Rinky Dink, But Where And Who?

Submitted by Brian on November 30th, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Michigan gets to go to a bowl this year, spawning a beleaguered cheer from the beleaguered, filthy masses.


Bowls are made of… wood. And wood has a winning record against… water… so… A WITCH

But which crappy bowl? And which surprisingly un-crappy opponent shall face them? An exploration follows.

Punch Yourself In A Circle, Please

The Big Ten has a unique situation on its hands with three one-loss teams and then the Great Heap Of Mediocrity: four 7-5 teams with a fifth on the way if Illinois can beat Western Michigan on the road this weekend. (Yes, this game is happening. No, no one knows why.) Bowls can pick any team that's within a game of any other team and everyone in the Heap is 4-4 or 3-5, so literally any bowl eligible team in the league not ticketed for the BCS (OSU, Wisconsin) or Citrus (MSU) could slot into the Outback Bowl, where they will be crushed to little tiny bits by the #3 or #4 SEC team.

Michigan could end up in the…

  • Outback Bowl against the #3/4 SEC team
  • Gator Bowl against the #6 SEC team
  • Insight Bowl against the #4 Big Twelve team
  • Texas Bowl against the #6 Big Twelve team
  • Dallas Bowl against the #8 Big Twelve team

Opponents range in fearsomeness from Alabama/South Carolina to Kansas State/Texas Tech. Everyone's pointless bowl projections have Michigan behind Penn State and Iowa and in front of Northwestern and Illinois, invariably slotting them in the Insight against Missouri (er…) or Nebraska (argh?) or Oklahoma State (guh).

The Big Twelve has four 10-2 teams this year and will apparently not be getting a second BCS bid (thanks, Big East!)—whoever gets locked into the Insight is going up against a team that looks much better than it. The dropoff from the Insight to the Texas Bowl is vast, as whoever's slotted into that draws Baylor. The Gator Bowl is actually a much more manageable matchup: almost everyone has 7-5 Florida as the opponent.

In order of win probability:

  1. Dallas [Kansas State or Texas Tech]
  2. Texas [Baylor]
  3. Gator [Florida]
  4. Outback/Insight [Random 10-2 Big 12 Team, Alabama, or LSU]

In order of likelihood:

  1. Insight
  2. Gator
  3. Outback

This is a bizarre situation that will resolve itself next year when the Big Ten poaches one of those 10-2 Big Twelve teams and suddenly finds itself looking at a lot of favorable bowl matchups for the first time, but right now the Insight is a death trap to be avoided at all costs. Michigan's lost heavily to Iowa and Penn State but it's possible the Gator, which won the coin toss that decides which pick they'll get, surveys the sex appeal of Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan and goes with the team featuring a dreadlocked assassin and a defense even Florida can score on instead of probably better but less lucrative stodgy Big Ten Program with the same record, anyway.

You're Rooting For

A failure in cosmic justice that sees Michigan selected to play in the worst NYD bowl since last year, taking on fellow 7-5 struggler Florida in the Gator Bowl.

You're Staring Down The Barrel Of

A 10-2 Big Twelve team in the Insight.

Distantly Possible

The Outback also surveys the field of candidates and elects to put Michigan opposite LSU or Alabama for storylines (Les Miles vs alma mater/2012 preview) over competitiveness (not so much).

Not Happening

Michigan will not fall behind Northwestern or Illinois in the pecking order.



November 30th, 2010 at 12:51 PM ^

...but would any of the Bowls pick us knowing that Michigan fans generally travel well and have a national appeal (no offense to Northwestern and Illinois).  Bowls tend to be about ratings and money - Michigan brings both.

How would that affect bowl projections/selection or am I just reading into this too much?  Does that mean we will see a better opponent than we actually should get?

oriental andrew

November 30th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

but I think the "it's possible the Gator, which won the coin toss that decides which pick they'll get, surveys the sex appeal of Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan" line pretty much implies national appeal and willingness of fans to travel.  All three of the aforementioned teams are known to travel well.  


November 30th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

but it's my understanding UM only travels well to the big bowl games - ie, BCS bowls and possibly Outback and Citrus.  I don't think UM sold very many tickets to the Alamo Bowl a few years ago.  This year might be different since UM hasn't been to a bowl game for a few years.

Bando Calrissian

November 30th, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

It matters which bowl game we go to.  In '05, Alamo was tough because it was 3 days after Christmas, and flights to San Antonio at that point in time were astronomically expensive.  After a string of Rose Bowl trips, a lot of folks just sat that one out.  In '95, it was the day after Christmas.

