Fiesta Bowl 2012: Why Twice-Beaten Michigan, Not Michigan State, Will Be in

Colby LanhamCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2011

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 26:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines dives for extra yards past C.J. Barnett #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 40-34. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

College football bowl season is close at hand, and with bowl projections soon to come to fruition, many at-large teams have the potential to earn a BCS Bowl bid. And this year, the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans are two such teams.

One looming question remains: Which team will get the nod over the other? Wolverines or Spartans?

Both teams have two losses and have overcome decent challenges in their schedule to end their respective regular seasons at 10-2. But despite their similarities, it appears as though the Wolverines will get the nod over the Spartans for a BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl bid.

Why would the Wolverines get the bid over the Spartans, even though the Spartans played in the Big Ten Conference title game? And on top that, why would Michigan get the bid when Michigan State won the head-to-head matchup earlier in the season?

Well, to begin, the losses from several key teams helped the Wolverines' cause for a BCS Bowl. The losses by Houston, Virginia Tech and Michigan State allowed the Wolverines to move up in the polls as they watched their journey towards a BCS Bowl unfold.

To qualify for the BCS, Michigan has to be in the Top 14 of the BCS Standings when they are released. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that will not be the case for them, given their close 42-39 loss against the Wisconsin Badgers.

The fact that Michigan did not play and had the ability to move up with so many ranked teams playing each other only helped the Wolverines move up and take their place among the BCS.