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5 Reasons to Watch Michigan vs. Florida State in the Orange Bowl

Bowl season is quickly becoming a fun time of the year for the Big Ten. That’s especially the case in 2016, as the conference makes an appearance in three of the New Year’s Six bowl games and the College Football Playoff.

One such game happens to have the Michigan Wolverines taking on the Florida State Seminoles in this little game called the Orange Bowl.

As we work our way to the start of bowl season we give you five reasons to take in every bowl game. This one…well, it practically sells itself

— Can Michigan Win Away from the Confines of the State of Michigan?

Great teams win the tough games, and for Michigan most of its tough games came in the friendly confines of Michigan Stadium. It has helped them to a 10-2 record so far this season and nearly a College Football Playoff berth.

However, away from the Big House it hasn’t been a good time. A night loss to Iowa in Kinnick Stadium and the big one to Ohio State in Ohio Stadium are the reasons we are talking about Michigan playing in the Orange Bowl and not the College Football Playoff.

Michigan just so happened to lose the two road games it played outside the state that weren’t against Rutgers. I mean, that’s not good news. However, it is a reason to watch this game.

If Michigan can’t win the big games on the road, is it really back? That storyline alone is worth tuning in to watch.

— Two of College Football’s Iconic Names Meet…For the 1st Time in a Bowl Game

Did you know Florida State and Michigan have never met on the gridiron in a bowl game setting before? That seems nearly impossible for two teams that were at their heights in the 1990’s and are back to them these days.

Now, these two teams have met before, playing twice in Ann Arbor during regular season matchups. This a one-off matchup at the end of the season and not some scheduled game years in the making.

So, those of you who love history should love seeing these two powers meet. Same for the new-school fans out there, as FSU and Michigan are both “cool” brands and football programs to follow once again.

Let’s see if the bowl game atmosphere will make this game as memorable as it has the potential to be (and more on that later).

— Redemption Story for the Winner

Florida State and Michigan entered this season with high hopes of making the College Football Playoff spots. Instead, both disappointed in differing degrees. Yet, both teams have proven to be really good even with a few blemishes on the year.

One of these two teams are going to win and for that team it can be a huge bit of redemption for the season. It isn’t often that both teams come in to a bowl game with a lot on the line. Sure, one may need to prove something or the other is just happy to be there.

The disparity in feelings towards a bowl game can often lead to bad games and surprising results. Despite the disappointment, both of these programs will want to put on a show and make a memorable impression on the CFB world heading in to next season.

Winning this game and making a statement in doing so would certainly qualify as a way to get redemption for a lost season.

— Michigan + Orange Bowl = Great Football

Believe it or not, the Wolverines have some big time history in the Orange Bowl. O.k., just two games, but two of the bigger games of their eras. The Wolverines last appeared in the Orange Bowl in 1999 and beat some team named Alabama 35-34 in the process. It was one of the most memorable of a decade full of memorable Orange Bowl matchups.

Michigan also appeared in the 1975 Orange Bowl, losing 14-6 to Oklahoma in the process.

If history is any indication, the Wolverines and Seminoles are going to be putting on a show for the ages. Chances are, you’ll want to be entertained on the 30th of December…you know, a warmup for the big night to come. So, why not tune in and see a great college football game?

— Jim Harbaugh

The rumors have already started, as the Los Angeles Rams have fired head coach Jeff Fischer. Yes, just two years in to his time at Michigan, Harbaugh may already be pulled back to the NFL by one of its supposed glamor jobs.

Of course, a lot of that is speculation at this point, but speculation leads to Harbaugh being talked about all the time and thus the Michigan program as well. His media presence and ability to be a master of self-marketing in the most awkward of ways also means this game could have more attention than a traditional matchup in the bowl season would.

It could also be Harbaugh’s last game at Michigan, and as crazy as that is to think about, it does make this game worth watching. Oh, and who knows what sideline outburst he’s going to have. Come on, who doesn’t want to watch the pleated-khaki wonder that his Harbaugh exploding on the sideline like a 4-year-old who didn’t get the present they wanted from Santa that year?

Oh wait…no one does?

Either way, we’re guessing Harbaugh is going to provide some spice to this matchup.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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