Michigan bowl projections: Division title a longshot, but a January bowl isn’t

At the start of each week, Land of 10 will break down the postseason implications, and projections, to come out of the Michigan Wolverines’ latest contest …

What happened: Oy, vey. The Wolverines (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) landed on the wrong end of a 42-13 beat down at Happy Valley, scrapping in the middle of the contest but being overwhelmed by Penn State early (outscored 14-0 in the first quarter) and late (outscored 14-0 in the fourth). Michigan quarterback John O’Korn offered some flashes of hope, but wound up sacked 7 times and fumbling twice.

What it means: What was projected to be a rebuilding/retooling season is turning out to be exactly that. When the Wolverines’ excellent defense isn’t pulling the sled — Nittany Lions star Saquon Barkley scored 2 touchdowns in Penn State’s first 6 plays — then the Big Blue sled isn’t moving. Michigan got up off the mat after a flurry of early punches, but this offense doesn’t have the sync in the passing game right now to go blow-for-blow and point-for-point with a bona fide College Football Playoff contender. This is a good, talented team — just not a great one. A three-week stretch of winnable contests should salvage some confidence back, but if Saturday evening was any harbinger, there’s a lot of work yet to do before late-November showdowns at No. 5 Wisconsin and vs. No. 6 Ohio State.

Projected record: Massey Ratings — 8-4; TeamRankings.com — 8-4

(Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Projected postseason destination: Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla., versus an SEC opponent.

Cheapest seat on TicketCity.com as of Sunday: $96

Up next: Rutgers visits on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (3-4, 2-2) are riding high — relatively speaking — on a two-game winning streak, having bounced back from a 56-0 whipping by Ohio State at home to knock off Illinois (35-24) and Purdue (14-12). Coach Chris Ash is taking the next step in the rebuilding process thanks to a grindier approach and big back Gus Edwards (3 rushing touchdowns the last 2 weeks), but pushing Michigan at home is still probably a step too far.

The post Michigan bowl projections: Division title a longshot, but a January bowl isn’t appeared first on Land of 10.

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