Kickoff: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (grass)
Spread: South Carolina by 6
Watchability: This game features programs that had national championship aspirations before the season. Five of their six combined losses came to some of the top teams in the nation -- Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Alabama. Even with star RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) out for South Carolina, this is an entertaining matchup.
Shining stars: South Carolina -- DE Jadeveon Clowney. He's one of the most talented players at any position in the nation. The sophomore finished sixth in the Heisman balloting and is considered a virtual lock to be one of the first players taken in the 2014 NFL Draft. He set the school's single-season record with 13 sacks this season. Michigan -- LB Jake Ryan. The redshirt sophomore has been a breakout star. He's stuffed the stat sheet with 84 total tackles to go with four sacks, 14.5 TFLs, four forced fumbles and three pass deflections.
Who could steal the show: South Carolina -- WR/PR Ace Sanders. The undersized (5-8) speedster has 36 receptions for 439 yards and seven touchdowns. He's a bigger threat on punt returns though. He averaged just shy of 14 yards per return and had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown against Georgia. Michigan -- QB/RB Denard Robinson. The former Heisman hopeful didn't have the season that some projected, but he remains one of the fastest players in the nation. He was slowed by an elbow injury late in the season, so he hasn't been throwing much recently. Devin Gardner is expected to start at QB, but Robinson will be a threat running and throwing whether he's lining up at RB or QB.
Magic number for South Carolina: 7. That's how many times Steve Spurrier has led South Carolina to a bowl game. No other coach in program history has led the Gamecocks to more than three bowl appearances.
Magic number for Michigan: 1. The Wolverines finished first in the Big Ten in sacks allowed (1.25 per game). If they can hold Clowney and the Gamecocks to two or fewer sacks, that would be a big win.
3 keys to a South Carolina win
- Quarterback play: Connor Shaw will get the start for the Gamecocks, but backup Dylan Thompson could get a few possessions as well. Shaw has battled injuries and has been inconsistent. They'll need one of his better games to get the win.
- Contain Michigan quarterbacks: Whether it's Gardner or Robinson taking the direct snap, both can hurt South Carolina running the ball. Keeping contain will be crucial for the defense.
- Turnover battle: Turnovers have plagued the Wolverines. They finished the regular season 100th nationally in turnover margin (-.67). Winning that margin by two or more would be a big boost to the Gamecocks' chances.
3 keys to a Michigan win
- Continue strong pass defense: Michigan had one of the best passing defenses in the nation, allowing opponents just over 155 passing yards per game. Without Lattimore, South Carolina has been forced to pass more often.
- Overcome recent bowl history: The Wolverines have lost six of their last nine bowl games, including an embarrassing 52-14 loss to Mississippi State last time they played an SEC team (2011).
- Move the pocket: The Wolverines can't simply drop back and expect to protect their quarterbacks from South Carolina's fierce pass rush. They must move the pocket, get rid of the ball quickly and use draws and screens to keep the South Carolina defensive line honest.
Prediction: South Carolina 34, Michigan 31
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.