Can Horned Frogs Pull Off Another Surprise?
The teams couldn’t be more different, especially on the offensive end of things. Michigan wants to pound the ball behind its physical offensive line while TCU is led by its gunslinger of a quarterback in Max Duggan in the national semifinals.
The teams enter the Fiesta Bowl with a combined 8-2-1 against the spread away from home this season. Michigan has won its last 16 games when listed as the favorite.
It will be pretty much all hands on deck for TCU with only receivers Quincy Brown (knee injury) and Caleb Medford (transfer portal) set to miss the game.
Things are much different on the Michigan side. Leading rusher Blake Corum (knee injury) is out. It looks like edge rusher Mike Morris will return to action after missing the Big Ten title game. Keep an eye on fellow edge rusher Eyabi Okie’s status after he was injured late in the conference championship game. Defensive lineman Mazi Smith was arrested on gun charges but he has yet to be ruled out for the game.
The line opened with Michigan favored by nine points but is now at 7½.
Michigan (+300) trails only defending national champion Georgia in the odds to win the national title. The NCAA football odds have TCU’s title odds priced at +1600.
Michigan is not just the No. 2 seed, the Wolverines are also ranked second in the Associated Press and American Football Coaches Association polls. Michigan picked up a total of three first-place votes in the two national polls. TCU is third in the Associated Press poll and fourth in the AFCA ranking.
Can Duggan Lead TCU to National Title Game?
TCU has made things interesting with multiple late-game comebacks en route to an undefeated regular season.
The Horned Frogs have outscored their opponents 131-69 in the fourth quarter even though quarterback Duggan’s best passing numbers have come in the first quarter. His worst statistics in the fourth quarter.
Duggan has 30 touchdown passes and four interceptions and he has done much of his best work on first downs, completing 72% of his passes and sporting a quarterback rating of 176.5.
— Richard Obert (@azc_obert) December 28, 2022
Kendre Miller (1,342 rushing yards) and receiver Quentin Johnston (53 catches, 903 yards) are other offensive stars while Dee Winters (11½ tackles for loss, 7½ sacks) and Bud Clark (four interceptions) are key players for a defense that went from allowing 462 yards per game to 385.
Texas Christian has covered against the Las Vegas odds in five of its last seven games.
Michigan Looks to Take the Next Step
It is not too surprising to see Michigan back in the College Football Playoffs. However, some of the headliners, especially on offense, did not start the season as go-to players.
After Cade McNamara quarterbacked Michigan to the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoffs a year ago, it was J.J. McCarthy who ran the offense for most of the season. Donovan Edwards has rushed for more than 400 yards in place of the injured Corum.
Michigan’s offense is more effective in the red zone, scoring on 60 of 64 trips inside the 20. Having perhaps the best kicker in the country in Jake Moody (26 for 32 on field goals) helps with that.
Sophomore Junior Colson leads the defense with 95 tackles while Mike Morris has 11 tackles for loss.
The defense lost some key players to the NFL. Still, Michigan has more sacks than it did a season ago when Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo led the defense.
Michigan has covered against the college football predictions in four of its last five games.
Michigan vs TCU Head-to-Head
This is the first meeting between the Wolverines and Horned Frogs.
This is Michigan’s first game against a team from the Big 12 since losing to Kansas State 31-14 in the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The Wolverines have lost their last three meetings against Big 12 teams with all three of them taking place in bowl games.
TCU has won three of its last four games against Big Ten teams. The last meeting was a 34-13 win over Purdue as a 3½-point favorite on the road.
Michigan vs TCU Game Information
- Game: Michigan (13-0) vs TCU (12-1)
- When: Saturday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. ET
- Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
- Michigan vs TCU Live Stream: ESPN
Michigan vs TCU Betting Lines
Michigan vs TCU Picks & Prediction
No Big 12 team has reached the national title game since the start of the College Football Playoffs. Oklahoma lost its three semifinal games by an average of 17.3 points per game so TCU is looking to reverse that trend.
If it comes down to executing down the stretch, TCU has more experience playing in tight games than Michigan.
TCU beat Kansas by seven points, Oklahoma State by three in overtime, Texas by seven and Baylor by one. The four wins over ranked teams were enough for the Horned Frogs to earn a spot in the playoff field despite falling to Kansas State in overtime in the Big 12 title game.
TCU is +9 and Michigan +8 in turnover margin and that is one of the reasons why both teams are in this game. TCU has scored four non-offensive touchdowns.
Michigan had tussles with Maryland and Illinois but were not tested as often as TCU. Still, the Wolverines are favored by 7½ points.
The Michigan Wolverines are listed at -300 in our Vegas college football lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Wolverines, you have a chance to win $133. The TCU Horned Frogs are +250, offering a chance to win $350 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Michigan a 75.00% chance to win, with TCU at 28.57%.