College Football Pick’em
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No. 2 Michigan entered the College Football Playoff semifinal game in the Fiesta Bowl as a pretty sizable favorite over No. 3 TCU with some expecting the Wolverines to run away with this one handily. Well, after one half of play, there is a team running away with the game … but it isn’t the Big Ten champions. After two quarters, the Horned Frogs hold a 21-6 advantage as it’s certainly looking as if the Cinderella run under first-year coach Sonny Dykes may continue all the way into the national title game.
Heisman runner-up Max Duggan only threw for 89 yards in the first half for TCU, but he flashed the versatility that helped send him to New York by adding in 30 yards on the ground with a rushing score. Meanwhile, his counterpart, J.J. McCarthy, is 10-of-16 passing with 148 yards but was unable to find the end zone and has thrown an interception.
An interesting second half awaits in the Fiesta Bowl as we see whether the Horned Frogs can hang on and march to the College Football Playoff National Championship next Monday night.
Follow all the action at the Fiesta Bowl semifinal LIVE updates from Michigan vs. TCU.
Game: Fiesta Bowl
Date: Saturday, Dec. 31 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: State Farm Stadium — Glendale, Arizona
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy: McCarthy started last season’s College Football Playoff matchup against Georgia on the bench. Cade McNamara got the nod for the Wolverines, but McCarthy eventually got into the game in the second half. This season, McCarthy won the job out of training camp, and he gives the Wolverines offense a higher ceiling. In his first full season as the starter, McCarthy has completed 65.3% of his throws for 2,376 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. In the biggest game of the season so far, the road game against arch-rival Ohio State, McCarthy threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns.
TCU QB Max Duggan : Duggan has the ability to take over a game with some assistance from star wide receiver Quentin Johnston. He did it multiple times throughout TCU’s magical season, and he came close to single-handedly winning the Big 12 championship with his legs. Duggan is an excellent athlete who can beat opponents by throwing from the pocket or escaping to extend the play. This fall, Duggan has amassed 3,321 yards passing, 404 yards rushing and 36 total touchdowns. Michigan’s defense will have its hands full trying to contain him.
Michigan DB Mike Sainristil: Sainristil began his college career as a wide receiver, but he eventually converted to defensive back, and that decision has paid off in a big way. Sainristil is now a key part of the Wolverines defense, and he will be tasked with combatting an explosive TCU passing game. In that respect, Sainristil shouldn’t be lacking confidence. He was one of Michigan’s biggest stars in the team’s win over Ohio State with seven total tackles and a pair of passes defended.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
This will be a fascinating game because the ways in which these two teams win are very different. Michigan wouldn’t mind being able to run the ball down its opponent’s throat all day while playing suffocating defense, and TCU feels right at home in high-scoring shootouts. In this game, I think Michigan’s experience and defense are able to win out, but TCU is able to hang around and take it down to the wire. Prediction: TCU +7.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.
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