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Posted on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 5:52 p.m.

Michigan football could benefit from muddy Big Ten bowl picture

By Dave Birkett

Bowl executives with ties to the mediocre Big Ten could have their hands full in the coming weeks sorting through a host of six-win teams.

If form holds and favorites win, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern all will be looking at 6-6 seasons and vying for spots in the Alamo, Insight and Little Caesar’s Pizza bowls.


Alan Warren | The Ann Arbor News

Michigan (5-4, 1-4) needs a win Saturday against Purdue to become bowl eligible after missing the postseason last year for the first time since 1974.

Minnesota is another good bet for six wins if it loses this week to Illinois, while Purdue, Indiana and Illinois are longshots for the postseason.

The Boilermakers (3-6, 2-3) must win out to qualify for a bowl.

“This is an odd year,” said Champs Sports Bowl executive director Steve Hogan. “There’s not going to really be a lot of clear-cut reasons why any particular team is more deserving than another. My general sense is, when you have a wide swath of .500 teams then there’s really nobody that rises to the top of that mix to say, ‘We’ve earned it, here’s why.’”

Hogan’s game has fourth pick among Big Ten teams this year - behind the Rose, Capital One and Outback bowls - or fifth if the BCS takes two Big Ten teams, a distinct possibility if Iowa and Penn State both finish with one loss.

In that scenario, the Champs Sports Bowl could end up with a 6-6 Big Ten team. Typically, the game would get an 8- or 9-win team with the fourth selection.

So what factors figure most heavily into bowl selection when it comes to choosing between like teams? Every bowl director has a different answer.

Little Caesar’s Bowl CEO George Perles said his first choice in the case of multiple 6-win teams is Michigan State, the team he used to coach.

“Michigan would be great, too,” Perles said. “We hope we would (have one of those two). It’d be a logical thing. We’d fill up the place. We’d probably have to have some cooperation from some other teams.”

That’s because Michigan would be first in the pecking order among most second-tier bowls who don’t normally have the opportunity to land one of college football’s most illustrious programs.

The Wolverines have never played in the Champs Sports or Insight bowls, and last played in the Alamo Bowl, which picks after Champs Sports, in 2005. The Insight Bowl picks sixth, followed by Perles’ game.

Alamo Bowl CEO Derrick Fox said Michigan was well received in its last trip to San Antonio, both by alumni and the local fan base.

“It’ll be interesting to see, missing a year last year, what kind of response they’ll get from the fan base,” Fox said. “Obviously, it’s highly likely they’re going to get to at least No. 6 and then we have to see how many wins they get to after that to see where they go.”

Hogan, who doubles as Capital One Bowl executive director - the last bowl Michigan played in two years ago - said he values fielding competitive, on-the-rise teams over ones who’ll sell the most tickets.

Other factors include head-to-head results - Michigan lost to Michigan State, but doesn’t play Minnesota or Northwestern - recent appearances (MSU has played in Orlando the last two years, first in the Champs Sports game and last year in the Capital One Bowl) and, especially in the current economy, local alumni populations.

Michigan scores high marks in every area.

“Michigan absolutely is one of those in the group that usually is a can’t miss as it relates to a selection from the standpoint of what product there is, not only the team that’s coming but what they do to the base of the other team they’re,” Hogan said. “Michigan is one of the premier coast to coast brands, so they certainly move the needle.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 1:56 p.m.

Tater, unless Forcier has shown that he can take a hit and still play, he wouldn't stand a chance against MSU. In spite of their record, MSU has got some hard hitters on defense..just ask the kids from Iowa and Penn State. Forcier is lucky he survived MSU.


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 1:36 p.m.

All I want is a win... Yet that light I see at the end of the tunnel is the front of an oncoming train.


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 1:12 p.m.

Theo, were you in 100% support of Lloyd? if not that means you aren't a real michigan fan, by your on logic. People can support a program without butt-kissing the coach. The coach isn't the program, it's the student athletes that put on the prestigious uniform and end their careers with a michigan degree that make the program. Which leads me to a BIG CONGRATS to the 2 wolverine players to make academic all big ten team.....


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 12:15 p.m.

Michigans Starting Defense High School Grades from Rivals.coms Brandon Graham 5 stars Craig Roh 4 stars Mike Martin 4stars Ryan VanBergan 4 stars Donavon Warren 5 stars Troy Wolfolf 3 stars Obi Ezeh 3stars Mike Williams 4 Stars Stevie Brown 4 stars Jonas Muton 4 Stars Not sure why everyones buying the lack of talent excuse? The depth is young, but not untalented. I could list several more Freshman Sophomore 4 stars recruits as well that are still on the roster. I dont believe its a schematic issue either. Richrod is obviously an xs and os guy! Its poor Leadership; from the top down.


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 11:44 a.m.

oldmanblue, I will take an increase of 3 each year 3-9, 6-6, 9-3, 12-0 (National Championship)Go Blue

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 1:58 a.m.

Well, at least we get a break with the weather on Saturday. Windy. Plays havoc on quarterbacks more than snow, rain or cold put together.


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 1:02 a.m.

More like maybe we should get 3 more wins.


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 11:09 p.m.

wolverine73, not quite sure what you are talking about. Did you see Purdue's stellar effort at Wisconsin last week? If Michigan wins Saturday that will be our 6th win. Even if we lose to Wisconsin and Ohio State, we would still be invited to a bowl game despite having a horrific defense. Define miracle turnaround? If we win Saturday that is 6 wins and 6 wins is a heck of alot better than 3. With 89 of 120 players freshman or sophomores, we can count on even more wins next year.


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 11:06 p.m.

We drove 11 hours to AA to watch the awful team RR dressed in maize and blue to play Penn St. I am simply "tired" of hearing RR's comments and excuses. He sounds like a politician complaining about being elected and then complaining about all the problems he is having. A clueless bunch of coaches permeates the entire team. As a long time (50+yrs.)Big Blue supporter I have no interest in watching Michigan Football the remainder of this year. A trip to a bowl game is a laugh. Who wants to witness a traditonal powerhouse such as Big Blue be humbled into playing a bottom dweller bowl against another bottom dweller. Fans will start staying away in droves. This is not a Michigan Team dressed in maize & blue. Fans are not commenting...that alone is a sign of indifference


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 10:32 p.m.

All of these comments concerning Michigan are just so much hot air. 5-7 teams aren't asked to bowls. Our defense, excepting Brandon Graham, is horrible - especially the secondary. Purdue can pass which pretty much dooms us. And does anyone seriously think we will beat Wisconsin in Madison or Ohio State anywhere? Has anyone forgotten just last week losing to a 1-6 Illinois team which has been terrible the entire year? Michigan has imploded and unless we aren't being told about an injury to Tate, there is no excuse for the regression the team has shown, none. There will be no miracle turnaround season like we all hoped for. The defense was better last year - look at the numbers. We don't have a prayer of winning anymore this year. We need to get some speed studs on defense and Tate needs to hit the weight room big time. We can only hope for better next year. Go Blue!!


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 9:57 p.m.

Maybe we should get one more win before we start trying to figure out what bowl we play in. It is certainly not a given.