Sizing up the Outback Bowl between South Carolina (8-4) and Michigan (8-4):
Time, TV: Jan. 1, noon ET, ESPN2
Site: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
The last time these teams met — the 2013 Outback Bowl — Jadeveon Clowney delivered one of the most famous hits in bowl history. South Carolina beat the Brady Hoke-led Wolverines 33-28, while Jim Harbaugh was on his way to taking the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Now Harbaugh needs to get Michigan a big win.
The Wolverines have won 28 games in his first three seasons — but are 0-3 against Ohio State and have two losses to Michigan State and a loss last season to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. The big payoff hasn’t come yet.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp could use a big win, too.
His Gamecocks started 3-1 — highlighted by wins against North Carolina State and Missouri — and finished with a 5-3 run. But every win was a grind.
South Carolina barely got past Tennessee 15-9 when the Volunteers were in the midst of a scoring drought. It was a fight to get by a bad Vanderbilt team, and it took everything to hold on against Florida. The Gamecocks played six games decided by eight points or fewer, winning five.
When they had their chances late to make a statement against Georgia and Clemson, they were beaten by a combined score of 58-20.
Michigan beat one bowl team (Purdue) and lost by double figures to Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, plus fell to Michigan State 14-10.
Now each team’s offseason narrative likely will be defined by what happens. No pressure.
Players to watch
DT Rashan Gary, Michigan: The former superstar recruit is living up to the billing. Ultra quick, the 6-5, 281-pounder made 62 tackles with five sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
QB Brandon Peters, Michigan: He got knocked out of the Wisconsin game and missed the Ohio State loss. Now the 6-5, 220-pound sophomore is back. He threw for 486 yards this year.
QB Jake Bentley, South Carolina: He threw for 2,555 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for six TDs. But he also had 11 interceptions.
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina: Hurt all of last year, the 6-2, 218- pounder had a strong return: 88 tackles and three interceptions.
Michigan’s third-ranked defense will make a statement. South Carolina lacks playmakers to cope.
PICK: Michigan, 30-13