- The Michigan Daily - December 13, 1999 - SportsMonday
I Establishing ground game crucial in Orange Bowl clash with Tide
By Andy Latack
Daily Sports Editor
It's the matchup everyone has been
anticipating for... a little over a week.
Ever since Alabama shocked Florida,
34-7, in the SEC title game - earning
the Crimson Tide the chance to face
Michigan in the Orange Bowl -
Wolverine fans have been forced to
revise their outlook on the bowl game.
Michigan fans were anticipating a
showdown with Florida, but the Tide
didn't cooperate. In pulling its coup over
the Gators on Dec. 4, Alabama drastical-
ly shifted the tone of the Omnge Bowl.
The Tide plays more like a Big Ten team,
with a ground-eating rushing attack and
a reslilient defense that seems out of
place in the flashy SEC.
And for anyone who thinks the
matchup loses a little bit of its luster now
that the Tide is in the picture, think again.
In winning 10 games and losing just
twice while playing the nation's toughest
schedule, the Tide have proved that it
deserve its No. 5 ranking.
Alabama will be more of a test for the
eighth-ranked Wolverines than an
uncharacteristically down Florida squad
would have been.
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
ALABAMA RUSHING DEFENSE:
This season, Alabama has positively
stifled opponents' running games. The
Tide is second in the nation against the
run, allowing just 75.3 yards per game.
Defensive tackle Reggie Grimes leads
the charge, although Grimes may have
nothing left to play for anymore. Grimes
realized every lineman's dream against
the Gators, grabbing a tipped pass and
rumbling 38 yards for a touchdown.
After sputtering into the end zone,
Grimes tried to lauch his prodigious
frame into the crowd, but managed to
only get a few inches off the ground and
aborted his attempt, settling for a few
slaps on the helmet from Tide faithful.
Grimes and the Alabama front seven
have been manhandling opponents'
offensive lines, but Michigan's mam-
moth unit is a super-sized version of
many SEC offensive lines. Michigan
needs to use its size to open holes for
Anthony Thomas if it is to establish a
But Michigan has had a tendency to
struggle on the ground this year, and try-
ing to get on track against one of the
nation's best will not help matters.
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
ALABAMA PASSING DEFENSE:
If the Crimson Tide bottles up
Michigan's running game, the
Wolverines will have to turn to the air.
They might want to do that anyway,
because Alabama's secondary has been
vulnerable most of the season. Teams
throw for an average of 222 yards per
game on the Tide and have also thrown
for 20 touchdowns in 12 games.
Tom Brady has shown the ability to
rally Michigan with his arm, especially
late in the game.
ALABAMA RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE:
Alabama runs the ball like it has an
armless quarterback, racking up 179
yards per game on the ground. Shaun
Alexander shoulders most of the load,
averaging over 27 carries and 125 yards
per game. Left tackle Chris Samuels
recently won the Outland Trophy as the
nation's top lineman, and creates plenty
of holes for Alexander.
Michigan's rushing defense allows
just 115 yards per game, and has been
unyielding against the run most of the
season. On paper, this matchup appears
dead even. But something's got to give,
and whicheve team wins this individual
battle will probably win the game.
The only blemish in Alabama's uem
against Flonda was its kicking gami as
the Tide missed two extra points and a
field goal. M ichigan's lhayden Epstein
has been much more consistent. Milons is
dangerous as a return man, but probably
won't return many of Havden Epstein's
booming. out-of-the-endzone kicks.
ALABAMA PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE:
The Tide has a very effective two-
quarterback system. Andrew Zow and
Tyler Watts find Freddie Milons,
Alabama's leading receiver, with ease.
Michigan's secondary has been ques-
tionable at times this year, and has to
make sure that Milons and the rest of
Alabama's receivers don't get behind
them for a big play. Alabama should be
effective on the ground, which will open
things up in the air.
Alabama is probably the most talented
team Michigan will face all season, and
this bowl game has the potential to be
one of the year's best. Alabama's offense
is potent, but none of its SEC foes has a
defense like Michigan's. If the
Wolverines can avoid a high-scoring
shootout with the Tide, they should be
able to effectively collar Alabama's
offense and pay the Tide back for a loss
in the 1997 Outback Bowl.
Michigan 17, Alabama 10
Bowl games abound: your guide to the 1999-2000 Bowl season
For the Daily
With so many bowls out there these days, its a
wonder that anyone doesn't make it to the post sea-
son. But most of the bowls are just filler, as college
football fans warm-up for the games that matter.
