The last thing Michigan fans thought about after the 41-14 defeat by Alabama was a Rose Bowl berth or even a second-tier bowl game.
The entire Michigan fanbase was devastated. Alabama took Michigan to school in every phase of the game.
Apparently, many of the pollsters also watched the game.
The Wolverines (4-2, 2-0) have been left out of the initial BCS Standings, and shockingly, so has all of the Big Ten.
When the regular season concludes, the top two teams in the BCS will meet for the national championship.
Michigan, which has bounced back from that horrible spot, is rated No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
Ohio State (6-0, 3-0), which is ineligible for postseason play, is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll. Penn State, the other team who's ineligible for postseason football, has also bounced back from a terrible start by winning its last four contests.
There's not a lot of good football being played in the Big Ten this fall. OK, if you look hard enough, you might find a few of the teams in the "those receiving votes" categories.
The Big Ten's downward trend has not started overnight. Just last year, the conference finished a disappointed 4-6 in bowl games, and have had very few signature non-conference wins this fall.
Nola.com has the Big Ten rated sixth among BCS conferences, behind such "powerhouse" leagues as the Big East and ACC.
Michigan, however may have seen its prospects improve. The Big Ten's fall might actually help Michigan win a Big Ten title this year. After the loss to Alabama, Michigan also had some scary moments with Air Force, especially on defense.
In the first two games, the defense gave up 66 points and 848 total yards.
After all, head coach Brady Hoke promised better, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was the man to do it.
The defense began to right its ship against UMass, then played flawlessly in the next three games—even though one was a disappointing 13-6 loss to undefeated Notre Dame. In fact, Michigan has allowed just 39 points and 845 yards in its last six games.
More importantly, the Wolverines have opened the Big Ten season with two impressive wins. Michigan crushed the Boilermakers at Purdue 44-13 then entertained a homecoming crowd at the Big House by shutting out Illinois 45-0.
With Michigan State (4-3, 1-2), and Nebraska (4-2, 1-1) faltering, Rose Bowl talk has returned to Ann Arbor. Maybe Northwestern (6-1, 2-1) and Iowa (4-2, 2-0) should be taken more seriously.
The Wolverines could conceivably win the Legends crown even with a loss in Columbus. Michigan would then probably face Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1) in the Big Ten title game.
Should Michigan lose to Wisconsin, there will be no BCS Bowl this time around.
And why? Bowl game followers (especially in East Lansing) complained that Michigan stole a spot from Michigan State to play in the Sugar Bowl. Michigan State did play in the Big Ten championship game, and did beat the Wolverines head-to-head.
So without the Big Ten title, Michigan will end up in one the their favorites, either the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or the Outback Bowl in Tampa.