We are hours away from finding out what bowl the Michigan Wolverines will play in. The festivities will get underway starting at 12 ET on ESPN, when the Bowl Selection Show begins.
The key announcement times are as follows:
- 12:30 ET: College Football Playoff semifinalists announced
- 2 ET: Final College Football Playoff rankings announced
- 3 ET: New Year’s Six matchups, CFP semifinal game times announced
Michigan has a few bowl options in play, but one bowl and one team are being favored more than the rest.
Michigan Bowl Projections
ESPN (Sherman): Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl- vs Florida
CBS Sports (Palm): Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl- vs Florida
USA Today (Smith): Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl- vs Florida
The Action Network (Petrella): Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl- vs Florida
SB Nation (Kirk): Playstation Fiesta Bowl- vs LSU
Five of the seven projections have Michigan playing Florida in the Peach Bowl, and there are a couple context clues as to why.
- Central Florida, who remained undefeated after beating Memphis on Saturday, played in the Peach Bowl last year versus Auburn. Because of this, pundits believe the committee will put Central Florida in the Fiesta, leading to a Florida-Michigan Peach Bowl matchup.
Sources: Peach Bowl cannot/will not lobby to arrange Florida-UCF. In essence, Peach will take what the CFP gives it. Hoss Brock would not be pleased.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) December 1, 2018
Interesting contexts here by Dodd. The Peach Bowl committee is going to stay out of how the College Football Playoff Committee decides the Peach’s matchup. Therefore, these projections assume the matchup the committee wants at the Peach Bowl is Michigan-Florida
But no so fast, maybe.
It isn’t inconceivable to see a UCF-Florida Peach Bowl.
Memo to #PeachBowl: The #Gators would rather play #UCF than Michigan . Come on, Peach, if UCF wins today then give us the Florida-UCF bowl matchup that would juice up the entire State of Florida! Bianchi column: https://t.co/Y4wSZWxPSG pic.twitter.com/muzmpPXS7j— Mike Bianchi (@BianchiWrites) December 1, 2018
There are some good points made by Bianchi here. A matchup as this would be huge for the state of Florida, and both fanbases would travel well. TV ratings would be solid, and there are positives to having UCF and Florida play each other.
It doesn’t help that UCF played in the Peach last season, but that doesn’t definitively knock them out of the conversation. The chances of this happening? Not sure.
If not Florida, then who?
- It’s hard telling. LSU could jump ahead of Florida in the last ranking and Michigan could play the Tigers in the Peach or Fiesta instead of Florida.
- There’s the outside, very much outside chance of Ohio State making the College Football Playoff. If that was to happen, Michigan would be bound for the Rose Bowl and would take on Washington.
- Another scenario could see Michigan taking on UCF in either the Peach or Fiesta.
The Michigan-Florida projections make sense, but when it comes to the CFP Committee, expect the unexpected. Sometimes looking back at bowl projections read a lot like a bad NFL Mock Draft; it looked good at the time, but ends up aging horribly. I’m not saying that will be the case, but don’t book your flight to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl just yet.