Michigan Football: Power Ranking Wolverines Bowl Possibilities

Joel GreerCorrespondent INovember 30, 2012

Michigan Football: Power Ranking Wolverines Bowl Possibilities

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    Michigan fans planning a trip to this year's holiday bowl game can plan on a Jan. 1 date in Florida against an SEC team.

    The Wolverines will most likely play in either the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or the Outback Bowl in Tampa.

    The opponent will be either Georgia, Florida, LSU or South Carolina. The scenarios are still unclear due to Saturday's SEC and Big Ten championship games. 

    If BCS No. 2 Alabama defeats No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide will face No. 1 Notre Dame in the Bowl Championship Series title game. No. 4 Florida would leap over Georgia and play in the BCS Sugar Bowl, leaving the Capitol One Bowl next in order. They would likely pick Georgia, especially since the Bulldogs played in the Outback (which is next in line) a year ago.

    No. 7 LSU or No. 10 South Carolina would be selected for the Outback.

    If Georgia upsets Alabama, the Bulldogs will play Notre Dame and Alabama will head to the Sugar Bowl, leaving Florida in the Capitol One Bowl and the same group vying for the Outback.

    In the Big Ten, No. 12 Nebraska would earn a trip to the BCS Rose Bowl by defeating unranked Wisconsin, while Michigan and Northwestern would most likely leap over Wisconsin to fill the Capital One and Outback Bowls.

    No. 19 Michigan would likely get the bid over the Wildcats because it has better name recognition even though Northwestern has been traveling well of late.

    Conceivably, Alabama could have been in the mix to have a rematch with Michigan, but there's no way the Wolverines would want a repeat of the 41-14 disaster on opening night in Texas.

    Michigan will have its hands full with either of the four possible opponents.
    Let's how at these perennial powers rank in the SEC.

No. 10 South Carolina

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    South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC)

    Columbia, South Carolina

    Last USC Bowl Game: 2012 Capital One: USC 30, Nebraska 13

    Last Michigan Meeting: 1985: Michigan 35, South Carolina 3

    Series Record: 1-1-0

    Steve Spurrier became the winningest coach in South Carolina football history Saturday when the Gamecocks defeated in-state rival Clemson. It was the 65th win for Spurrier, who is still licking his wounds from a 44-11 beat down from his former squad, Florida.

    The Gamecocks also suffered a crushing 23-21 loss to LSU the week before.

    Statistically, South Carolina is the fifth best team in the SEC, ranking fifth in scoring offense (31.4) and fourth in scoring defense (17.4). 

    South Carolina is led by the quarterback duo of Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. Shaw, who missed the Clemson finale, has completed 136 passes in 202 attempts for 1,732 yards and 15 touchdowns. Against Clemson, Thompson stepped in and threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns.    

    The Gamecocks suffered another blow when junior running back Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season with a knee injury during the win over Tennessee. Lattimore rushed for 662 yards in nine games.

No. 7 LSU

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    LSU Tigers (10-2. 6-2 SEC)

    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Last LSU Bowl Game: 2012 BCS NC: Alabama 22, LSU 0

    Michigan and LSU haven't met

    While Michigan (8-4, 6-2) and LSU are not having banner years, a bowl matchup would still be intriguing to watch.

    Often mentioned as a candidate for the Michigan coaching job, LSU's Les Miles was always characterized as a "Michigan Man." He played offensive tackle for the Wolverines in the mid-70s and later served as a Wolverine assistant from 1987-94. Miles eventually took the head job at LSU in 2005.

    Even though LSU has hovered around the middle of the pack in scoring offense and defense, the Tigers have lost only to Florida and Alabama.

    Ranked no better than fourth in the conference, LSU could still land in the Outback Bowl.

No. 4 Florida

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    Florida Gators (11-1, 7-1 SEC)

    Gainesville, Florida

    Last Florida Bowl Game: 2012 Gator Bowl: FL 24, Ohio St. 17

    Last Michigan Meeting: 2007: Michigan 41, Florida 35

    Series Record: Michigan 2-0-0

    Despite its 11-1 record, Florida is no better than third best in the SEC.  If Alabama defeats Georgia, the Crimson Tide will go to the national title game, and Florida will probably land in the Sugar Bowl.

    A Georgia win, however, could send the Gators to a possible bowl rematch with Michigan in either the Capital One or Outback Bowls. The Wolverines knocked off Tim Tebow and the Gators at the 2007 Capital One Bowl. Michigan also defeated quarterback Rex Grossman's Gators at the 2003 Outback Bowl. 

    With the emergence of sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel and freshman running back Jeff Jones, the 2012 Florida offense is beginning to catch up to the stifling defense. Florida's offense is now scoring at a 26.8 clip while the defense ranks second in the SEC at just 12.9.  

No. 3 Georgia

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    Georgia Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 SEC)

    Athens, Georgia

    Last Bowl Game: 2012 Outback: Mich. St. 33, GA 30 (3OT)

    Last Michigan Meeting: 1965: Georgia 15, Michigan 7

    Series Record: 1-1-0

    The Georgia Bulldogs are hardly thinking about such "minor" bowls as the Outback or Capital One. 

    Obviously, Georgia has its sight set on knocking off Alabama in the SEC title game and then facing Notre Dame in the National Championship Game. Georgia's problem, of course, is that defending champion Alabama is the most balanced team in the conference.

    The Crimson Tide leads both the SEC and NCAA in scoring defense (9.25) while it's second in SEC scoring offense (39.0)

    The Crimson Tide will tee off on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who struggled in both the South Carolina loss and the Florida victory. Until Murray can prove to be a solid quarterback under pressure, the Bulldogs will play second fiddle to Alabama.