Michigan's odds to win the Big Ten and possibly sneak in to the College Football Playoff are on life support. Though the Wolverines took care of business and handled Penn State, 28-16, in Happy Valley on Saturday, Ohio State didn't hold up its end of the bargain, losing on a last-second field goal to a Connor Cook-less Michigan State team in Columbus in what must be the worst-coached game of Urban Meyer's career. Now, not only does Michigan need to beat Ohio State next weekend in order to win the Big Ten East, it needs Michigan State to lose to Penn State. That's okay, though, because I'm sure that James Franklin can out-coach Mark Dantonio in East LansHAHAHA. I apologize. I couldn't finish that sentence with a straight face.
So where does this leave Michigan? According to CBS Sports, the same place it's been:
CBS Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Georgia
However, though it's very unlikely that Michigan will win the Big Ten East, that doesn't mean that a New Year's Six bowl is out of the question. If the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes, they'll be 10-2 and ranked in the committee's top 10. This would put them in prime position to be selected for a non-playoff New Year's Six bowl. But which one?
Well, if Michigan State out-duels Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan could be sent to the Rose Bowl. Why? For starters, it's not a guarantee that Michigan State would be in the College Football Playoff if it wins the Big Ten, but it's hard to foresee that the Spartans would miss the cut. If the Spartans are in, though the Rose Bowl generally will pick the highest-rated Big Ten team available, the Rose Bowl would have sole discretion to pick the Spartans' replacement. Which top-10 team would the Rose Bowl rather have: Iowa or Michigan? I would give the edge to the Wolverines. Iowa could have the better record and rank, but Michigan would attract higher TV ratings.
And SB Nation's Jason Kirk and ESPN's Brett McMurphy agree with this assessment:
Update: Rose Bowl Management Committee chairman Scott Jenkins has said that there's a strong presumption that the Rose Bowl will take the highest-rated available Big Ten team unless there was an extraordinary situation, such as the highest-rated available team having been to the Rose Bowl each of the previous three years. However, Jenkins indicated that ESPN could offer its input to the Rose Bowl. My guess: ESPN would want Michigan.
Even if the Rose Bowl didn't pick Michigan, whether it was because it chose Iowa if Michigan State wins the Big Ten or Michigan State if Iowa wins the Big Ten, Michigan still could be selected by the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl as an at-large team. They'd be in the committee's top 10, and it's difficult to imagine both bowls would pass them over.
This is what ESPN's Mark Schlabach thinks will happen:
ESPN's Mark Schlabach: Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame
So, if Michigan beats Ohio State, a New Year's Six bowl looks to be in order.
If Michigan falls to the Buckeyes, count on the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day.
We'll update this with more bowl projections when they're released.