Here are the must see games for Big Ten and
zollege football fans.
SUGAR BOWL - FLORIDA STATE (11-0) VS.
VIRGINIA TECH (11-0): The ACC Champion
Seminoles are playing in their third national title
game in four years. They are led by a poised Chris
Weinke, the nation's seventh-rated passer with 25
ouchdowns and more than 3000 yards passing.
Explosive wide receiver Peter Warrick, when not
nvolved with shopping spree scams, makes big
>lays for his team, scoring 12 touchdowns this
Virginia Tech is definitely the surprise of the
rear, with its first perfect regular season in 81
nears. Versatile redshirt freshman quarterback
Aichael Vick, the nation's top-rated passer, can
curt you both through the air and with his scram-
ling ability. The Big East Champion Hokies lead
he nation in scoring offense (41.4 points per
;ame) and defense (10 points per game). The
lokies want to prove to everyone they are for real
.nd are not just the beneficiaries of a Nebraska
ass. Although Virginia Tech has been impressive
his year and has a lot of emotion coming into
view Orleans, the Seminoles will take advantage
+f some of the Hokies early mistakes to give coach
3obby Bowden a national title and his first perfect
Florida State 31, Virginia Tech 24
FIESTA BOwL - TENNESSEE (9-2) VS.
4EBRASKA (11-1): Nebraska's defensive line is
laying extremely well, sacking Texas quarterback
4ajor Applewhite seven times and holding the
.onghorns more than 200 yards under their sea-
an average. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch
as stepped up his game this season, rushing for
89 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with a
!eep threat passing attack. The only problem with
te aggressive Nebraska offense is that they lost
5 fumbles this year - which could cause them
roblems against Tennessee's talented and quick
efense. The Volunteers have only allowed three
ishing touchdowns all year. The defending
4ational Champions also have a talented quarter-
-ack of their own in Tee Martin.
Tennessee has revenge in mind from two years
go, when Nebraska dominated them 42-17 in the
)range Bowl for the national title, but in this bat-
tie the Cornhuskers will prevail once again.
Nebraska 21,Tennessee 17
ROSE BOwL -STANFORD (8-3) VS. WISCONSIN
(9-2): The Badgers have won seven straight since
inserting quarterback Brook Bollinger into the
starting lineup. He has been an efficient conduc-
ter in the "Ron Dayne Express", complimenting
Dayne's 1800 yards rushing with 445 of his own.
Put these two against a Stanford defense which is
ranked 110 out of the 114 teams in Division I-A,
giving up 452 yards per game, and it's safe to say
that the Cardinals better get off the tracks.
Wisconsin 34, Stanford 10
Citrus Bowl - Michigan State (9-2) vs.
Florida (9-3): With Spartans coach Nick Saban
bolting for Louisiana State for an early Christmas
bonus, assistant coach Bobby Williams inherits
the second-ranked defense in the country and a
team angry over getting snubbed by the BCS.
Florida's offense was anemic in the SEC title
game. The Gators were also unable to stop
Alabama's ground game. Spartan's freshman T.J.
Duckett will steam roll through the weak Florida
defense. And as long as quarterback Bill Burke
doesn't have turnover problems, Michigan State
will win in its first New Year's Day appearance:
Michigan State 27, Florida 14
Outback Bowl - Georgia (7-4) vs. Purdue
(7-4): The Boilermakers run a wide-open, pass-
happy offense in which Heisman candidate Drew:
Brees has flourished. Brees led the Big Ten in
passing efficiency, yards and attempts while hook-
ing up with Big Ten leading receiver Chris Daniels
(109 catches, 1133 yards) early and often to make
Purdue an exciting team to watch this season. The
Bulldogs have lost three of their last four games.
Things don't look too promising for them in this
game either, considering they had the worst pass
defense in the SEC.
Purdue 28, Georgia 13
ALAMO BOWL - PENN STATE (9-3) VS. TEXAS
A&M (8-3): After starting the season 9-0, the
Nittany Lions uncharacteristically lost three con-
secutive games for the first time since 1988 and:
ended up tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Their sup-
posedly stacked defense, led by LaVarr Arrington
and Courtney Brown, has let them down of late.
The Aggies have had to deal with injuries,
inconsistencies and the horrible bonfire tragedy
that occured late in the season. Emotions were
high as they upset rival Texas, peaking at the right:
time of year. Look for them to place Penn State
further into mediocrity.
