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 1:24 PM ^

Mizzou is a good team, but not as good as Sparty/tOSU/Wisconsin.  It lost to TTech, and squeaked one out against San Diego St.  Nasty defense (6th nationally in scoring), and so-so offense (45th).  Michigan would be in that game.

OKState is similarly solid but no spectacular.  A ferocious offense (ranked 3rd, scored over 40 in losses to Nebraska and Oklahoma), and a mediocre defense (ranked 67th).  Their only win against a ranked opponent was Texas A&M by three (Baylor is no longer ranked). 

I suspect that either of these teams would win no more than 8 with Florida's schedule, and maybe 7 or less; Gerogia and Tennessee would both be tough games for Mizzou/OkState.  

Just considering the teams on paper, I would want OKState, because their defense is the weakest.  At any rate, I do not see how playing UF is that much easier than Mizzou or OKState.  Oklahoma and Nebraska are a different story, probably, but the loser of the Big 12 game championship will likely go to the Cotton Bowl, so it's not a realistic threat. 


Captain Obvious

November 30th, 2010 at 1:25 PM ^

why we won't be chosen first to play in the Outback Bowl.  Reasoning:

  • It's all about money - they don't care who performed best during the season.
  • Competitiveness is overstated - The game doesn't need to be competitive, it needs to be interesting and draw advertising dollars.  Michigan brings both, a lot.
  • We haven't been to a bowl in years - our fans want MOAR BOWLS = $$
  • Gigantic, wealthy and widespread alumni base, willing to travel
  • We have one of the most exciting players and offenses, offense draws viewers and $
  • Storylines - we has them.  Denard, embattled coach, our stupid AD who is waiting to make a decision and essentially turns our bowl game into a "make or break" type scenario even if it's really not, traditional powerhouse vs SSSSSEEECEEE etc etc
  • If it's Alabama it's a 2012 preview, if it's LSU the Miles storyline is too good to pass up
  • PSU has already played Alabama this year and no one would tune in for a rematch
  • Iowa is probably the most boring team in the country to watch next to Wisconsin (sorry guys) and Iowa fizzled dramatically towards the end of the season and sort of gave up, cause for some concern


November 30th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

UM would be double digit dogs to Bama, LSU and SC.  You say the game doesn't need to be competitive but it needs to be interesting...?  I would say an uncompetitive game is not all that interesting.  How would any of those match-ups be more interesting than a game that could realistically be in question, say Iowa v LSU. 

You also overstate the advertising dollars.  A vast majority of bowl ads are packaged in with other bowl games for national advertisers.  A very, very small portion are specifically alloted for a la cart ad buys. 

I guess I don't get the desire to be in that level bowl in the first place.  If you play Alabama, you will get blown out...sorry, I can't see that playing any other way.  South Carolina will run for 300 a la Wisconsin.  LSU has the speed on defense to stop UM enough to make that game a comfortable win.  What is appealing about being in the Hall of Fame bowl again?

Blue in Seattle

November 30th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

As I think about the PR angle of making a statement about Rich Rodriguez I begin to understand that our AD is working this perfectly.

1 - The press is going to talk about something, and what they've chosen is Jim Harbaugh.  No matter what Brandon does, the conversation will be about Jim Harbaugh.  For Example, if he stated definitely that Rodriguez is coach, it would either be ignored, restated as a lie and typical "stay the course" BS, or would be positioned as idiotic without knowing what Jim Harbaugh wants to do.  Bottom line, until the bowl game it's going to be talked about.

2 - Since it's going to be talked about, then let's use it for the storyline of the bowl game, thus getting us to a richer bowl and a bigger payout (which of course the rest of the Big Ten gets a piece of, and which is why the other teams AD's won't mind that Michigan goes and draws in more money).  So a mystery buildup to the BIG EVENT.

3 - If we win the bowl game, then it justifies his decision to "stay the course".  If we lose, then it has delayed the inevitable whining about "why are we staying the course". 

