ORLANDO, Fla. – The 17th-ranked University of Michigan football team will play in a January bowl game for the 39th time in school history, accepting a bid to participate in the VRBO Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day against No. 9 Alabama. This will be the Wolverines’ fifth appearance in the Citrus Bowl, and the team’s first appearance since Coach Harbaugh’s first season at Michigan (2015).
The game pitting the Wolverines (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) and Crimson Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC) will kick-off at 1 p.m. ET from Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The New Year’s Day bowl match-up will be televised nationally by ABC.
This will be the fourth meeting between Michigan and Alabama during the bowl season, with the Wolverines holding a 2-1 advantage. Michigan claimed victories in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl (28-24) and 2000 Orange Bowl (35-34, 1 OT) while Alabama won a 17-14 affair in the 1997 Outback Bowl. The only regular season match-up between the two programs came in the 2012 season opener at Cowboys Stadium, a 41-14 victory for Alabama in the Cowboys Classic.
U-M heads into the Citrus Bowl looking to capture 10 wins for the fourth time in five seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh, something that has not been achieved at Michigan since 1980. After dropping the conference opener to No. 13 Wisconsin, the Wolverines won six of their final eight conference games to finish third in the Big Ten East Division. The offense is led by quarterback Shea Patterson, the Big Ten’s leader in passing and total offense during the conference season. Michigan’s defense ranks among the top 30 in 11 defensive categories, including fifth in pass defense and eighth in total defense. The Wolverines had three first-team All-Big Ten Conference honorees – offensive linemen Jon Runyan and Ben Bredeson and defensive back Lavert Hill – and 15 total players earn first, second or third team accolades. The Wolverines’ have been ranked in the top 20 of the national polls all season and finished 14th in the College Football Playoff rankings.
The Alabama Crimson Tide finished second in the SEC West Division after posting a 6-2 conference mark. Led by head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide are averaging 48.2 points per contest while yielding 18.8 per game to the opposition. The potent offensive attack is led by running back Najee Harris (1,088 yards, 11 TDs) and a group of five receivers with six or more receiving touchdowns, which includes leaders Jerry Jeudy (959 yards, 9 TDs), DeVonta Smith (1200 yards, 13 TDs) and Henry Ruggs (719 yards, 7 TDs). The Tide defense is led by defensive back Xavier McKinney (85 tackles) and linebackers Shane Lee (77 tackles) and Anfernee Jennings (73 tackles, 12 TFLs, 7.5 sacks). Alabama’s only setbacks came against No. 2 LSU and No. 16 Auburn this season. The Crimson Tide finished No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Following is some background on Michigan’s bowl game history:
- U-M will be making its 48th all-time bowl appearance, which is the 11th highest total all-time among FBS schools.
- Michigan will be making its 39th all-time bowl appearances in the month of January.
- Michigan has played in 12 different bowl games during its history, winning 21 bowl games, which is the 17th highest total among FBS schools.
- This will be the fifth meeting between the Wolverines and Crimson Tide on the gridiron, with the series tied at two wins apiece; Michigan holds a 2-1 advantage in bowl games.
- This will be the 36th meeting all-time with a Southeastern Conference school; the Wolverines have compiled an impressive 25-10-1 record against teams that currently compete in the SEC.
- This will be the 16th time that Michigan faces a Southeastern Conference school in a bowl game; 8-7 mark all-time against the SEC in bowls.
- The most recent bowl match-up came in the 2018 Peach Bowl (41-15 loss to Florida).
- U-M has faced off against a SEC opponent during bowl season on 15 previous occasions with all but the 1984 Sugar Bowl and 2018 Peach Bowl games being played in the state of Florida: Citrus (3-1), Gator (1-2), Hall of Fame/Outback (2-3) and Orange (1-1).
Tickets for the 2020 Citrus Bowl will be available to the public on Monday, Dec. 9, at 8:30 a.m. Fans interested in purchasing tickets through the athletic department can go to mgoblue.com/tickets for bowl game ticket information. Tickets for the Citrus Bowl range from $90 to $137 per ticket.
For assistance with your online ticket order, please contact the University of Michigan Athletics Ticket Office at (734) 764-0247 or email email@example.com.
Alumni Association Bowl Game Tour
The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan is once again hosting the only official University of Michigan Citrus Bowl Tour. There are several tour packages available. Information and registration for all packages is available at umalumni.com/bowltour. Please call 877-513-2320 with questions or to make a reservation over the phone.
The Alumni Association will also host the Alumni Territory Citrus Bowl Tailgate. To purchase tickets, go to umalumni.com/tailgate.
Vrbo Citrus Bowl Facts
Date: Jan. 1, 2020
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Site: Orlando, Fla.
Facility: Camping World Stadium