This time around, if we play before January 1, with the uncertainty surrounding this program, the proximity to the Christmas holiday, the distance, and the economy, I would not be surprised if we failed to sell our allotment.  We very well could, but I can see a scenario where we simply don't travel well to this bowl game.  If it's in Florida, that'll help the cause.  Texas or Arizona, not so much.

witless chum

December 2nd, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

Western is actually sitting home at (6-6) hoping for some 5-6 Sun Belt and Conference USA teams lose and improve the Broncos bowl chances. There's not a Kalamazoo-based bowl game (The Bells Bowl?) so they're probably at a pretty big disadvantage to more nearby teams for selection.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

I'm also pulling for the Insight Bowl, for selfish reasons:  I live in Tempe (so only a 10 minute drive), and my dad is buddies with a bunch of guys on the Insight/Fiesta Bowl committee (which should land me some good seats).

Go Blue!


November 30th, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

The old guy on the carcass-cart at the beginning of MP & the HG personifies where this season is to me right now. I'm all for winning the bowl game, but at this point, I'm sure I'll be more interested in anything that exits Dave Brandon's piehole immediately thereafter. These speculation-plagued dead weeks cannot pass soon enough. 


November 30th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

Those wanting Harbaugh to come in should pray that Michigan plays against Okie State or Alabama, so they can get clobbered and all the blame can be placed squarely on RR's shoulders.


Those who like RR should pray and pray for Florida, or Kansas State.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

This would be a good opposite because it would really determine if RR deserves to come back or not. If their defense is either meh or bad that way some on this board is saying it is, then we should have no problem scoring on them. Especially with 2 weeks to prepare. If we fail to score, then clearly our offense isn't as high-powered as we claim it to be and would definitely be evaluated by DB.

Two weeks gives us an opportunity to get ready for some gunslinging by one of the top offenses in the country. A week again, this team was being predicted to win the Big 12. If they bomb on us, then RR should definitely go.

Honestly, I think playing Florida is a double-edge sword. If we win, then great - we beat a crappy Florida team with a Nick Sheridan at QB. If we lose to Florida, then RR definitely needs to be fired coz there's no excuse. Especially since one of their DCs just bolted.


December 1st, 2010 at 2:29 AM ^

I still get mileage out of that.

Here I am a fan of a team on life support the last three or four years, debating against UF fans who have conversely won 2 National Championships the last three or four years, and I am able to shut them up with a simple ". . . but we own your ass".

Works for the rest of the SEC too, given our stellar record aganist the SEC.


November 30th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

Those wanting Harbaugh to come in should pray that Michigan plays against Okie State or Alabama, so they can get clobbered and all the blame can be placed squarely on RR's shoulders.

The idea that any Michigan fan would pray for the team to be clobbered is so unbelievably backward I don't know where to begin.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

With Iowa's end of season collapse relative to expectations (while we also collapsed, it was more or less expected), and our fanbase not having been to a bowl game since Henne vs. Tebow, I'm going to assume it's Outback = PSU, Gator = Michigan.  My buddy in Iowa says the fans around there couldn't care less about their bowl game this year (despite their reputation for traveling).

Yinka Double Dare

November 30th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

Indeed, and I think that's why we supposedly didn't travel that well to the Alamo Bowl in 2005.  Teams that have high expectations for the year and then turn out to have a pretty mediocre year I would think tend to kill the interest of their fans in going to a bowl game to watch their disappointing team.  I could see a bowl taking us over Iowa for that reason.  Plus, "Michigan vs. Florida" sure looks nice on the TV schedule, even if both of the teams really weren't all that good this year.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

Part of me wants to get matched up with a far superior opponent knowing that RR has a good record in bowl games, but then again, I thought we would win one of our last 2 games.

Communist Football

November 30th, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

Purely from a sporting and fun-to-watch perspective, I'd love to play Florida in the Gator. But knowing that the fanbase will have ANGAR if we lose the bowl game, even if it's to a clearly superior team like Alabama/Carolina, I want Mich to get the easiest matchup possible.  Ugh.


December 1st, 2010 at 2:39 AM ^

as the last and best chance to make a statement.

RR has been pounded for failing to uphold Michigan traditions.  Well, here is one tradition he can claim for himself that is definitely not a Michigan tradition:  showing up big in a New Years Day bowl game and beating a top opponent. 

Might save his job and remind us all of why we were so excited when he was hired.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

If cosmic justice is the enemy of bad tv, then cosmic justice demands that Iowa make the Insight bowl. Iowa can keep it close against anyone, including those 10-2 Big 12 teams. The other 4 7-5 teams would get pummeled, except for maybe Illinois who is too low in the pecking order.

Laser Wolf

November 30th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

Give me Oklahoma State. Two of the top five offenses in the country; one horrific defense, one that's somewhere between meh and bad. And given over a month to plan, I think RR can devise a crazy firestorm.

Basically I want to be excited at the prospect of our bowl matchup, and Baylor just isn't doing it for me.