For a second straight week we saw opposite levels of success for the two big name programs in Michigan.
Michigan (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) took care of Rutgers with a 35-14 victory on Saturday. The win was expected by many so the real big news this weekend was the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters, who was finally put into the game. He led the Wolverines on three straight touchdown drives and fans are back to being excited about this team.
It wasn’t the same story for Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), who suffered its first loss since Sept. 23. Northwestern got the best of the Spartans in a triple overtime thriller, 39-31. The loss was the Spartans’ first in Big Ten play and has raised questions about how good this team really is.
Unlike last week, there was actually a lot of shakeup in this week’s bowl projections. Check out below where the so-called experts have Michigan and Michigan State heading this bowl season.
Michigan – San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs. USC and Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State
Michigan State – New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. Boston College and Outback Bowl vs. LSU
Michigan – Outback Bowl vs. LSU
Michigan State – Citrus Bowl vs. Auburn
Michigan – San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs. USC
Michigan State – Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina
Michigan – Outback Bowl vs. Texas A&M
Michigan State – San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs. USC
Michigan – Outback Bowl vs. Auburn
Michigan State – Citrus Bowl vs. LSU
To see how these bowl projections compare to last week, click here.
So as one would expect, Michigan’s bowl stock rose a little bit after its win over Rutgers while Michigan State took a dip following its loss to Northwestern.
Last week, the Holiday Bowl was the common pick for the Wolverines, but this week its the Outback Bowl that took over as the popular choice. Of the six bowl projections, four have Michigan in the Outback Bowl while only two have them in the Holiday Bowl. It was basically a flip flop of last week so the win over Rutgers was definitely good news for the Wolverines’ bowl stock.
Michigan State remained the same with a few of the experts but also dropped with some. The most notable drop was ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura moving the Spartans to the dreaded New Era Pinstripe Bowl. I mean, would you rather be in sunny Tampa or cold New York City in late December? Michigan State also dropped in the Sporting News’ latest projections, now heading to the Holiday Bowl.
These projections are a snapshot of where both teams stand right now, but a lot should change in the next two weeks. Michigan will be favored in its next two and in theory should improve to 8-2 before its tough finish — at Wisconsin and home against Ohio State. Michigan State on the other hand will have its two toughest games of the year in the next two weeks — home against Penn State then at Ohio State — so the Spartans could easily be 6-4. The good news is the Spartans end the year with two winnable games.
A possible debate for later in the year could be which 8-4 team will get a better bowl bid — Michigan or Michigan State?