Things were so straight forward just a week ago.
A win over Ohio State and Michigan was not only in the Big Ten title game but in the driver’s seat to make the College Football Playoff.
Now, the Wolverines could end up at one of several bowl destinations. And it’s all going to depend on what happens with the Buckeyes.
The latest round of bowl projections has Michigan landing in one of three New Year’s Six bowl games, all set for various locations across the United States.
+ We’ll start with ESPN, where its two college football writers both have Michigan playing in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 1. Kyle Bonagura projects the Wolverines to play Washington State, while Mitch Sherman has them playing LSU.
The Fiesta Bowl this year pits two at-large teams against one another, making it one of two possible New Year’s Six bowls that could seek the Wolverines out.
+ However, should Ohio State win the Big Ten championship and sneak into the College Football Playoff, the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl has the contract to select the next-best Big Ten team available. That would likely go to Michigan, which is why CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has Michigan heading to Pasadena, Calif., to play Washington.
It would Michigan’s first trip to the Rose Bowl since 2007.
+ Bill Bender of The Sporting News also has Michigan in the Rose Bowl against Washington, which is set to play Utah for the Pac-12 championship on Saturday. Both outlets, CBS Sports and Sporting News, are projecting a Washington victory in that game.
+ Meanwhile, Eric Single of Sports Illustrated has Michigan going to a different New Year’s Six game – the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 29. The Peach Bowl is the other at-large NY6 bowl game this year, setting up the possibility for Michigan to head there, too. Single projects the Wolverines to play Florida.
Much of this will depend on what happens with the Buckeyes. Should they win the Big Ten title game and get left out of the four-team playoff, then the Rose Bowl would be their destination. That would leave the two at-large games to make a bid for Michigan.
Should Northwestern pull off an upset, the Wildcats would get the nod to Pasadena and bump Ohio State down to one of the two at-large games alongside Michigan. We’ll know more on Sunday when bowl invites go out.