ATLANTA — A few final Peach Bowl thoughts as No. 10 Florida prepares to face No. 8 Michigan at noon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from Michigan. The Wolverines are without four starters (defensive lineman Rashan Gary, linebacker Devin Bush, running back Karan Higdon and offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty) who are getting ready for the NFL. Michigan is limping into the matchup from its blowout loss to Ohio State, and the Wolverines had larger goals than the Peach Bowl. In these exhibitions where motivation plays an outsized role, that stuff matters a lot.
While quarterback Feleipe Franks has a chance to show how much he has improved, I'm really interested to see how UF uses Emory Jones. Note how I said how, not if. I expect the blue-chip true freshman to have a role of some sort because he can appear in one more game without burning his redshirt. The Gators used their extra time in the bye week to give Jones a specialty package against Georgia. So what will Dan Mullen have in store for Jones this time, with even more time to prepare and less at stake? It's worth noting, too, that backup quarterback Kyle Trask was still in a walking boot during pregame warmups. Jones, then, remains UF's No. 2 option.
Lakewood High alumnus Dante Fowler boosted his draft stock four seasons ago with a three-sack performance in the Birmingham Bowl. That showing wasn't the only reason why the Jaguars took him No. 3 overall, of course, but it didn't hurt. I bring up Fowler because Jachai Polite is in a similar position. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound junior has one more chance to prove he should be a first-round pick (assuming he chooses to leave school early for the NFL draft).
Michigan is one of 15 teams UF has played but never beaten. Three of the others are also among the winningest teams in college football history: Texas (0-2-1), Notre Dame (0-1) and Nebraska (0-2). But some of the others on the list are interesting … like Villanova, Indiana, Harvard, Davidson and something listed in UF's media guide as Savannah AC.