In the wake of the Wisconsin-Nebraska Big Ten Championship Game, the writing on the wall looks to be that Michigan will play in the Outback Bowl versus an SEC opponent.
After Sunday's mini-surprise with the Capital One Bowl, Michigan moved up a spot in the pecking order and will face an SEC opponent in the Outback Bowl. According to a release, Michigan will face a "Top 10" SEC foe to be announced later today.
The Wolverines (8-4) likely will face South Carolina on Jan. 1 in Tampa. Brady Hoke's team makes its first trip to the Outback Bowl since 2002, when it beat Florida 38-30.
Northwestern looked like the Capital One Bowl's pick Saturday night after Wisconsin stomped Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. But sources told ESPN.com that Big Ten and SEC leaders lobbied for the title game losers -- Nebraska and Georgia -- for the Capital One Bowl.
The Capital One Bowl couldn't select Michigan ahead of a Nebraska team with two more wins than the Wolverines. The Outback Bowl was able to pick 8-4 Michigan ahead of 9-3 Northwestern, a team the Wolverines defeated Nov. 10 in Ann Arbor.
Want more proof? Here's the tweet from the Outback Bowl's twitter:
The University of Michigan will be playing in 2013 @outbackbowl! For tickets go to http://t.co/0A0JvCtD #FootballinParadise @umichfootball
And here's a screengrab from The Outback Bowl's website:
Looks pretty official to me.
The opponent is currently still to-be-determined, but the consensus appears to be for South Carolina, which was my first choice way back when it was clear we'd be going to this type of bowl game.
Check back here for updates. We'll keep you posted.
UPDATE: It's official. South Carolina will be Michigan's Outback Bowl opponent.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with this selection. Although they are 10-2, South Carolina is a program that is like Michigan in a lot of ways this year.
- Their star player (Marcus Lattimore) has been plagued by injury, not unlike our very own Denard Robinson. They have not been the same since.
- Their fan base is very loyal and travels very well. Filling the stadium even during the 0-11 season is a strong statement of support.
- Like Michigan, they are a very storied program with great tradition and history. And plus they have Steve Spurrier.
South Carolina's best victory this year has been against SEC title runner-up Georgia, and the only two games they have dropped have been against Florida and LSU. They have not played Alabama.
Here's a quick look at their schedule so far (Click image to enlarge):
Biggest thing that jumps out at me are the very close wins against Arkansas, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt, and the bizarre blowout win against Georgia.
Should be a fantastic game and hopefully both teams can be competitive. The last thing we want is a repeat of the 2011 Gator Bowl.