Texas A&M 24, Penn State 17
MICRON PC BOWL VIRGINIA (7-4) vs.
ILLINOIS (7-4): The Fighting Illini finished with a
vengeance this year, winning their last three
games en route to their first bowl game since
1991. Quarterback Kurt Kittner threw for more
than 2500 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in
leading his team past tough conference foes such
as Ohio State and Michigan. Led by running back
Thomas Jones, the Cavaliers finished second in
the ACC. Jones rushed for 1798 yards this year,
four times rushing for more than 200 yards.
Illinois 21,Virginia 17
SUN BowL OREGON (8-3) vS. MINNESOTA (8-
3): The Golden Gophers turned a lot of heads in
the Big Ten this year, ruining Penn State's nation-
al title hopes and leading the conference in pass-
ing defense and total defense. Led by the one-two
combination of quarterback Billy Cockerham and
running back Thomas Hamner, the Gophers con-
tain an explosive offense.
The Ducks are paced by 1000 yard rusher
Reuben Droughns and were second place in' the
PAC 10. Minnesota will prove to have too many
weapons for the Duck's weak secondary and win
its fourth straight game.
Minnesota 27, Oregon 17
All picks made against
Home teams in CAPS.
Correct picks in bold.
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah (-6.5) vs. Fresno State
Mobile Alabama Bowl: East Carolina (-4.5) vs. Texas Christian
Aloha Bowl: Arizona State (-3) vs. Wake Forest
Oahu Bowl: Oregon State (-9) vs. Hawaii
Motor City Bowl: Marshall ("2.5) vs. Brigham Young
Alamo Bowl: Penn State (-5.5) vs. Texas A&M
Music City Bowl: Kentucky (-2.5) vs. Syracuse
Holiday Bowl: Kansas State (-11.5) vs. Washington
Humanitarian Bowl: Louisville(-4) vs. Boise State
Micron PC Bowl: Virginia (-2.5) vs. Illinois
Peach Bowl: Clemson (-2.5) vs. Mississippi State
T.J. Berka Rick Freeman
Insight.com Bowl: Colorado (-8) vs. Boston College Boston College
Sun Bowl: Minnesota (-2.5) vs Oregon Minnesota
Liberty Bowl: Southern Miss(4) vs. Colorado State Southern Miss
Independence Bowl: Oklahoma (-4) vs. Mississippi Mississippi
Cotton Bowl: Texas (-7.5) vs. Arkansas
Outback Bowl: Purdue (-5) vs. Georgia
Gator Bowl: Miami, Fla. (-4.5) vs. Georgia Tech
Citrus Bowl: Florida (-1) vs. Michigan State
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (-11) vs.Stanford
Orange Bowl: Alabama (-2) vs. Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska (-4) vs. Tennessee
Sugar Bowl: Florida State (-6) vs. Virginia Tech
PARKING & TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
Parking enforcement will be relaxed from
Thursday, December 23 through Sunday,
January 2 in University lots and structures.
University permits will not be required to park
in Blue, Yellow, Orange or Green parking spaces.
Special signed spaces (Gold, UM Service
Vehicle, Loading Zone and Handicap) will require
the appropriate permit.
METERS & PARKMASTERS
Also, during this time, payment of meter fees
will not be required for regular meters or
ParkMasters. Please be aware that this does
not include City of Ann Arbor meters.
UNIVERSITY COMMUTER BUSES
From Sunday, December 26 through Friday,
December 31, buses will follow the Winter
Break Schedule (below) on the North Campus
route. The first bus will leave Northwood V at
7:10 am and will run every 40 minutes, with the
last bus leaving Central Campus at 12:10 am.
* The first inbound trip starts at Stone Drive
and goes to McIntyre, then along Hubbard to
Baits. There is no service to Bonisteel Blvd on
the first trip.
Regular service will operate through Tuesday,
December 21, and will resume after Winter
classes begin on Wednesday, January 5.
Regular service will be available through
Wednesday, December 22. Service will resume
after the holidays on Monday, January 3. All
North Campus buses will be lift-equipped
during this hiatus.
Due to relaxed parking enforcement,
University Commuter buses will not run during
this time period (December 23 through January
BURSLEY/BAITS & NORTHwOoD BUSES
UMMC shuttles will operate through Thursday,
December 23. The Kellogg/North Ingalls
shuttle will be available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
December 27 through December 30. The
shuttle will leave the North Ingalls building on
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