to play football, not to play trumpet
While a thread below considers what bowl opponent IS likely for UM, what bowl we SHOULD be going to?
Although some uncertainty remains, most people expect NU and NEB to go to the CapOne and Outback Bowls over UM. The reason is that the B1G sends a team to the Capitol One (or Outback) if it has two more wins (or two fewer losses) than its competitor.*
WIth this rule, however, teams with far easier out-of-conference (OOC) games are much more likely to win the higher bowl bids. And this year, unfortunately, UM had a much tougher schedule. It played its toughest OOC games on the road vs. teams with an average Sagarin PREDICTOR rank of #2, both on the road. NEB and NU played vs. opponents with an average rank of about #43, including one home game.**
Partly as a result, UM has by far the highest Sagarin rank (UM #24, NEB #29, NU #38). Indeed, even according to the final BCS rankings, UM clearly would be ranked above NU (and probably NEB). So, it should be going either to the CapOne or Outback bowl, right?
Imagine what would happen If the B1G were unified once again, without the unfair divisions. Then, if it still wanted a title game, perhaps it should be sending the 2 teams with the highest BCS ranks. So, UM would have played NEB for the title. Um would not have to play on the road, like the last game. It would have to play not with its 3rd string QB. It would have Devin Gardner. And it probably would have Denard Robinson In fact, playing vs. a NEB team that just gave up 70 points to Wisc, Robinson would likely set the all-time NCAA QB rushing record in a big UM win.
But then, like now, UM would probably not going to the CapOne or Outback bowl.
In this alternate universe where the B1G has rational rules, UM would be going to the Rose Bowl.
*These are the only rules I could find on the web, as reported by Rittenberg in 2011. So, I am assuming the rules have not changed. http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/39509/reviewing-b1gs-bowl-selec...
**I report the Sagarin PREDICTOR rankings because these are the ones most likely to predict actual game outcomes. Here are Sagarin PREDICTOR rank and rating, average Sagarin rank of the top 2 OOC opponents and B1G record for each team.
UM #24 82.05 TOP 2 OOC OPPONENTS; ROAD ND #1 AND ALA#3 (#1-2 BCS), B1G 6-2
NEB #29 80.04 HOME ARKANSAS STATE #54, ROAD UCLA #19, B1G 7-2
NU #38 78.29 HOME VANDY #35 ROAD SYRACUSE #50, B1G 5-3