The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines will take on the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl. The game is scheduled for Friday, December 30th. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. The game will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers have the Wolverines as a 7-point favorite with the total at 52 points.

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Orange Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Michigan vs Florida State

The Wolverines (10-2) have to be wondering what could have been. Michigan lost on a last second field goal at Iowa 13-14 and in OT at Ohio State 27-30. Both losses coming in their final 3 games after starting out 9-0. Last year Michigan beat Florida 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl, but you have to wonder how motivated they will be.

The Seminoles (9-3) came into the season with the expectation of getting to the playoffs. Those hopes were put to rest early, as they lost 3 of their fist 8 games. To their credit, FSU finished strong, closing out the season with 4 straight wins. The Seminoles lost 24-38 to Houston in last year’s Peach Bowl, but are 4-2 in bowl games under Jimbo Fisher.

Orange Bowl Free Pick & Betting Predictions: FSU +7

This one is all about motivation, as I think most would agree Michigan is the better team. To the public this looks like a great bowl game to be in, but for the Wolverines it’s the last place they want to be. The loss to Ohio State in the finale was about as crushing of a blow as a team will face outside of losing in the playoffs.

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It would be one thing if they got dominated by the Buckeyes, but they had to feel like they should have won. They led 17-7 in the 2nd half and Ohio State needed a game-tying field goal as time expired to force overtime. Not only do I think they FSU will keep this within 7-points, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the game.

It reminds me a lot of the 2013 Sugar Bowl, where No. 3 Alabama took on No. 11 Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide were a 15-point favorite, but simply didn’t want to be there. They had just lost their finale to Auburn, which essentially kept them out of the BCS title game. The average Joe bettor just doesn’t factor in how hard it is to play in a meaningless bowl game when you feel like you should be playing for a national title.

I understand that Florida State had lofty expectations of their own coming into the year. The big difference is their losses came early in the year. They have had more than enough time to come to terms with their season not going as anticipated. I see the Seminoles using this game as a measuring stick for where they are going into next season. Much like Oklahoma did in that game against Alabama.

As far as the numbers are concerned, this is one instance where they really aren’t all that important. It doesn’t matter what a team did in the regular season. If they aren’t motivated to play, the stats are meaningless. I just feel there’s way to much value here with Florida State catching a touchdown in this one.