Michigan now heads into a bye week after its second-straight impressive victory amidst a turnaround from some early season woes. Sitting at 7-2 and out of the Big Ten title hunt has been a hard pill to swallow, but there are still a handful of scenarios where the Wolverines can not only end on a high note, but also grab a decent bowl matchup that allows them to end 2019 and head into 2020 with some momentum.
The good news for those looking to travel is that many of the just-updated bowl projections have the Wolverines heading to a warm-weather destination, which is nice considering the Pinstripe Bowl in New York was something that was discussed as recent as a few weeks ago.
Here’s the latest sampling of postseason destinations.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach: Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 27) vs. Washington
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 27) vs. USC
Bleacher Report: Outback Bowl in Tampa (Jan. 1) vs. Texas A&M
CBS Sports: Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Jan. 2) vs. Missouri
247Sports: Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Jan. 2) vs. Missouri
Sporting News: Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 27) vs. USC
Banner Society’s Jason Kirk: Citrus Bowl in Orlando (Jan. 1) vs. Auburn
Saturday Down South: Citrus Bowl in Orlando (Jan. 1) vs. Auburn
Of all of these, the one that still intrigues perhaps the most is the prospect of a showdown with Washington, who the Wolverines open the 2020 season against on the road. Auburn and the Citrus Bowl are new additions this week and might be the “sexiest” matchup of the bunch, but there’s still intrigue all over the board here. It seems likely that they will be sent to one of these spots, but things could get crazy if they win out and find a way to beat Ohio State. Then, we might be talking New Year’s Six, but that’s still a major “if.”
FPI chances updated for last three games
The Wolverines have only three football games left this season after the bye week ends and ESPN’s FPI has updated Michigan’s chances of winning each of its remaining matchups.
Here’s a look at where things stand for the games the rest of the year:
Nov. 16 vs. Michigan State: 81.4 percent
Nov. 23 at Indiana: 75 percent
Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State: 19.2 percent
Weeks ago, Michigan was only 54 percent likely to beat MSU, but that was amid some bad football being played by the Wolverines and the wheels have nearly fallen off the Spartans since then. Their season, and the Mark Dantonio era, is on the brink of a collapse and FPI likes the Wolverines’ chances of driving the nail in the coffin there. It also likes their chances of going to Indiana and getting a win, but we all know to throw out metrics and predictions for that game. It always gets weird in Bloomington.
The odds of beating the Buckeyes have by and large remained the same throughout the year. Michigan had similar odds of going into Penn State and winning and darn near pulled it off, though. So who knows what could be in store for The Game.
Other Brews: Coaching Carousel Edition
- Florida State fired head coach and honorary Harbaugh Willie Taggart over the weekend and is eating $17 million to buy him out of his contract. Taggart has ties to both Jack and Jim Harbaugh and it would be interesting to see if he spends any time in Ann Arbor in the near future, even if just for a cup of coffee.
- Speaking of Florida State, here’s a list of candidates to replace Taggart. You’ll notice some familiar ones with Big Ten ties, but perhaps not the White Whale candidate that will be linked to every high profile job this offseason.
- On the subject of high-profile jobs, it looks like USC head coach Clay Helton could be beyond saving in terms of his future, as well.
- Rutgers is also heating up its head coaching search with Butch Jones reportedly interviewing for the job recently and talks with Greg Schiano set to warm up this week. Buckle up!