Will Michigan football play in a bowl game?


At first glance, this seems ridiculous. Michigan finished its regular season 2-4. How could the Wolverines play in a game of bowls? This college football season, however, has been unusual to say the least.

Typically, teams need at least six wins to play in a bowl game (5-7 teams are eligible if there are not enough 0.500 teams). In mid-October, the NCAA changed its Bowls eligibility criteria. Any team, regardless of their record or number of games played, could appear in a bowl.

It was a nice gesture, but some schools have already said no thanks. The state of Kansas, Louisville, the state of San Diego and Virginia Tech announced on Wednesday that they were withdrawing from the bowl review. Boston College, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Virginia are among the programs that previously announced such plans. The Pac-12 commissioner said teams in his league still need a record 0.500 to appear in a bowl.

Michigan has not announced any plan. The Wolverines have canceled their last regular season game, scheduled for next Saturday against Iowa, due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Michigan hasn’t played since November 28.

On Monday, before the Iowa game was called off, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about his team’s interest in a possible bowl game. He said health and safety would be “respected to the maximum”, but did not really answer the question.

“We’ve learned since last June and for months (that) everything is a daily process based on the medical professionals, the university officials and the decisions that are made,” Harbaugh said.

Eleven bowl games have been called off so far this season, including the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. However, there are 32 bowls games, including the “New York’s Six” bowls (made up of the playoff games and four other merit-based bowls).

Michigan remains an attractive TV draw, even when the on-court product is underwhelming. The Wolverines need to be taken into consideration, although it should be noted that seven of the Bowls clashes have already been finalized.

Bowl showings on sites such as ESPN and CBS Sports do not include Michigan. Non-New Years bowl games start on December 21 and end on January 2. The Wolverines should of course feel they have enough players before considering an invite. Due to positive COVID tests, contact tracing and injury, Michigan said on Tuesday that more than 50 players were unavailable.

Bowls are generally a fun experience for players. Many take place in warm locations and involve pre-game activity days. Given the pandemic, teams believe they won’t travel more than a day or so before the game, or at least commute between a hotel and a training ground in Bowl City. If a bowling game is supposed to be a reward at the end of a season, it will be less so this year.

If Michigan doesn’t play in a bowl game this season, it would be for the first time since 2014, when the Wolverines finished 5-7.

Michigan players who spoke earlier this week, ahead of the Iowa game’s cancellation, said they have no regrets playing this season, even with all the protocols, the poor results on the field. , the possible coronavirus epidemic.

“It was worth it,” said fifth-year senior defensive lineman Carlo Kemp.

“There are just a lot of things that went into this trip. The season will of course be defined by how many wins and losses you have, and that’s just the nature of football and the nature of the game we play, but there are so many other growths and so many more. achievements we have made as a team. We had to fight so much adversity and we are still here, and we want to fight even more.

When asked about a bowl game, Kemp said it was not clear how the teams would be chosen and that he and his teammates were focused on Iowa.

“It feels good that we have this game,” he said, later adding, “I’m sure everyone in this building would like to continue and continue playing after this week.”

More Michigan Football Content:

Wolverine recruiting report: what went well, what didn’t for Michigan on signing day

Jim Harbaugh on New Michigan QB JJ McCarthy

Michigan football looks to transfer portal, February to bolster scouting class of 2021

Meet Michigan’s early signing football class in 2021


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