The 9-3 Michigan Wolverines will be playing in a bowl game in the next month, but where will they be headed?
What we do know is Michigan’s destination is likely one of three options: The Citrus Bowl in Orlando (Jan. 1), the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Jan. 2), or the Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 27).
Maize n Brew caught up with Citrus Bowl representative Matt Repchak, who said their bowl committee has narrowed the Big Ten options down to three choices.
“Our committee is considering Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin (pending the result of the Big Ten Championship Game),” Repchak said. “There’s also still a scenario where we do not host a Big Ten team (based on the selection of the Orange Bowl).”
If a Big Ten team goes to the Orange Bowl, that would mean a Big Ten team would not be playing in the Citrus Bowl. However, if LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, that would likely mean an SEC team (Florida) is headed to the Orange Bowl, leaving a Big Ten team out of that game. If no Big Ten team is in the Orange Bowl, Michigan heading to the Citrus Bowl could hinge on if Wisconsin heads to the Rose Bowl. Penn State was in the Citrus last season which means they aren’t an option for them this season. If the Nittany Lions were selected to the Rose over the Badgers, the Citrus could select Wisconsin over Michigan, potentially.
“Our committee meeting last night featured a lot of positive discussion about all three Big Ten options,” Repchak said. “Michigan would be a strong representative for the Big Ten and our committee has fond memories of their previous trips to Orlando.”
If Michigan was to play in the Citrus Bowl it’s likely they’d play either Auburn or Alabama.
On the other side of the country in San Diego, Holiday Bowl CEO Mark Neville appeared on FOX Sports Radio San Diego on Thursday and said that Michigan is one of two options that could be playing in the bowl. “I will tell you, on the Big Ten side, we know we’re either going to get Michigan or Iowa, it’s gonna be one of those two teams.” Neville said it will be contingent on what happens in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The final option mentioned here, but not the least likely necessarily, is the Gator Bowl. We spoke with Jacksonville.com’s Garry Smits for some local insight. Smits thinks it could wind up being Wisconsin or Michigan in the Gator Bowl.
“The Gator Bowl people would gladly take Michigan or Wisconsin for obvious reasons: Michigan has a national fan base and would draw TV ratings and Wisconsin has a strong Florida fan base and has never played in Jacksonville before,” Smits said. “Plus, the volunteer chairman of the game for this year, Rich Thompson, was an All-Big Ten kicker for Wisconsin in the early 90s.”
What’s Smits prediction between Michigan and Wisconsin being selected? “I would say for a full stadium, the Gator would prefer Wisconsin vs. Tennessee. For better TV ratings, it would be Michigan vs. Tennessee. Michigan didn’t sell many tickets its last trip here,” Smits said.
Where Michigan goes isn’t ultimately up to the bowl game who puts in a bid, it’s up to the Big Ten Conference, who can yay or nay to matchups. Bowl game pecking order in regards to selecting teams plays a factor sometimes, but other times the conference can say they’d rather have a team play in Bowl B rather than Bowl A.
It’s hard to quantify what bowl has the edge, especially when there are other factors involved such as where Penn State and Wisconsin are headed for their bowl games. PSU and Wiscy’s destinations could impact Michigan’s.
We’ll find out soon enough where Michigan is headed, bowl announcements will be made on Sunday afternoon.