With their pleasantly unexpected 6-0 start this season, the Michigan Wolverines have wasted no time becoming bowl eligible. Their undefeated record and top 10 ranking nationally has them projected almost exclusively in New Year Six bowl games, including one Big Ten fans would love to see.
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) vs. Oregon, Jan.1
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) vs. Arizona State, Jan. 1
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) vs. Oregon, Jan. 1
The Wolverines projected frequently in the Rose Bowl, which they haven’t played in since 2007. The Rose Bowl will get the first pick of Big Ten teams that didn’t make the playoff. In these scenarios, Michigan would be fighting two of Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State, assuming the third has won the conference and is in the playoff.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN and Brett McMurphy of Action Network both have Michigan playing Oregon, who is sitting in the AP Poll at No. 9.
Kyle Bonagura of ESPN also has Michigan playing in the Rose Bowl, but against Arizona State instead. Sitting at 5-1 on the season, the Sun Devils are ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll.
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) vs. Notre Dame, Jan. 1
The Fiesta Bowl is also a popular destination for the Wolverines, since it features two at-large bids with no conference affiliation. If Michigan beats, for example, Michigan State but loses to Ohio State and Penn State, this fit would make the most sense.
While not on the schedule in the regular season until 2033, Michigan has been picked to square off against old rival Notre Dame by both Jerry Palm of CBS and Brad Crawford of 247Sports in a matchup that would certainly boost ratings. Notre Dame is 5-1 on the season and ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll.
Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 1
Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) vs. Arkansas, Jan. 1
These two outlets are both slightly down on the Wolverines, projecting them to the Citrus Bowl, which is the top bowl not in the New Year’s Six with a Big Ten affiliation. If a Big Ten team doesn’t make the playoff or Michigan slips up against their rivals, then they could end up in Orlando once again.
The Citrus Bowl also has a tie-in with the SEC, which is why College Football News selected Ole Miss and Bleacher Report chose Arkansas.
Interestingly, Michigan has played both teams just once, but won each game. Michigan beat Ole Miss in the 1990 Gator Bowl, while they actually beat Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl following the 1998 season.