At 10-2, the Michigan Wolverines have enjoyed a solid season under first year coach Brady Hoke. Sure, they pulled Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State at home while avoiding Wisconsin and Penn State altogether, but when viewed against the run of the previous regime, 2011 has even the most pessimistic of Michigan men rattling keys like it's the mid-80s.
With a 40-34 victory over Ohio State last weekend that ended seven years of pain and earned the school it's 10th win in a season since their 11-0 start in 2006, Wolverine fans were thinking about something that was unimaginable recently: a berth in a BCS bowl.
And then a funny thing happened.
In a troll-swap for dropping the Buckeyes to 6-6 on the year, Ohio State's loss in the game actually dropped Michigan in the BCS rankings. They entered the game ranked 15th in the BCS -- just on the cusp of being BCS bowl eligible as a top-14 finisher -- yet showed up 16th in the standings when they were released Sunday night. Two places out of contention.
Now, before we start dancing a jig, we're heading into conference championship weekend, which means a few of the teams ranked ahead of Michigan in the BCS will play each other, creating more than ample opportunity for the Wolverines to slip into the top 14 and a potential date with Houston in the Sugar Bowl.
There is, however, a chance that things will work out in such a way as to keep Michigan out of a BCS bowl and I'm here to tell you how to root this weekend to make this dream a reality.
#9 Oregon vs UCLA - Pac-12 Championship - Friday, December 2nd, 8:00pm - FOX
You need to put on your finest pair of Nikes and root for Oregon in this one because if they lose to UCLA, there's a good chance they will fall below Michigan in the BCS standings. This would also put an awful UCLA team in the Rose Bowl, all but ensuring a Big Ten win in the game, but we're here to root against the Wolverines, not conference solidarity. So, yeah, root for Oregon, but considering UCLA are 31.5-point dogs, you shouldn't have to sweat this one too much.
Iowa State at #11 Kansas State - Saturday, December 3rd, 12:00PM - FSN
The Wildcats are currently five spots ahead of Michigan in the standings, so a loss to the Cyclones would definitely drop them below the Wolverines. K-State is favored by 11 and playing at home, but as Mike Gundy can attest, Iowa State is a dangerous team playing with confidence. Let's get this done, Bill Snyder.
Southern Miss at #6 Houston - Conference USA Championship - Saturday, December 3rd, 12:00PM - ABC
Houston enters the C-USA Championship as 17-point favorites and they're playing at home, but head coach Kevin Sumlin's name has been thrown out there for just about every possible current opening, so there is a bit of a focus risk with the Cougars. A loss here, probably wouldn't see Houston drop below Michigan, but just to be safe, rock your Houston scarlet red and albino white.
Texas at #17 Baylor - Saturday, December 3rd, 3:30PM - ABC
This one is interesting. The computers absolutely love the Big 12, and the Bears (.550) already have a leg up on the Wolverines (.410) on that front. RGIII is playing as well as anyone right now and Texas does have to travel, so you hope that Baylor can pull this one off and possibly jump Michigan in the standings.
|7||Boise St||.7027||.7277||.7003||.680||New Mexico|
|11||Kansas St||.5702||.4689||.4617||.780||Iowa St|
#1 LSU vs #14 Georgia - SEC Championship - Saturday, December 3rd, 4:00PM - CBS
After losing games to Boise State and South Carolina to start the season, Mark Richt's Bulldogs have stormed back to the tune of a 10-game winning streak. Winning #11 will be a tall order against an LSU that has beaten on ranked teams all season long, but stranger things have happened in conference championships. If Georgia loses -- and as 13.5-point dogs, they're likely to -- they will drop below Michigan in the standings. If they win, they not stay above the Wolverines in the standings, but they also take a Sugar Bowl slot, so, yeah, GO DAWGS!
New Mexico at #7 Boise State - Saturday, December 3rd, 6:00PM - MTN
New Mexico is terrible. As in 1-10, outscored 455-144 terrible. They head to Boise as 48.5-point dogs, so you shouldn't have too much to worry about here, but pull for the Broncos anyway because a loss may drop them below the Wolverines in the BCS standings.
#20 Clemson vs #5 Virginia Tech - ACC Championship - Saturday, December 3rd, 8:00PM - ESPN
This game shouldn't matter, because even with a loss, there's a good chance the Hokies stay ahead of the Wolverines in the standings. And even if they were to drop, there's an tiny chance of Clemson closing on Michigan in the polls. Still, you'll want to pull for Virginia Tech, just to be safe.
#13 Michigan State vs #15 Wisconsin - Big Ten Championship - Saturday, December 3rd, 8:00PM - FOX
All you want here is another close game. If this one ends on another Hail Mary, even better. If it's a close game, there's a decent chance that both teams will remain above Michigan in the standings. If one team blows the other out, you can bet the losing team will drop below the Wolverines. We hate to do this, but pulling for the Badgers -- again in a close one -- is probably the best course of action, especially when you consider Michigan State has already defeated the Wolverines this year, so that will help them in the eyes of voters.
#10 Oklahoma at #3 Oklahoma State - Saturday, December 3rd, 8:00PM ABC
You'll probably want to root for the Sooners here because an Oklahoma win keeps both teams ahead of the Wolverines. An Oklahoma loss may still keep the Sooners ahead of Michigan, especially if it's a close game, but why take the chance. The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites at home here, but the Sooners have dominated the series to the tune of 82-16-7 including 11-straight and 15 of the last 16.
So, to recap, GO DUCKS, WILDCATS, COUGARS, BEARS, BULLDOGS, BRONCOS, HOKIES, BADGERS (but not by too much), and SOONERS!