Michigan Football: Jim Harbaugh Gives Wolverines Edge in Orange Bowl

One advantage Michigan football has going into the Orange Bowl is head coach Jim Harbaugh.

For the most part, the matchup between Michigan football and Florida State appears pretty even. Certainly, each team has its strengths and weaknesses, but overall, it should be a competitive game.

In terms of metrics and things of that nature, Michigan football has the edge, but not my much. The Wolverines are ranked second in the S&P Ratings produced by Football Outsiders, while the Seminoles are ninth.

Both teams are loaded with NFL talent and each has big-name coaches and players. The Wolverines boast Jabrill Peppers, the Seminoles Dalvin Cook. Those are just two of the many playing Friday in Miami that will eventually play in the NFL.

Yet, one thing that gives Michigan football an advantage is Jim Harbaugh. That’s not to say he’s necessarily a better coach than Jimbo Fisher, who has a 4-2 record in bowl games and a national title on his resume.

Fisher is great. But Harbaugh is a different animal and he is the guy I want on my sideline for a bowl game or any big game.

Yet, the edge Harbaugh gives the Wolverines, especially against FSU, has nothing to do with X’s and O’s. It’s all about motivation.

Florida State must be excited to play in the game after a 9-3 season, but it’s unlikely the Seminoles feel they have as much to prove as Michigan.

FSU has won conference titles and a national title recently. Michigan won the Sugar Bowl in 2011. Beyond that, major achievements are non-existent.

Bowl games are always about motivation. And in terms of that, Michigan and Florida State shouldn’t be close. And with Harbaugh’s Christmas camp, which is insanely competitive, the Wolverines will be sharp Friday night.

The master motivator will probably have some other tricks up his sleeve too. He knows how important this game and how much Michigan needs to shine now that it’s back on the national stage.

It’s hard to figure the exact impact Harbaugh has on Michigan. But his preparation is meticulous, his intensity is infectious and his ability to push his team to new heights is proven.

It won’t be easy, but I believe Harbuagh will have Michigan football prepared to play their absolute best Friday night.

And for that reason and that reason alone, Michigan has an edge over the Seminoles and because of it, a good chance of winning its first Orange Bowl since 2000.

This article originally appeared on