The History: Originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl when it began in 1986, the Outback Bowl became the staple it is today in 1995 when Outback Steakhouse became its official sponsor. The last 21 years the game has been played in Tampa, Florida and will feature a cool $7.2 million payout this year. Since 2000, the game has been between the Big Ten conference and the SEC conference with the SEC holding an 8-5 edge.
Michigan Scouting Report: It’s no secret that the defense is the most consistent part of the Michigan team. DB Jordan Kovacs’ 65 tackles, 5 stops for loss, 2 sacks, an interception, and one forced fumble make him an important compnent for the Wolverine defense. Offensively, QB Devin Gardner will most like start his 6th straight game where he has completed 63% of his passes for 1,005 yards and had 8 touchdowns while throing 4 interceptions. OT Taylor Lewan is the Big Ten’s best offensive lineman and will be key to the Michigan offense when his assignment is to stop South Carolina’s Jadevon Clowney.
Buckeye Connection: We all know what Ohio State-Michigan is all about. Michigan leads the all time series 47-45-4 but who cares about records……we beat ‘em this year and that’s all that matters!
South Carolina Scouting Report: A Steve Spurrier team means the keys are his QB and WR. QB Connor Shaw will lead his team against the Wolverines. He completed 67% of his passes while throwing for 1,732 yards. His 15-7 TD/INT ratio is nothing to be excited about though. Shaw’s favorite target is WR Bruce Ellington who led the team with 38 catches and 7 touchdowns. DE Jadevon Clowney will be one to watch as he is a freak athlete who had a school record 13 sacks this year.
Buckeye Connection: The Buckeyes and Gamecocks played in the Outback Bowl in 2001 and 2002 in their only two meetings with South Carolina winning both games. Here’s the good news though…….if they played this year…….Ohio State wins hands down!
Prediction: The most important key to this game is how Michigan’s Taylor Lewan handles South Carolina’s Jadevon Clowney. For Devin Gardner to have a good game, Lewan must keep Clowney out of the Michigan backfield. I believe that he can do this and that Michigan’s secondary will take care of business in stopping Connor Shaw. Michigan does the Big Ten proud in pulling off the “upset”! Michigan 34, South Carolina 20