Michigan Football: Breaking Down Potential Bowl Matchups for Wolverines

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 20:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines watches the action during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans 12-10. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines may not have achieved the yearly goal of beating Ohio State, but they can still have a successful season by finding victory in the team's bowl game.

With an 8-4 record on the season and a No. 19 ranking in the current BCS rankings, the Wolverines have all but disqualified themselves from playing in a BCS bowl game. However, the Capital One Bowl is definitely in the cards.

As the bowl game's twitter feed states, the Wolverines are "in the mix" to be invited to Orlando when the bowl matchups are revealed on Sunday.

We've been posting about B1G scenarios since late yesterday, so we won't re-hash. Teams in the mix: Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan

— Capital One Bowl (@CapitalOneBowl) November 25, 2012

While it looks like the Wolverines are headed to the Capital One bowl, both their opponent and bowl game could be directly affected by the results of the SEC and Big Ten conference championship games on Saturday. With that in mind, here's a look at the potential scenarios for the Wolverines, and how they match up come bowl season.

Scenario 1: Capital One Bowl vs. Texas A&M

This appears to be the most likely scenario. Both Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards of ESPN project this as being the matchup for Michigan.  

The obvious draw for this game is the pairing of Johnny Manziel against Denard Robinson.

Michigan is most likely going to play Devin Gardner at quarterback too, but the storyline remains the passing of the torch from Robinson to Manziel as college football's most electrifying quarterback.

As for the game, Michigan and the Aggies match up pretty well. Michigan has the defense: ranked 20th in the country in terms of scoring, they allow only 18.8 points per game, and they kept Michigan's offense in the game against Braxton Miller and the rival Buckeyes last weekend.

The Texas A&M defense, ranked 30th in the country in scoring defense, is solid, but it isn't the kind of unit that the SEC is known for. The Aggies have been beaten by offenses in the past, and give up an average of 22.5 points per game while relying on their high-powered offense to outscore opponents.

This is an exciting matchup that would probably come down to a shootout. Whoever gets the ball last wins.

Predicted Score: Michigan 35, Texas A&M 32

Scenario 2: Capital One Bowl vs. Georgia

This is the bowl scenario currently projected by CBS Sports.

Georgia will play for the SEC Championship game, and if they lose, they will probably be left out of the BCS by virtue of Florida's Top Three finish in the BCS standings.

That means they'll be eligible to be selected for the Capital One Bowl, but it will be up to the bowl to choose between Georgia and Texas A&M.

Should the bowl select Georgia, Michigan will have a difficult matchup on its hands. The Bulldogs are extremely balanced on offense and have one of the elite defenses in the nation. Most experts aren't giving Georgia a shot against Alabama, but if it loses in the SEC Championship game, the Bulldogs will be out to prove they belong among the nation's elite teams.

Georgia's defense is nearly as prolific as Texas A&M's offense, and that could be a problem. The potential for this game to look like Michigan's early season matchup against Alabama is definitely there.

The Bulldogs haven't been quite as impressive as the Tide, but it's close.

Predicted Score: Georgia 28, Michigan 13

Scenario 3: Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina

This scenario is a little more far-fetched, but as discussed by ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett, the Capital One bowl may elect to choose Nebraska if it loses to Wisconsin and if Georgia beats Alabama, in order to avoid a Michigan-Alabama rematch.

This would be another difficult matchup for the Wolverines, as it pits them against another elite defense. The Gamecocks have put together a season comparable to Georgia's, and even beat them handily when they went head-to-head.

Given South Carolina's 27-17 win on the road against a good Clemson team, the Gamecocks will be a tough draw for whoever they play in their bowl game.

Michigan's defense should match up well with a Marcus Lattimore-less South Carolina offense, but it's tough to envision the offense finding much success against the Gamecocks' defense.

Predicted Score: South Carolina 20, Michigan 14


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