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January 1, 2018 Michigan and South Carolina Outback Bowl Game

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Happy New Year and Welcome to the Michigan and South Carolina Outback Bowl Game Preview. Today’s post will look at the BIG matchup between the Wolverines and the Gamecocks.  As always, this Game Day post will take a closer look at the history of Michigan’s bowl games on January 1st. Then,  we will look at the history of the Michigan vs South Carolina series. Finally, I will predict the final outcome of this important game.

Calendar History:

The Michigan Wolverines have played thirty-four games on this date in their football history.  So far, Michigan’s record on January 1st is 19 wins and 18 losses. That works out to a winning percentage of just over fifty-one percent (.516). Michigan has played in twenty Rose Bowls on this date and posted a record of 8 wins and 12 losses. The Wolverines have fared much better in “other” bowls on this date. Michigan owns a record of 11 wins and 6 losses in non-Rose Bowl games played on the first day of the new year.

History is on the side of the Maize and Blue today, but not by much! Here is a little more information about Michigan Football on this date.

  • Michigan’s first game on this date took place in 1902 when they blew out Stanford in the first ever Rose Bowl game (49-0).
  • Michigan’s first loss on this date took place in 1970 against Southern California (3-10) in Bo’s first ever Rose Bowl game. Of course, Coach Schembechler was not on the sideline because he was in the hospital recovering from his first heart attack.
  • Michigan won the last game they played on this date against Florida in the 2016 Citrus Bowl. Jim Harbaugh won his first bowl game that day by a score of 41-7. Go Blue!

Captain John Navarre set a Michigan Outback Bowl record for completions and passing yards in a 38-30 win over Florida. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 319 yards. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Outstanding Performances on January 1st:

Listed below are some of the best Wolverine performances in bowl games played on January 1st:

  • 1902 – Neil Snow rushed for five touchdowns in a 49-0 win over Stanford. This is still a Michigan and a Rose Bowl record!
  • 1951 – Chuck Ortmann completed over seventy-eight percent (.781) of his passes (15 of 19) in a Rose Bowl win over California.
  • 1970 – Cecil Pryor sets a record for tackles with 15 against Southern California.
  • 1981 – Don Bracken launched a record-setting bowl punt of 73-yards in Michigan’s 23-6 win over Washington.
  • 1991 – Elvis Grbac becomes the first Michigan quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a 35-3 Gator Bowl win over Mississippi.
  • 1993 – Tyrone Wheatley sets a Michigan record with 235 rushing yards in a 38-31 Rose Bowl win over Washington.
  • 1994 – Derrick Alexander scores a record setting punt return (79-yards) in a Hall of Fame Bowl win over N.C. State (42-7).
  • 2013 – Matt Wile kicks Michigan’s longest bowl field goal (52-yards) in a losing effort against South Carolina.

Michigan players have definitely stepped up for some great performances on the first day of the calendar year. I know that a number of today’s Wolverines will do the same against South Carolina today.

Outback Bowl History:

So far, Michigan has played in three Outback Bowls on this date. They won their first game, but it was called the Hall of Fame Bowl then. Gary Moeller was at the helm for the Hall of Fame/Outback Bowl win in 1994. Michigan defeated North Carolina State (42-7). The Wolverines played in their first “official” Outback Bowl game in 1997 and lost to Alabama 14-17. The Maize and Blue footballers won their last Outback Bowl game on this date in 2003 (38-30 over Florida).  Yes, that means Michigan has a record of 2 wins and 1 loss in this bowl game on January 1st – which is a very good thing.

Series History:

Today’s game is the fourth game in this relatively short gridiron series between Michigan and South Carolina. The Gamecocks currently own the advantage against the Wolverines with a record of 2 wins and 1 loss. The teams split the first two games in the regular season. Michigan lost the first game in 1980 by a score of 14-17. Bo’s Wolverines came back to win in 1985 (34-3). As you may recall, this is the second Michigan and South Carolina Outback Bowl game. The teams met in Tampa in January 2013 and the Gamecocks won it 28-33.

In the 2013 game, Michigan led late in the game and outrushed the Gamecocks (141 yards to 85 yards). The Wolverines also had more first downs (24 to 17) and had a big advantage in time of possession (37 + minutes to 22 minutes). The biggest difference in the game was 341 passing yards for the Gamecocks versus 214 for the Wolverines. South Carolina will not have 341 passing yards against Michigan’s defense today!

No doubt about it, Michigan is looking to even this series today! A win would give the Wolverines a record of 2 wins and 2 losses against South Carolina.


On paper, the Michigan and South Carolina Outback Bowl game looks pretty even. Of course, both teams have 8 wins and 4 losses. A ninth win would be huge for Michigan and South Carolina. The Wolverines came out as 8-point favorites and the odds-makers still think they are about seven points better than the Gamecocks. Michigan’s defense, as usual, is the key to the game. South Carolina will have trouble scoring against the Wolverines. If Brandon Peters can make it through the whole game, I think he can get at least 20 points on the board – which should be more than enough to beat the Gamecocks.

Yes, Team #138 “underachieved” in the hearts and minds of many Michigan fans. However, I think that eight wins for a very young team was a positive step. Of course, the losses to MSU and OSU really stung. A ten-win season was certainly a possibility, but it didn’t happen. A victory over South Carolina would send the seniors off with their heads held high! It will also serve as a great launching pad for the 2018 football season. Of course, there is a little more added pressure since the Wolverines are seeking to win and keep the Big Ten Conference undefeated during the 2017 bowl season.

My Prediction:

Michigan is the better team today. I think that Michigan and South Carolina will both play very hard today. The Wolverine defense will be suffocating and Brandon Peters will step up BIG today. Michigan wins 24-10 today. Go Blue!



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