Michigan Wolverines

College Football Playoff Predictions

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is playoff time once again! The College Football Playoff begins on New Year’s Eve.

Here are my previews and predictions.

The first semifinal on New Year’s Eve has No. 2 Michigan facing off with No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Wolverines are making their second consecutive appearance after having an unbeaten regular season that included a 45-23 drubbing of rival Ohio State.

The Horned Frogs are making their first trip, despite losing to Kansas State in overtime of the Big 12 title game.

TCU is the only team in the history of the CFP to lose a game and not drop in the rankings.

Michigan will look to physically dominate the line of scrimmage, and TCU will try to throw the football led by Heisman runner-up Max Duggan to put up points.

Michigan will have the more talented roster. TCU comes into the contest more battle tested with a series of come from behind wins during the regular season.

Most of the experts believe that Michigan should beat TCU rather easily. Could Michigan be looking past TCU to a UGA or OSU rematch? Time will tell.

TCU must stop Donovan Edwards. Michigan’s sophomore running back had to step in due to the injured Blake Corum. He has totaled more than 400 yards rushing in the past two games, and he has become the Wolverines biggest offensive threat.

If the game is close, TCU could pull the upset. Illinois provided the blueprint that teams must follow to beat Michigan. Michigan struggled in the 19-17 win other them. Match the physicality and force FGs in the redzone.

Prediction: Michigan 28-17.

The second showdown has No. 1 Georgia facing No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl. The defending champion Bulldogs will have the advantage of playing in the friendly confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

UGA is already 2-0 this season in the Benz with blowouts over Oregon and LSU in the SEC title game.

The UGA defense will have to contend with Buckeye’s quarterback C.J. Stroud and some talented wide receivers.

Ohio State was a dominant team all season and have been defined going into this playoff game by one bad second half of football against Michigan.

On the negative side for the Buckeyes, they are banged up. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba will not play, and RB TreVeyon Henderson is having foot surgery and will miss the game. RB Miyan Williams has been banged up as well.

Offensively, C.J. Stroud should still be a threat against a Georgia defense that allowed more than 500 yards passing against LSU. That had to drive Kirby Smart insane.

OSU’s skill people are on par with the offensive skill players that Tennessee had in 2022.

Defensively, OSU got bullied against Michigan and if that repeats in the Peach Bowl then they will not win the contest.

On the Georgia side, the defense must put together a Tennessee like performance in this contest.

Jalen Carter will be the best player on the field for UGA, and he must wreak havoc on the OSU offensive line. Kelee Ringo must play well against Marvin Harrison Jr. Finally, the UGA defense must tackle well.

Offensively, UGA must be balanced and not be stubborn and just run the ball. Stetson Bennett should have a fantastic game.

The UGA OL is better than the OSU DL and that must play out in this contest. Brock Bowers is a match-up nightmare for Ohio State, and the WR group will be as healthy as they have been since the season opener.

This is the best semi-final match-up to date in the College Football Playoff. This should be a fantastic football game.

Prediction: UGA 38-35.

Jason Bishop Show w Kipp Branch December 11

Jason Bishop Show w Kipp Branch December 11



Final Four Madness

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I’m not a religious man.

Don’t get me wrong, I was raised Catholic but the only thing I retained are the litany of jokes regarding Catholicism. After this Loyola Chicago run and the support they’re receiving from America’s most popular nun since Whoopi Goldberg in “Sister Act”, I’m starting to rethink my religious convictions.

March Madness always has upsets, buzzer beaters, etc., but it just feels like this year has taken all those things to a whole new level. From a 16 seed defeating a 1 seed for the first time in history, to a Sweet Sixteen consisting of two regions without any top 2 seeds, to an 11 seed making it to the Final Four; throw in all the other stuff that has happened in between, I’m not sure there’s been a more entertaining tournament in recent memory.

Of course, based upon the first two weekends of the tournament, it’s only fitting we have the Final Four that awaits us in San Antonio. This year, we’ll get a little bit of everything.

The Pedigree: Kansas. After two years of having their season end in the Elite Eight, the Jayhawks were finally able to break through and advance. I’m not sure they are the best team remaining, but they are the most complete team.

Like the other three teams, Kansas’ strength is their perimeter play, but nobody has their size down low. If the Jayhawks are to win it all, they’ll need their post players to play big.

Arguably the Best Team All Season: Villanova. The Wildcats will arrive in Texas as the favorites to win their second title in three years. There really isn’t anything they don’t do well.

Defense? Yes. Take care of the ball? Yep. Potent offense? Sure, if you’re the type of person who likes your team to score a lot of points and hit a lot threes. For a team that plays 4 guards a majority of the time, they even rebound well. Not to say they can’t have an off night, or can’t be beat, but they’re the favorite for a reason.

Big Conference Team Clicking at the Right Time: Michigan. As much as I just drooled over Villanova and the way they play, you could argue the Wolverines are playing the best of this group. Three point shooting is going to be the key. If they’re making their shots from beyond the arc, they’ll have a shot. If not, it may be a one and done situation for the Big Ten champs.

Cinderella Team: Loyola Chicago. There have been other double digit seeds and mid-major schools (George Mason in 2006) that have made the Final Four, but I’m not sure any of them had as legitimate a chance to advance to the championship game as this Ramblers team.

Defensively, Loyola is good enough to disrupt Michigan’s offense and either of the teams they would meet in the championship game, if they are to make that far. They’re the underdogs, without a doubt, but don’t be surprised if they cause a little commotion.

