What bowl game will Michigan football go to and who will it play?
Wolverines ranked No. 5 in the country
The Michigan Wolverines finished their 2016 regular season with a 10-2 record and three wins over teams ranked in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff poll.
With the conference championship weekend winding down, Michigan would need a huge upset from Virginia Tech over Clemson in the ACC title game to have a chance to make the playoff.
The Wolverines started the weekend ranked No. 5 in the country, and only four teams qualify for the college football playoff. Alabama, Ohio State and Washington have already punched their tickets to the big dance.
But where will Michigan football end up if it doesn't make the field of four?
The most likely landing spot for Michigan is the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
Assuming Ohio State makes the playoff as the highest-ranked Big Ten team, Michigan would finish the season as the highest-ranked team in the conference outside the playoff participants.
The Orange Bowl has an agreement with the Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame that requires it to take the highest-ranked non-playoff team from those two conferences. Since Michigan is ranked No. 5 in the country, it will likely finish the season as the highest-ranked non-playoff team in the entire FBS.
The Orange Bowl guarantees the SEC and Big Ten at least three appearances each over the next 12 years, but those limitations won't affect Michigan's invitation in 2016.
If Michigan plays in the Orange Bowl, it will kick off at 8 p.m. Dec. 30.
Why wouldn't Michigan go to the Rose Bowl?
The Rose Bowl's Big Ten tie-in says that if the conference champion doesn't go to the College Football Playoff, it will take that team as its Big Ten participant.
This season, with the winner of Penn State and Wisconsin likely missing out on the playoff, that team would likely represent the Big Ten in Pasadena.
Michigan could end up at the Rose Bowl only if the Big Ten champion gets into the playoff and Michigan does not, which is an unlikely scenario.
Who would Michigan play in the Orange Bowl?
As of now, Michigan's most likely opponent in the Orange Bowl is Florida State.
In its 12-year deal with the ACC, the Orange Bowl agreed to take the highest-ranked ACC team in the country that doesn't play in the College Football Playoff. Right now, Florida State is ranked No. 12 in the country ahead of No. 13 Louisville, so it would earn the invitation.
Who else could end up in the Orange Bowl? If Clemson loses the ACC championship game and Michigan doesn't play in the playoff, that could set up a top-10 battle between the two powerhouses.
It's unlikely that any other ACC team would jump Florida State to earn an Orange Bowl bid, because none of the ACC teams below Florida State have games remaining to make up ground.
Florida State is 9-3 on the season with one ranked win over No. 15 Florida. The Seminoles lost to Louisville by 43 points and dropped a heartbreaker to Clemson, 37-34. They also dropped a home game to North Carolina in October.
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