Michigan could fall to Gator Bowl as Nebraska continues to be a thorn
There might not have been a team that hurt Michigan more this season than Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers knocked Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson out of their Oct. 27 game. Robinson hasn't started at quarterback since.
Nebraska won the game, too, and Michigan no longer controlled its destiny in the Legends Division race. The Wolverines hoped for a Cornhuskers loss for four consecutive weeks -- but that loss never came.
Then just when Michigan needed Nebraska to win -- in Saturday's Big Ten title game against Wisconsin -- it lost. Lost big, 70-31.
And that could send the Wolverines' postseason fate tumbling.
Michigan (8-4) likely would have been selected for the Capital One Bowl, the Big Ten's second-best destination, had Nebraska won and went to the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Wolverines now are ineligible for the Capital One because they have two fewer wins than Nebraska (10-3).
The Capital One now must decide between Nebraska and Northwestern (9-3). Whichever of the two loses out will compete with Michigan for the Outback Bowl.
That's where things get tricky.
If Nebraska receives the Capital One bid, Michigan likely would be selected ahead of Northwestern for the Outback. But the Cornhuskers' odds of being selected for the Capital One are damaged by their catastrophic performance against Wisconsin.
They also played in the game last year.
If the Capital One selects Northwestern -- perhaps the likely scenario -- the Outback then would be precluded from taking Michigan because, again, it has two fewer wins than Nebraska.
That means, in a single weekend, Michigan could fall all the way to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Wolverines last played there in 2010, when it was routed 52-14 by Mississippi State. Then-coach Rich Rodriguez was fired the following week.