After a season and tournament that has more than lived up to the hype, you can only hope that the final weekend will be more of the same. Based on the way the remaining four teams have played, I would expect nothing less.

You can take the pageantry of the Super Bowl or the excitement leading up to the college football playoffs; I’ll take March Madness over either of those every single time. It’s become a religious experience.


College Football Week One

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After 8 long months the wait is finally over: the college football season has finally arrived. And nothing welcomes the beginning of a new year quite like the obligatory “Five Week 1 Prognostications Guaranteed To Go Wrong, But It Doesn’t Matter Because I’ll Write About Something Completely Different Next Week And Never Mention These Predictions Again.” Sounds like a good time, right?

  • Georgia will beat Appalachian State, but not by much and will actually trail at some point in the second half.

I know I’m not going on too much of a limb to predict a Georgia win, and as much as I wanted to pick an Appalachian victory, I just can’t do it. The Mountaineers return an experienced team on both sides of the ball and a 5th year senior in Quarterback, Tyler Lamb. They should’ve beaten Tennessee last year and will make UGA work for it this year. The Dawgs are too athletic and too talented not to come away with a win, though.

  • Alabama will lose to Florida State.

I know it’s not all that wise to go against Alabama, basically ever, but intelligence has never really been my strong suit. What I do know is this, the last time Nick Saban lost back to back games was probably when he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He handled that adversity so well he decided to leave the NFL and go back to college. My hope is that if he loses to Florida State maybe he’ll leave college football and go back to high school. One can dream, right?

  • LSU will fail to score 20 points on a BYU team that thinks about defense the same way Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor think about humility.

Ed Orgeron did some good things for the Tigers last year after replacing Les Miles; mainly reinvigorating the fan base. Their offense SHOULD be better than it was last year, but then again, I should know better than to eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream before watching Game of Thrones, yet I do it anyway. Point is, a lot of things that should be different, oftentimes never change. See, LSU Offense.

  • South Alabama will beat Ole Miss.

South Alabama is a middle of the pack, Sun Belt conference team, that should have no business bearing any SEC team. Fortunately for them, they’re playing the one SEC team that probably doesn’t have any business winning a SEC game either. I have no idea what to expect from the Rebels this year, except it’s not going to be a pretty site in Oxford.

  • The Florida/Michigan game will wind up being the most intriguing game of the weekend.

I have no idea if it’ll be because the play on the field will be that exciting or because there’s a 50/50 chance that Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain will fight it out Mortal Kombat style halfway through the game. Either way, one of those two things will happen and it will be glorious to behold.

Now that I have channeled my inner Nostradamus feel free to enter this most sacred of weekends with the knowledge that these outcomes have already been foretold.

Of course, if I happen to be mistaken don’t waste your time letting me know. At that point, I’ll have already forgotten what I said and moved on to my next topic. You didn’t think I would hold myself accountable for my own thoughts, did you?

Who Will Be in the College Football Playoffs?

kenBy: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’re reaching the home stretch of the college football season. We had one of the most chaotic Saturday’s in recent memory. It was the first time Nos. 2,3 and 4 lost in the AP Poll since 1985. Now the rankings are shaken up. I’ll examine the teams most likely to make the playoffs.

Alabama (10-0) has been the most dominant team this season and their still undefeated.

Their final two regular season games are at home against FCS Chattanooga and No. 16 Auburn. The SEC Championship game opponent is not set yet. Right now they would face Florida.

The East is so bad it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. The Crimson Tide are basically a lock to finish the season undefeated and remain No. 1.

With all of the upsets Ohio State (9-1) benefitted the most moving up to No. 2. Their last games are at Michigan State and at home against No. 4 Michigan. The Spartans (3-7) are having a subpar year so this should be an easy win.

The rivalry game against Michigan (9-1) will be tough. The Wolverines lost their starting quarterback Wilton Speight with a broken collarbone. That should increase OSU’s chances of winning.

The odd thing is even after winning their last two games they aren’t expected to play in the Big Ten Championship game. Penn State beat the Buckeyes so if they win their last two games they’ll represent the East in the championship game. Now we have to wonder if the committee will hold that against them.

No. 3 Louisville (9-1) is in the same situation as Ohio State. The Cardinals lost to Clemson so the tiebreaker belongs to the Tigers. Clemson will represent the Atlantic division in the conference championship game if they win their final conference game.

The one advantage Louisville has is they have the best player in the country, quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s the clear cut favorite to win the Heisman. The playoff selection committee might choose the Cardinals to represent the ACC despite not winning the conference.

Michigan’s last two opponents are Indiana and Ohio State. If they can pull the upset on the road against OSU they’ll play in the conference championship game. Winning that will guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. I don’t like that the Wolverines have lost their starting QB but winning is still possible. We saw Ohio State win the 2014 national championship with a 3rd string quarterback.

No. 5 Clemson (9-1) should have easy wins to finish the season. They play Wake Forest and South Carolina. Their opponent in the ACC Championship will be Virginia Tech or North Carolina.

Washington dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 after losing to USC. The Huskies play Arizona State and at No. 20 Washington State. The Apple Cup game against the Cougars will be tough.

I’m not sure if they’ll win but if they do they will represent the Pac 12 North in the championship game. Currently they would play Colorado but that can change.

The last two weeks should be very exciting to watch. Alabama is guaranteed to finish and stay No. 1.

Ohio State and Clemson will also make the playoffs. The final spot is tricky. If Washington wins out they will be in but if they lose I’m not sure who the fourth team will be.