Bowl Breakdown: Capital One

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t1_carr.jpg's Stewart Mandel analyzes the matchup.

Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow (3,970 total yards, 51 TDs) and dynamic receiver Percy Harvin (1,380 rushing/receiving yards) highlight one of the nation's most explosive spread offenses. The running abilities of Tebow and Harvin compensate for the lack of an every-down tailback, while Tebow has the luxury of throwing to a deep stable of playmaking receivers (Harvin, Andre Caldwell, Louis Murphy and Cornelius Ingram).

An inexperienced defense (10 new starters) struggled against the SEC's better offenses. Defensive end Derrick Harvey (14 tackles for loss) is a solid pass-rusher and sophomore Brandon Spikes (118 tackles) emerged as one of the nation's best young linebackers, especially when he's in coverage. Injuries along the defensive line made the Gators even younger, however, and put added pressure on work-in-progress defensive backs Wondy Pierre-Louis and Major Wright.

Lloyd Carr's last game at the helm also signals the end of Michigan's traditional, run-first offense. Starting next season, the Wolverines will employ Rich Rodriguez's spread-option approach. Injuries caused both quarterback Chad Henne and Mike Hart (1,232 yards in nine games) to miss significant action and prevented Michigan's offense from evolving into the powerful unit many predicted. When healthy, however, Henne -- with the help of premier receiver Mario Manningham (1,096 yards, 11 TDs) -- can be extremely dangerous, particularly on the play-fake, and Hart is one of the nation's most relentless rushers. All-America left tackle Jake Long leads a solid offensive line.

Following disastrous early performances against the spread offenses of Appalachian State and Oregon, Michigan's defense improved considerably, particularly in a 27-17 win at Illinois. But the Wolverines got run over in a season-ending loss to Ohio State. LB Shawn Crable (26.5 tackles for loss) gets into opposing backfields with ease, and safety Jamar Adams (83 tackles, three INTs) is a leader in the secondary.

Having had six weeks to get healthy, expect seniors Henne and Hart to go out with big performances in Carr's last stand, particularly against a vulnerable Florida defense. The Gators' Tebow-led attack, however, is on a whole other level, and Harvin in particular figures to leave Wolverines defenders in the dust. Expect Florida to pour on the points.

The pick: Florida 40, Michigan 28