It’s no longer just one or two media outlets.
Every major national media outlet that projects the college football bowl season has Michigan in this year’s College Football Playoff.
The fifth-ranked Wolverines handed No. 14 Penn State its worst loss of the season, 42-7, on Saturday in Ann Arbor and moved up to No. 4 in both national polls this week.
The next set of CFP rankings, tasked to determine the four-team playoff, are due out Tuesday night. But that hasn’t stopped ESPN, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News all from predicting Michigan in the top four come December.
Here’s a rundown:
+ ESPN: Both Kyle Bonagura and Mitch Sherman have the Wolverines playing in a Dec. 29 semi-final round game, though there’s some disagreement over which game and who Michigan will play.
Like last week, Bonagura has Michigan playing Alabama in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Sherman thinks Michigan will play Clemson in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla.
+ CBS Sports: Jerry Palm also has Michigan in the top four, playing the defending national champions Alabama in a 1 vs. 4 matchup in the Cotton Bowl. It would be the first time Michigan has qualified for the four-team playoff since its creation in 2014.
He has Clemson (2) and Notre Dame (3) in the other semi-final round game. Keep in mind, Michigan lost to Notre Dame in its season opener on Sept. 1.
+ SI: Eric Single long had Michigan playing in the Rose Bowl, but has since altered his projections after its dominating win over Penn State. He too has Michigan playing Alabama in Cotton Bowl semifinal.
The two teams have played four times, with Alabama beating the Wolverines in the last meeting, 41-14, in 2012. That game was also played in Arlington, Texas.
+ Sporting News: Bill Bender doesn’t do bowl projections, but his latest “four in” lists Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan.
“The Wolverines made their statement with a 42-7 drubbing of Penn State, which — barring a complete three-game collapse — means Jim Harbaugh won’t finish third or lower in the Big Ten East this year,” Bender writes. “Now, Michigan has a legitimate chance at its first Big Ten championship since 2004.”
Of course, these projections are all contingent on one thing: Michigan winning its remaining three games, including the regular-season finale at Ohio State, and getting into the Big Ten championship game.
The Wolverines have neither beat the Buckeyes nor qualified for the Big Ten title game under Harbaugh. But they’re also riding a wave of momentum right now, winners of eight straight and three in a row over ranked opponents.
They opened the week as 39-point favorites for Saturday’s game at Rutgers (3:30 p.m., BTN).