ORLANDO, Fla. — Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban paused, then looked at each other. Slowly, each cracked a smile.

Michigan's defense is familiar with Alabama's offense.

Both Gattis and co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley left Alabama in the offseason, leaving the offense in the hands of former Atlanta Falcons’ offense coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who has brought some NFL influences with him. The personnel is different too, even if quarterback Mac Jones doesn’t have the same dynamic playmaking ability that Gattis became familiar with under the injured Tua Tagovailoa.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Joe Milton stood on a deck at the Fun Spot America amusement park. It was 75 degrees and the Florida humidity was in full force. For Milton, a native of Pahokee, Fla., it was kind of like a homecoming.

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said that Michigan's defense will be a challenge to face.

The Wolverines are now a month removed from that afternoon. In the lead up to Wednesday’s Citrus Bowl against Alabama, their trademark confidence is back, with a proclaimed certainty that the Ohio State game is behind them.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Josh Gattis can laugh about it now.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson faced Alabama with Ole Miss two seasons ago.

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s funny, now, to consider the last time Shea Patterson played Alabama.


ORLANDO, Fla. — To hear Don Brown talk about Alabama’s offense is to hear a laundry list of accolades and praise.


The Michigan Daily is, mostly, on vacation. The Michigan football team, unfortunately for us, is not.

Given that reality, this was the solution we came up with. It’s something between a column and a notebook, touching on everything from the Citrus Bowl to National Signing Day to a few random things in between.

And, because it’s fairly long, I’ll just get to it.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson will play in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 against Alabama.

Ultimately, this comes down to the opponent. It’s Alabama, and even when the Crimson Tide didn’t make the College Football Playoff for the first time ever, that means a normally meaningless bowl game holds an added level of importance.


The bowl game has become an annual metaphorical zombie for the Michigan football team. The team traverses to some warm, southern city, still wallowing from the letdown weeks prior, patently unmotivated to face off against an SEC opponent.