Michigan needs the dominoes to fall in a particular order if it's to make a BCS bowl.
Landing where expected, the Michigan Wolverines were tabbed as the No. 22 team in the first installment of the 2013 BCS rankings.
Topping the list, as expected, were the Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by the Florida State Seminoles and the Oregon Ducks. A foe until the end of time, Ohio State, earned the No. 4 spot in the poll.
Far from the nation's elite, Michigan will have to impress voters the rest of the way in order to jump into the 12- to 16-team BCS mix come December. If a Rose Bowl eludes, a possible lower-tier BCS game—if there is such a thing—would be the high end for 2013.
The first nine weeks of this season have made one thing clear: Michigan isn't a national championship contender.
As of now, Team 134 must concentrate on finishing strong.
The rest of its schedule has dates with Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State. Surviving without sustaining major damage is the key for Brady Hoke's Wolverines, who could fight to keep a one-loss record intact Nov. 30 against the Buckeyes.
Where Michigan Stands
|6-1, 2-1 B1G||25||23||85||22|
S.O.S. via sagarin.com
Biggest Obstacles to a BCS Berth
Note: The Wolverines lead the series, 58-44-6, but have won just thrice since the turn of the century (2000, 2003 and 2011).
Urban Meyer's Buckeyes lurk around the corner. Although it's only Week 9, Nov. 30 tends to get quicker than anticipated.
Meyer is 19-0 at Ohio State. He could string together a second straight unbeaten season if his team holds serve prior to meeting, and beating, Michigan during "The Game."
Assuming Michigan doesn't stumble prior to Week 14 (including two byes), a loss to Ohio State would crush dreams of winning a Big Ten title.
It'd also evaporate hopes of making it to a BCS bowl, because losing to the Buckeyes in Week 14 would likely move Michigan out of consideration for the league championship bout.
But the same could be said for games against Michigan State, Northwestern and Nebraska.
A loss prior to Ohio State, and it's end game for Hoke.
For Michigan's sake, the heavies remaining on the schedule have to emerge with wins. The Big Ten has taken a shelling from critics, so victories over so-so three-loss conference foes won't cut it.
As of now, Michigan State (6-1) sits at 3-0. Nebraska (5-1) is 2-0 in Legends Division play. They need to win in order for the Wolverines to benefit.
Hoke didn't have much opposition prior to engaging in league battles. Once thought of as a marquee win, Michigan's 41-30 beating of Notre Dame needs help...from Notre Dame—which is 5-2 after its 14-10 victory over USC.
Other than a season-ending duel with Stanford, the Irish have it relatively easy the rest of the way.
|Nov. 2||at Michigan State|
|Nov. 9||vs. Nebraska|
|Nov. 16||at Northwestern|
|Nov. 23||at Iowa|
|Nov. 30||vs. Ohio State|
Schedule via ESPN
The Big Picture
Sweeping the rest of the docket may not mean much come selection time. Let's face it, Michigan has the No. 85-ranked schedule and plays in the fourth- or fifth-best conference. A two- or three-loss SEC team, say Texas A&M, would likely get higher consideration than a one-loss Michigan team.
Unless, of course, the Wolverines win the Big Ten Championship Game. Then it's time to smell the roses.
Final Bowl Prediction
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.