The College Football Playoff semifinals have been set, and arguably the more alluring of the two will take place in the Orange Bowl.
Michigan and Georgia enter bowl season looking to break through for the programs’ first national titles since 1997 and 1980, respectively. Both teams have been starved of success on that ultimate stage, though they have come to face each other in completely different paths.
MORE: Watch the Orange Bowl semifinal live on fuboTV (7-day free trial)
The Bulldogs have enjoyed considerably more success than their maize-and-blue counterparts, winning the SEC championship as recently as 2017 and making the conference title game in 2018 and 2021. It has gone 6-2 in its last six New Year’s bowl games (including what is now called the Peach Bowl in 2006) since 2000. The Bulldogs have also been on the national championship game stage, losing to No. 4 Alabama in the 2018 CFP championship game in heartbreaking fashion.
Would Bulldogs fans prefer that heartbreak compared to the dearth of big games under Michigan in recent years? The Wolverines won their first Big Ten title this season since being named co-champions in 2004 alongside Iowa. They beat their biggest rivals this season, Ohio State, for the first time since 2011. That was the last time Michigan won a New Year’s bowl as well, when it beat Virginia Tech in the 2012 Sugar Bowl 23-20. Their last New Year’s bowl victory before that? A 35-34 overtime victory over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Needless to say, these teams will not be lacking in motivation heading into this Orange Bowl matchup. Here’s how you can watch these vaunted programs take out their frustrations against each other:
MORE: Expansion? With Alabama-UC and Michigan-Georgia, the four-team playoff still sells
When is the Orange Bowl 2021?
Date: Dec. 31
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV broadcast: ESPN
Location: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
The 2021 Orange Bowl, one of two College Football Playoff semifinal games this season, will kick off on Friday, Dec. 31 (the exact time for which has yet to be determined). The winner of this year’s Orange Bowl will advance to the national championship game, where it will take on the winner of the Cotton Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati. The national championship game will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10.
Who plays in the Orange Bowl 2021?
The 2021 Orange Bowl will feature 2-seed Michigan (12-1) and 3-seed Georgia (12-1). The Wolverines earned their right to play in the Orange Bowl after beating No. 2 Ohio State in Week 13 and No. 13 Iowa during conference championship weekend, respectively. The Bulldogs lost their SEC championship matchup to then-No. 3 Alabama, becoming the first team in the playoff era to lose on the final weekend and still make the top four teams. Their season-long dominance earned them the right to make the playoff, despite that defeat.
MORE: Who are the top four teams in final CFP poll of 2021?
What to know about Michigan vs. Georgia
Two of college football’s best defenses will face off in Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 31. Georgia’s has been lauded as a generational unit all year, but the Wolverines are certainly no slouches. Below are their season-long stats and where they rank nationally following conference championship weekend: