10-2 (7-2), 1st Pacific-10
11-1 (7-1), 2nd Big Ten
In my opinion I think this will be the best BCS and could be the best bowl game of the season. Both teams were in the hunt for the BCS Championship up until the end. If USC would have beat UCLA in their last game they would be play Ohio State. Michigan's only loss came to Ohio State, but was beat out by the voters and computers by Florida. Michigan could potentially still share the title if Florida wins and they win this game impressively.
The Trojans are led at quarterback by John David Booty and his 2956 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He has probably the best group of receivers to throw to in the nation. First there is Dwayne Jarrett and if he did not get injured during the season, he could've been in the race for the Heisman Trophy. Jarrett still had 810 yards with 10 touchdowns. Steve Smith was the leading receiver for the Trojans with 975 yards and 8 touchdowns and Patrick Turner is also someone that the Wolverines will have to cover.
At running back it has been more of a committee job led by Chauncey Washington. Washington rushed for 736 yards with 9 touchdowns. Emmanuel Moody and C.J. Gable also combined for over 800 yards on the ground and 6 touchdowns. On defense USC only gives up 97 yards on the ground and that will go right up against Michigan's strength of running the ball with Michael Hart. The defense is led by LB/DE Brian Cushing. This USC defense might be the most athletic defense it has had in years.
Michigan is a run first pass later team led by Michael Hart's 1515 yards and 14 touchdowns. Hart is a guy who will have a bunch of 4 or 5 yard gains then break a 20 yard one just at the right time. At quarterback Chad Henne is the man. This year Henne has thrown for 2199 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Although they might not get the publicity that USC's receivers do, Michigan has three good ones too. Mario Manningham, Steve Breaston, and Adrian Arrington are Henne's main men. In 8 games Manningham has over 800 yards and 9 touchdowns. Breaston is more of a threat in the return game with a touchdown on a punt return and a 24 yard average on kickoff returns.
The Wolverines are led on defense by two ITB All Americans. First at cornerback Leon Hall will try to shut down Jarrett. Hall has 3 interceptions this year but more importantly his skill made opposing quarterback's throw away from him. The defensive front four led by Lombardi Award winner LaMarr Woodley. Woodley will be in the backfield causing havok on Booty all day.
There is a rule of thumb each year in the BCS, there is always a team that thought they were snubbed and when it comes to bowl season that team that thinks they got snubbed gets beat really bad. But for the Wolverines' case they still have a very outside chance of winning a share of the title. USC is going to really test the defensive backfield of the Wolverines. In the trenches, I think that Michigan's offensive line is better than USC's defensive line and the same goes with Michigan's defensive line. If Booty has time he will pick apart the Wolverine's D like Troy Smith did, but we all saw what happened against the pressure of UCLA. I think Michigan wins a close game and Michael Hart gets 100 yards against the tough USC run defense. Michigan 35-33
Brian from CFR