Michigan and Georgia Set for South Florida Duel in Orange Bowl Semifinal

The 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl features two historic programs with redemption on their mind. One has already achieved it this season while the other seeks another opportunity in Indianapolis on January 10th.

The Michigan Wolverines (12-1) finally vanquished their archrival Ohio State Buckeyes, who had won the eight previous matchups, to conclude their regular season while the Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) dropped their seventh straight to the SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide on Championship Saturday.

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh stated, “[I’m] really thrilled about the way our team has played all season long, particularly the last half the season.”

Harbaugh expounded, “Our team has been in that [playoff mindset] for several weeks now. How [his players] have responded to that is really good. They prepare. They get in the game. They’re focussed on doing their job. What really stands out is that they’re really enjoying every minute of this. When you play well and win it makes you feel even better.”

Since losing to in-state rival Michigan State by four points in late October, the Wolverines finished with five straight wins including the aforementioned victory in The Game en route to a conference championship and inaugural playoff berth.

Despite routing Iowa in the Big Ten championship game, some believed Michigan deserved top billing as the No. 1 seed in the playoff. Harbaugh countered, “The facts are you have to win two games to be the national champion. My thoughts, and from what I can tell all the players, it didn’t make any difference what seed we were. All the teams in the playoff are worthy and I’m happy we are one of them.”

On the other side of this matchup is the Georgia Bulldogs, fresh off their first loss in the SEC Championship Game. Harbaugh commented, “I’ve watched them throughout the year. They are a rugged, tough squad. They play extremely well on all sides of the ball and special teams.”

Moving onto the Bulldogs, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart remarked, “We’re honored to be in the Orange Bowl. It’s one of the best bowls I’ve been involved in [while coaching at Alabama and FSU]. Tremendous event, great weather, the players going to enjoy practicing outside as well as the sights and sounds.” Smart continued, “I know our university is certainly excited about being in the college football playoff and our players today are enthused to get back out there and play.”

On the Wolverines, Smart stated, “I have a lot of respect for Michigan and Coach Harbaugh’s team. I got to see a little bit of their game last night and have seen a few of their games on TV during the season. I’ve got a lot of respect for the job he does, I have always respected him as a college and professional coach.”

The coaches, players, and support staff will begin preparation for this massive game in the coming days. It should be a dynamic matchup featuring two of the best teams in college football this year.  The Orange Bowl will be televised on ESPN at 7:30 ET following the Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.

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