Michigan Football: Are Wolverines Best Shot for Big Ten to Win a Bowl Game?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IDecember 20, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines gives encouragement to his team against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 13-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If the Big Ten is going to win a bowl game, it will likely come from the Michigan Wolverines.


Because the conference that was by far the most disappointing BCS conference of the year has been given horrible matchups. As we scroll through the list, there just isn't one matchup available that you should feel confident about if you're a Big Ten supporter.

If you want to win those Bowl Pick'em leagues, pick against this conference.

Minnesota is going up against a Texas Tech team that averages nearly 38 points per game. The Golden Gophers are ranked 99th in the country in scoring offense. Can we say mismatch? It doesn't matter if there was a coaching change or not for the Red Raiders—Minnesota simply doesn't have the firepower to keep up in this game whatsoever.

Purdue doesn’t have a head coach running its team and is going up against an Oklahoma State offense that has had no issues at all lighting up the scoreboard. Good luck, Boilermakers. You will need all of the help you can get.

Remember when you heard the Big Ten was horrible this year? Yeah, well, Michigan State lost to Iowa and Northwestern, along with many other subpar teams. You would be foolish to pick against a tough TCU club that was mightily competitive in its first season in the Big 12.

Who in their right mind actually thinks a one-dimensional Nebraska offense is going to be able to move the football against Georgia? The Bulldogs should have convinced you that they are legit against Alabama. Sure, they surrendered 350 yards on the ground, but the Cornhuskers aren't anywhere near as physical as the Crimson Tide.

I'll take a defensive-minded Mississippi State team over a team full of journalists in Northwestern any day of the week.

And then you have Wisconsin taking on a Stanford team that can play with anybody in the country with its defense. The Cardinal offense has also improved with the play of freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is great, but isn't great enough to carry his team to victory by himself.

This now brings us back to Michigan, who is going up against a tough team in the South Carolina Gamecocks. You may not consider this the most favorable matchup for the Wolverines, but the team has been playing some of its best ball since Devin Gardner has taken over as the starting quarterback.

With the junior in at the quarterback position, Michigan has won three of the last four games, which includes giving Ohio State a run for its money in the season finale. The offense has been clicking in ways we haven’t seen and has been more efficient with playmaker Denard Robinson taking more of a running back approach the last few games.

If you are one that is concerned about Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Michigan should be in good hands with future first-round pick Taylor Lewan holding the edge at left tackle. This isn't to say that South Carolina won't make plays in the backfield, but one of the better defensive players in the country will have his work cut out for him.

Defensively, Michigan will of course miss starting cornerback J.T. Floyd to suspension, but South Carolina hasn't exactly been a scoring machine, ranked 10th in the SEC in total offense. The Wolverines have consistently been one of the better defensive teams in the Big Ten and should be able to hold their own against a Gamecocks offense that doesn't have Marcus Lattimore.

Playing a top team from the SEC isn't going to be easy not matter how hard you slice it. However, head coach Brady Hoke and company do have some advantages heading into this matchup. Unlike the rest of the Big Ten contests, this actually appears to be a game that could go either way, which does give Michigan and its fans some hope.

The Big Ten has been a disappointment all season long and will likely have a hard time showing up during bowl season.

Michigan could be the only hope.