yards-per-touch clip.
Florida featured a stingy defense, too, allowing opponents a mere 30 trips inside the red zone.
Why bet on Michigan ...
The Wolverines do have depth. After all, Bovada set their numbers after the four players announced they were sitting this one out.
Michigan has had a month to pause and reflect on the disaster that was their trip to the Horseshoe last month. Shea Patterson made safe decisions for most of the season, which is why his numbers were pedestrian, but that might be what the offense needs in this game. Understudy RB Chris Evans saw limited duty, but he was still elite enough to be recruited by the Wolverines and logged 5.4 yards per carry.
The defense, though, is gonna feel the loss of their top two pass rushers, Devin Bush and Rashan Gary.
Instant analysis ...
Michigan went 6-6 ATS this season, which included an 0-3 skid in their final three regular season games. Amost as bad, the Wolverines are also 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 on grass.
Florida is only 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 at a neutral site, but they head into the Peach Bowl on a two-game winning streak both SU and ATS.
The Gators are battle-tested and come into this hot. Harbaugh's Wolverines, though, have simply been dealt a bad hand to expect not only a win, but a 6-point cover.
ATS pick: Gators +6
Result: Florida 41 Michigan 15 ... Gators cover
Sportbet Columnist: Josh Bailey
Aspiring to become the Mark Twain of sportswriting, Josh has been labelled as the up-&-coming sportswriter of the year by absolutely nobody and the new heavy hitter in sports handicapping by his mother.