Like I did ahead of the Florida State game, I am using Bill Connelly’s advanced stats profiles to break down the Gators’ bowl matchup with Michigan. There are some good things in there to use to compare the teams that you might not get in a normal bowl game preview.
Dan Mullen’s renewed emphasis on special teams really paid off in the field position game. Florida is 39th nationally with an average starting field position for its offense of its own 31.1-yard-line. It’s also sixth in the country by virtue of opponents only getting it on average on their own 25.9. This phase of the game has been one of UF’s most consistent advantages over opponents this year.
It may not get that advantage in the Peach Bowl. Michigan is ninth with an average starting field position of its own 33-yard-line, while it’s third by giving it to its opponents only on their own 25.6.
UM is slightly better in just the raw terms without looking at the national ranks, but only slightly. In this game Florida cannot count on overcoming its periodic offensive issues with the field position game.
Efficiency versus Explosiveness
Both teams are better at efficiency than explosiveness on both sides of the ball. One of the reasons why the Wolverines are favored is because there’s less of a gap between its better efficiency and lesser explosiveness.
Michigan is No. 26 in success rate and 36th in a separate efficiency metric. Florida is a bit better, ranking 13th and 18th in the same measures. Slight advantage: Gators.
The two offenses are nearly dead even in Connelly’s isolated points per play explosiveness measure by ranking in the 80s nationally. However, Michigan is 52nd in the other explosiveness figure while Florida is 83rd.
The Gator defense is top 25 in both efficiency metrics, as it’s been able to do well on a down-by-down basis. It’s in the 70s in the two explosiveness categories. You probably feel that intuitively for how many big plays they allowed this year.