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Newsstand: ESPN firm on U-M's bowl projection after non-conference

Anthony Broomeby:Anthony Broome09/18/23


The Michigan Wolverines just wrapped up their non-conference slate and now the bulk of the country will move into the meat and potatoes of their conference schedules. Coming off a 3-0 start, ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach still have Michigan stacking up favorably.

The ESPN panel has Michigan heading to the national title game to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. First, the Wolverines would play USC in the Rose Bowl semifinal, while Georgia would face off with Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

“It was an unconvincing weekend for the top four teams in the AP poll, with Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Texas all winning without gaining any style points,” Bonagura said. “The only change I made was to flip Florida State with idle USC. Texas might have had a chance to supplant Florida State, but the Longhorns needing the fourth quarter at home to finish off Wyoming didn’t exactly inspire confidence and Alabama’s struggle against USF cast a new light on Texas’ win last week.

“Although the top teams didn’t fare great, Ohio State and Washington had strong performances and could easily be swapped with the playoff picks in their conferences (Michigan and USC).”

Schlabach chimed in:

“Even though USC didn’t play this past weekend, I moved the Trojans back into the top four, bumping Texas. With so many good teams in the Pac-12 this season, it’s difficult to imagine that the last Pac-12 champion will be left out of the CFP. The Trojans would certainly earn a spot if they can finish unbeaten or 11-1; they’ll play six more games against teams that are currently ranked, including road trips at No. 18 Colorado, No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 13 Oregon.

“None of my other CFP picks — Georgia, Florida State and Michigan — was overly impressive Saturday. The Bulldogs trailed South Carolina 14-3 at halftime before pulling away with a 24-14 victory. It was the third straight slow start for UGA. Likewise, Michigan led Bowling Green only 14-6 after two quarters but then pitched a 17-0 shutout in the second half for a 31-6 win. Boston College took Florida State to the wire in the Seminoles’ 31-29 road victory. Texas, Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame were also strongly considered for the CFP this week.”

Michigan is next in action against Rutgers on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. ET in Ann Arbor.

Tweets of the day

Michigan quote of the day

“We just tell him, if he’s going to throw it out, to throw it out of bounds. That’s J.J. just trying to make a play. Sometimes that happens when you try to make a play – things like that take place. It’s a learning experience for him.” One of them was a spacing issue and then the other one was a decision. Those things come into play and we just gotta continue to fix those. I know he will.”

– Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore on J.J. McCarthy’s three interceptions in Week 3 win over Bowling Green

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