So how does our mighty Wolverines v. the TarHeels of North Carolina sound in a Dec 29 match-up in the nation's capitol, Washington DC? How did I get there? Read below.
I did a quick scan of the 2009 Big Ten Bowl arrangements. Below is my attempt at discerning where people stand right now, snapshot style according to Big Ten standings in cases of tiebreakers, unless my intuition takes me in another place. Record is in parenthesis, with conference record after.
Rose Bowl (BCS) - Iowa (9-0, 5-0)
Capital One Bowl - Penn St (8-1, 4-1)
Outback Bowl- Ohio St (7-2, 4-1)
Champs Bowl- Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2)
Alamo Bowl - Minnesota (5-4, 3-3)
Insight Bowl- Northwestern (5-4, 2-3)
Pizza Pizza Bowl- Michigan (5-4, 1-4)
I left out Mich St & Purdue even thought they were ahead of us in Big Ten standings since they don't have a winning record and are probably not going to be bowl eligible, unless Mich St pulls out 2 out of the next three against Western, Purdue, and Penn St. If so, then Mich St may bump us out of Pizza Pizza bowl. So where else could we wind up if we go 6-6?
Looking at conferences with eligible bowl team to fulfill that slot:
* Acc's got likely 7 teams, leaving their Eagle Bank Bowl (#8) slot open.
* Big 12 may have as many as 10 teams eligible, leaving teams 9 (Texas A&M) and 10 (Mizzou / Kansas) looking for slots as well
* Big East has 5 with 6 slots available if UConn doesn't make it. That leaves their #6 slot, the St Petersburg Bowl open
* C-USA has 6 teams probably max but more likely 4-5. They have as many as 7 slots with the last two being opt-in slots if a military academy doesn't make it. Let's say Navy makes it but Army doesn't leaving the C-USA #6 slot, The Eagle Bank Bowl open.
* MAC is likely going to have 5 teams eligible. They have 4 slots. They will fill all their slots with probably a Kent St team outside looking in.
* Mtn West has probably 4-5 teams. Assuming TCU gets a BCS bid, that leaves max 4 teams for their auto-tie-ins. MtnW #5, the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, is now open.
* Pac-10 has likely 6 teams looking at bowl bids, Pac 10 has 6 slots and all are filled. An extra Pac10 team in a BCS game means their #6 slot would probably go to an extra WAC team in the Poinsettia Bowl
* SEC likely will have 9 teams, but with Fla & Ala BCS bound, that may open up their #9 slot, PapaJohns.com Bowl
* Sun Belt has probably 2 teams eligible and 1 slot, but the 2nd team isn't likely to get an extra bowl opening.
* WAC has at most 4 teams eligible, but if Boise grabs a BCS bid, then their 3 remaining teams will leave either the Hawaii Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl open.
So where does that leave us? Likely Open Bowl Games:
Roady's Humanitarian Bowl
Eagle Bank Bowl
St Petersburg Bowl
Competing against: #2 Sun Belt, #5 MAC (Kent St), #9 Big 12 (Tex A&M) and #10 Big 12 (Mizzou?)
My guess is that a 6-6 Michigan would get snatched up by either a Hawaii Bowl, Eagle Bank Bowl (in DC) or the St Petersburg Bowl. I think you can probably rule out the Papajohns and Humanitarian Bowls for us. I could definitely see a Mich v North Carolina Eagle Bank Bowl, Mich v. East Carolina Hawaii Bowl, or Mich v. SMU in the St Petersburg Bowl. I would think the DC people would be excited to have two brand name universities going head to head in an area with lots of alums for both sides, and easy travel arrangements.
Christmas time in DC? Any objections?