Michigan Moves Up in Polls, Enters BCS Bowl Conversation

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Obviously it still should be considered early in the season, and the meat of Michigan’s schedule still is in front of them, but they’re receiving a lot of attention in the human polls, computer rankings, and bowl projections.

Updated poll results were released yesterday, and UM moved up one spot in both the USA Today Coaches Poll (10) and the AP Poll (11). The Harris Interactive poll released their first set of rankings for the year, debuting with the Wolverines at 10.

The Wolverines are also receiving high marks in the bowl projections. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach currently has them matching up with Oklahoma State in the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl.Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN’s Big Ten blog also think Michigan is a possibility for the Fiesta Bowl although they don’t predict an opponent. Here’s what they had to say about the Big Ten’s chances for a second BCS bid:

"We say the Big Ten will get a second BCS team, if for no other reason than teams from the league remain very attractive to big bowls. Our choice for that second spot this week is Michigan. The Wolverines are 6-0 and are 2-0 in Big Ten play, with a pretty advantageous schedule the rest of the way. They are as much of a threat to get to Indianapolis as anyone in the Legends Division."

Michigan’s wide-reaching fan base would make them an attractive choice for bowl organizers should they reach the Big Ten Championship Game. Getting past Michigan State next weekend is the first big step toward winning the Legends Division.

But it’s not just the humans who are currently high on the Wolverines. Many of the BCS computer rankings have them highly rated as well.

Jeff Sagarin: 11th
Kenneth Massey: 11th
Anderson & Hester: 7th (last week’s ranking, not updated for this week yet)
Richard Billingsly: 17th
Colley Matrix: 5th
Dr. Peter Wolfe: Not available until next week.

The first set of BCS rankings don’t come out until next week, but Michigan would have likely been right on the edge of the top-10 this week. The BCS formula is pretty simple; it’s one-third USA Today poll, one-third Harris Poll, and one-third average computer ranking (after dropping each team’s highest and lowest ranking).

If I had to guess, I’d say Michigan loses at least two more regular season games which would probably put them outside of contention for an at-large BCS berth, but it’s fun to think about nonetheless.

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