Ahead of the 2019 NCAAF season, the Michigan Wolverines were polled amongst the media as favorites to win the East Division and the Big Ten Championship Game. They also ranked 7 of 25 with both the Associated Press and Coaches polls in pre-season, giving fans plenty of reasons to believe that a powerful campaign beckoned.
Unfortunately, despite posting a generally positive 9-3 season during the NCAA Division I FBS, that wasn’t anywhere near good enough for the Wolverines to reach the College Football Playoff. What’s more, following a crushing 56-27 defeat at the Michigan stadium against the Ohio State Buckeyes, played before the biggest crowd of the season in Ann Arbor, the team coached by Jim Harbaugh finished 3rd in the Big Ten East and down to 14th in CFP rankings.
Michigan vs. Alabama.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) December 8, 2019
For their part, Ohio State joined LSU and Clemson in posting unbeaten 13-0 seasons, with Oklahoma Sooners completing the four teams that will compete for the CFP National Championship. According to the latest American football odds, the Buckeyes are +225 third-favorites for the title. Aiming for their fourth final and third title in five seasons, the Clemson Tigers are considered a +200, with LSU +150 favorites and Oklahoma +1200 outsiders.
Missing out on the National Championship playoffs for the first time in four seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide slipped down the CFP rankings this to 13 this year, following their 10-2 season which also concluded with them finishing second to LSU in the SEC West. After what has proven to be a hugely frustrating campaign, having set such high standards over recent years, the Crimson Tide will head into bowl season looking to end on a high note.
Indeed, the Crimson Tide will face the Michigan Wolverines in the 2020 Citrus Bowl, scheduled for New Years Day at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. There will certainly be a huge amount of pride at stake for both programs, as this will be the fifth bowl series meeting between the two sides, with the all time series standing at two wins apiece.
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) December 8, 2019
The history books will highlight this encounter as a clash between two of the greatest college football teams of all time, with Alabama having claimed 17 National Championships and Michigan 11, although their respective bowl records are somewhat mixed by comparison. The 40-26-3 record of the Crimson Tide places them 15th in the overall bowl series rankings, whereas the Wolverines are 61st by virtue of their 21-26-0 record.
No matter the shared history, given the Crimson Tide comfortably won the last meeting 41-14 in the 2012 Cowboys Classic in Texas, there’s no doubt the Wolverines will be out for revenge, and to edge themselves ahead in the series between the two teams, as Jim Harbaugh urges his team on to finish the season with a 10 win record. That would certainly be a boost for the head coach, who has certainly endured more than his fair share of criticism this season.