So why would David Brandon make a statment that initiated the worst case scenario now instead of later, especially when there is a chance that it won't be the worst case scenario?

in closing, I agree with those who want the strongest opponent.  If we win, we beat a strong opponent YAY!, if we lose close it's "yay we almost won against a strong opponent", if we lose large, well we lost to a strong opponent, "yay for next year",



December 3rd, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

The reason the story won't go away is because Brandon keeps it alive. He could kill the story with one sentence: "Rich Rodriguez will be our coach in 2011." That's it. But he avoids saying that.
<br>And Harbaugh could just say, "No, I won't be coaching Michigan in 2001." But he ducks the question.
<br>Gee. Wonder why.
<br>They're the ones who won't put it to rest. This is obvious. Jeez.


December 1st, 2010 at 2:17 AM ^

wanting to avoid a possible PSU-Alabama rematch. 

If the SEC team is LSU, well LSU-PSU played out last year in a bowl game.  Not likely much interest in that again this year.

We might wind up in the Outback by default, against someone like Alabama or LSU.  Yikes.  RR really can not get a break.  Maybe he was just not meant to be a Michigan coach. 


November 30th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

There was a Gator Bowl rep tailgating for the Wisconsin game that said they would like to pick between Michigan and Penn State.  He was there to see the fan base in person and to decide if it would travel well...

That said, he was very impressed that 4 guys from North Dakota traveled to Ann Arbor for a game (my first one).


November 30th, 2010 at 1:43 PM ^

Well the season is over and the media has been on its Kill RR Op.  We went into the season looking at 7-5 possibly 8-4 and thats what we came out with 7-5.  8-4 was hoping for some luck, ball bounce one way or another, injuries...etc. Unfortunately that didnt happen we were plagued with injuries.

So we sit here at 7-5, playing in the best conference this year by far, and going to a bowl game gonna face a 10-2 Big 12 team (unless we get Florida).  We have 4 weeks to get people healthy, have the media take there chill medicine...cuz i mean you cant report that RR is gonna get fired everyday for 4 weeks can you? That would mean your doing a pretty shitty job reporting your opinion.  Just another shot for RR to prove himself worthy of another year and to let DROB go out and win a Heisman. 


November 30th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

i think florida would be a HUGE game in the Gator bowl, it's a rewind back to Carr's last game, and this time WE have the insanely fast super ultra deadly quarterback in our backfield.

SHOULD be a good win against a somewhat respectable opponent


November 30th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

Florida is averaging 29.3 ppg on offense which is just 5.0 ppg less than UM. Meanwhile, UF's defense is still pretty good, only giving up 21.1 ppg (and just 302 ypg).

Basically, UF got crushed by a few good teams: 31-6 loss to Bama, 36-14 loss to S Carolina and 31-7 loss to FSU. The other two losses were a 10-7 loss to MSU (their only truly bad loss IME) and a 33-29 loss to LSU.

When they have played teams that don't have good defenses (i.e. like Michigan), they have put up plenty of points: 34, 38, 31, 48, 34, 55 and 48. That's an average of 41 ppg.

Conclusion: They will light UM's defense up like a Christmas tree.


November 30th, 2010 at 2:46 PM ^

ALL of our possible bowl opponents are capable of lighting our defense up. Gerg doesn't have enough plush toys in the box to forestall another ugly defensive meltdown. The only question is whether our offense can put up some big numbers themselves. Which requires DR and VS to not fumble, and Roundtree to at least pretend he's worthy of the #1 jersey.


November 30th, 2010 at 11:56 PM ^

The whole key to the bowl matchup is the quality of the opponent's defense.  I'm not expecting to see much improvement from the defense because of 15 practices so I'm assuming whoever UM plays will be putting quite a few points on the board against UM's defense.  The key is how capable the opponents defense is in slowing down UM's offense.

Although I will say, even though I don't think Okie St has much of a defense I would hate to see that match up because of their passing attack.  Facing a team with a dynamic passing offense might be the worst thing for UM regardless of how good the opponents defense is.


