It all comes down to this! The College Football Playoff will kick off between an enticing matchup in the Fiesta Bowl between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Michigan Wolverines. Join us for our College Football odds series where our TCU-Michigan prediction and pick will be made.
For a short few days, TCU's playoff odds hung in the balance after failing to come out victorious in the Big 12 Championship game against Kansas State before the committee decided to award the Horned Frogs with the three-seed in the College Football Playoff after a 12-1 season. It has been a miraculous campaign for TCU in Sonny Dyke's first year as head coach, and they now sit one win away from reaching the National for the first time in school history.
A year later after falling short to the eventual defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, Michigan finds themselves in the same exact spot they were in Jim Harbaugh's first-ever visit to the College Football Playoff. However, this time around, the Wolverines serve as the favorites in their semifinal game and have some unfinished business to take care of. Entering play undefeated at 13-0, can Michigan get one step closer to being on top of the college football world for the first time since 1997?
Here are the TCU-Michigan college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Fiesta Bowl Odds: TCU-Michigan Odds
TCU: +7.5 (-112)
Michigan: -7.5 (-108)
Over: 57.5 (-110)
Under: 57.5 (-110)
Why TCU Could Cover The Spread
Few could've predicted how successful TCU would end up being prior to the season kicking off. In fact, Heisman candidate and superstar quarterback QB Max Duggan wasn't even slated as the starter for TCU's opening season game versus Colorado and didn't really start coming into the fold until the following week when he shredded Tarleton for five touchdown passed and 390 yards through the air. Ahead of this weekend's Fiesta Bowl festivities, Duggan still remains as the key ingredient for a TCU spread-covering victory.
Boasting one of the top quarterbacks in all of the lands is quite the luxury to have if you're the Horned Frogs, and they also possess a surefire NFL first-round pick in WR Quentin Johnson. Standing at 6'4 and weighing in at a rock-solid 215 pounds, Johnson is an absolute beast that packs a punch when trying to be corralled down to the turf. Squaring off with one of the top defenses in the country in Michigan will not be an easy task, and getting stellar performances out of guys like Johnson will be extremely important for TCU's chances of covering.
Not to mention, but the Horned Frogs have to get a push-up front to get RB Kendre Miller going early. In fact, many view Miller as an NFL-type running back that many views as the “catalyst” of this high-powered TCU attack on offense.
Why Michigan Could Cover The Spread
At first glance, Jim Harbaugh has plenty of weapons at his disposal in what is one of the more well-rounded and talented teams on both sides of the ball that has come through Ann Arbor in quite some time. If you can recall, it was only a couple of short seasons ago when Wolverines fans were calling for the firing of Jim Harbaugh but the former 49ers coach has now led Michigan to back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances and is now the talk of the town.
When looking at Michigan's offense led by QB J.J. McCarthy, this is a run-heavy attack that does not like to throw the ball much, but when they have gone to the air, it has been the sophomore signal caller that has delivered when it's mattered most. Against Ohio State and then Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game, McCarthy dialed up six touchdowns and only one interception combined as he continues his progression into being a phenomenal passer with the football. No one can deny his rare athleticism at the quarterback position, and if he can continue being hot in the passing game, TCU could be in big trouble.
Defensively is where the Wolverines make their house money, as this unit has struck fear into their opponents by only allowing 277 yards per game, which is tops in all of college football. Built on a brand of violent and physical nature that is rarely replicated at this level. Despite losing guys like Aiden Hutchison and David Ojabo in recent years, this defense is somehow even more dangerous and could be the sole reason why the Wolverines find a way to cover.
Final TCU-Michigan Prediction & Pick
With Blake Corum going down to season-ending surgery, it will be the late-game heroics of McCarthy and a ferocious defensive effort by the Wolverines that end TCU's historic season.
Final TCU-Michigan Prediction & Pick: Michigan -7.5 (-108)