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ESPN Analyst Picks Michigan Over Georgia

It will be another 25 days before Georgia takes the field again and plays Michigan in one of two College Football Playoff Semifinal games, ESPN’s Kyle Rittenberg has already lended his prediction for the Orange Bowl.

Georgia is heading back to the College Football Playoffs for the second time in the Kirby Smart era; even after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship game this past weekend, Georgia's undefeated regular season was enough to keep them in the top four without winning the SEC.

Some may describe Georgia's current position as unfamiliar territory. In years past, a loss in the SEC Championship game meant that Georgia was eliminated from playoff contention and would mean playing in a New Year Six Bowl game. Making it even more unfamiliar for fans is that after dominating opponents through the regular season, even beating the same teams as Alabama but by a wider margin, Georgia still lost to the Tide 41-24.

After the dismantling of Georgia's previously number one ranked defense that went into Saturday, allowing just 6.9 points per game, Georgia needs to readjust and get back its edge that the team played with before Atlanta. A 25 day lay off certainly helps, allowing more time for practice and recuperation as they are preparing for a semifinal game against No. 2 Michigan.

The Wolverines are one of the hottest teams in College Football, fresh off their first victory over longtime rival Ohio State since 2011, and have just won their first outright Big-10 title since 2003. Everything seems to be going Jim Harbaugh's way after taking a pay cut and gutting his coaching staff in the offseason to secure more time in Ann Arbor.

With a 7:30 kickoff time set for December 31st, the two teams are expected to provide a tightly contested game under the lights in Miami.

ESPN's Kyle Rittenberg spent time breaking down all forty-four bowl games after their announcement on Sunday and gave a prediction, even for Georgia versus Michigan.

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"Jim Harbaugh's mission to build Michigan into a team that would truly reflect his personality took longer than expected, but it has happened. The Wolverines will make their CFP debut against a team that largely resembles them. Like Michigan with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, Georgia boasts elite defensive linemen such as Jordan Davis. Both teams are built around multiple rushing options, talented tight end play and unheralded but effective quarterbacks in Cade McNamara (Michigan) and Stetson Bennett IV (Georgia). Will Georgia consider a QB change after Bennett's struggles in the SEC title game? Coach Kirby Smart must guard against an Alabama hangover, or Georgia's four-decades-long national title drought will add another painful year. Michigan played its best football down the stretch and will outlast Georgia in a defensive struggle behind two Hutchinson-forced turnovers."

Before predicting a Wolverines win over Georgia, 24-21, advancing Michigan to the National Championship for the first time since 1997. 

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