November 30th, 2010 at 7:43 PM ^

I totally agree.  I'm surprised anyone is high on playing Florida, since that defense is pretty good and most of their offensive woes were early in the season as they figured out who should be the QB.  Of course, we said the same thing in Carr's last game and we all know how that turned out.  I think UM can score on them and would obviously benefit from some extra practices, but there really is no bowl matchup that makes me confident of a win. 

Steve in PA

November 30th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

I'd like to see us in the better matchup/weaker opponent bowl even if it is less prestigious.  We absolutely need to get some positive energy back into this program.


With the absolutely horrendous luck that has seemed to plague RR and The Team, I would be surprised at all if we wind up playing 'Bama, OkSt, or Nebraska.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

...compared to Penn State, Iowa, and the others, all of whom were expecting bigger games.  I think overall, we would still be more appealing from a money standpoint.

I vote Gator over the others, IMHO.  Why they would pick anyone else is beyond me.  A 51-50 bowl game is always appealing...


November 30th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Rose Bowl - Wisconsin

BCS At-large - Ohio State

Capital One - Michigan State

Outback - ???

Gator -  ???

With the 5-way jumble of mediocrity this year, there's no way in hell the Outback takes anyone but the sexy Michigan offensive gizmo.  Throw in the endless juicy bits about RR and his job status and that bowl's opportunity to beat that dead horse mercilessly and I am telling you there is no way in hell the Outback Bowl passes that up.    

But if hell does freeze over, the Gator certainly snaps up Michigan and laughs at the stupidity of the Outback Bowl committee. 

Just forget about the Insight Bowl. Not gonna happen. Period.


November 30th, 2010 at 7:50 PM ^

Iowa and Penn State travel very well.  That is why Michigan will more than likely be picked for the Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ and not be playing on New Years Day.  Michigan travels pretty well too, but coming off a 7-5 season and two blowout losses, will not inspire Michigan fans to gobble up all tickets available even if we have not been to a bowl game in three years.  I say:

Most probable:  Insight Bowl     60%

Possible:  Gator Bowl     30%

Probably not:  Ticket City Bowl     10% 

Crime Reporter

November 30th, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

They are terrible this year, but losing to them would hurt way worse than being beaten by a semi-decent team. Plus, their defense is better suited to stopping spread offenses. I'd rather play a Big 12 or ACC team.


November 30th, 2010 at 2:44 PM ^

Looking towards next year (already), the most important thing about making a bowl is the extra 15 practices, the equivlant of an extra spring session.  Morale aside, this was the worst thing about missing a bowl game the past two years.  The players, nearly all of whom are returning, get the oppertunity to further perfect the system and limit mistakes down the road. 

So, Practice (yes practice) is what I'm thankful for this bowl season.


November 30th, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

Living in West FL, I am surrounded by Gator fans.

Michigan Denard-ing the Gators after their disappointing 7-5 and FSU smackdown would send all of my neighbors into an emo-fetalcurl-coma for a year!

budg man

November 30th, 2010 at 10:15 PM ^

Their dream matchup is Michigan vs Florida.  If they don't get Michigan they will take Penn State. 

- Michigan has a huge alumni population in Florida. 

- After a couple of cold weeks in Michigan, the local fan base will find the Jacksonville weather much better than here.

- Denard and our offense will be a big TV draw

See y'all in Jacksonville.  Nice New Years Eve party on the river and a much nicer stadium since we whipped Ole Miss in our last trip to the Gator Bowl.

Go Blue!


December 1st, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

DB is not stupid, if he fires RR now he has to pay 1.5 mil more on his contract than if he fires him in Jan. That being said, there no guarantee that he will fire RR. There are many factors that go into this. Thankfully he emotionally driven (like most of the fans) to make a rash decision like our last AD. He knows what he's doing but he has a tough decision to make whether you believe it or not.


Sorry, this was meant as a reply to CaptainObvious' comment.