Last week, we at Maize n Brew began rounding up the various bowl projections because it's that time of the season when we have a grasp on how teams will perform. After Michigan notched its second straight shutout with a 28-0 road win at Maryland, SB Nation's Jason Kirk took a leap of faith and projected that Michigan would be in the Rose Bowl. Well, after Michigan notched its third straight shutout with a 38-0 shellacking of then-No. 13 Northwestern, Kirk no longer is the only person projecting Michigan to play in the Rose Bowl. CBS Sports and ESPN do, too.
SB Nation: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford
CBS Sports: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford
ESPN: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford
That would be quite the storyline, wouldn't it? Jim Harbaugh turns around Michigan in his first season and guides them to the Rose Bowl only to face the program he raised from the ashes in 2007-10. If you thought the Harbaugh hype was out of control before the year, imagine how it would be the four weeks leading into such a Rose Bowl match-up.
However, Kirk doesn't think the Rose Bowl is Michigan's ceiling. Oh, no. He said this:
The main thing this week: running very low on reasons to expect Ohio State in the College Football Playoff instead of Michigan. The Wolverines have plainly been better so far, and their potential Big Ten East championship meeting is in Ann Arbor.
Still leaning on OSU eventually becoming what a roster this loaded should be, and the Buckeyes did pull away to beat Maryland by 21 points despite following 2014 Florida State's Let A Bad Team Stay Pretty Close For A Long Time recipe to the letter again. But if Ohio State looks mediocre next week against Penn State as Michigan beats Michigan State, it might be time to see what a switch looks like.
That is what Michigan has on the line this week. National title contenders? Win, and it's yes.
We'll update this post as more bowl projections are released.