The Michigan Wolverines football team has a bowl to play in next month, and we will find out where the destination is on Sunday afternoon. Lots of speculation is going on ahead of time as fans and journalists have intrigue in regards to where the Wolverines will be playing.
A report came out a couple days ago in TheScore.com’s Brett McMurphy’s bowl projections where he called Michigan “pretty much a lock” to play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida against South Carolina.
While McMurphy is going by what his sources are telling him, others in the know have differing views on where Michigan will land, and they’re going by a guideline the Big Ten tries to follow.
CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has Michigan playing in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego against Stanford. Palm told me this is his reasoning:
“My prediction is simply a prediction, based on the Big Ten's desire to keep teams from the same bowl/region repeatedly. In this case, this would be Michigan's third straight year in Florida - something the league told me at one time they would try to avoid.”
The Wolverines have played in Florida two years in a row, first in the Citrus Bowl and last year in the Orange Bowl. Palm is correct in his assessment, as it says in the Big Ten Bowl procedure guidelines “restrictions are in place on multiple and/or consecutive appearances within states or regions”.
If you take McMurphy’s “near lock” report out of the equation, Michigan landing in the Holiday Bowl is what makes sense. The Big Ten may be reluctant to put the Wolverines in the same state three years in a row, it goes against the guidelines they set.
A Holiday Bowl for the Wolverines would allow alumni and fans in another region to see their team in action. For the Big Ten brand it would be a solid showcase of the conference on the west coast. For Michigan, they may prefer the Holiday Bowl because of all the great recruits in Southern California. Recruits pay attention to bowl games in their neck of the woods.
An added bonus for the Big Ten wanting Michigan in the Holiday Bowl? The likely opponent would be Stanford. TV ratings and ticket sales would be high with Jim Harbaugh facing off against the team he led to an Orange Bowl victory with Andrew Luck.
We’ll find out Sunday. Don’t book any flights just yet.