Michigan State and Michigan could be bowling on opposite sides of the country.
That seems to be the consensus in the latest round of bowl projections, as Michigan State appears on track to land a New Year’s Day bowl in Florida, either in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., or the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Many bowl experts, meanwhile, see Michigan heading to California for the Holiday Bowl or Foster Farms Bowl in late December, though a few still have the Wolverines to play New Year’s Day as well.
No. 21 Michigan State (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten), which closes its regular season Saturday at Rutgers (4-7, 3-5), is heading to the Outback Bowl, according to Jerry Palm of CBS Sports (playing LSU), Eric Single of Sports Illustrated (South Carolina), and Jason Kirk of SB Nation (Mississippi State).
Like Palm, Bill Bender of the Sporting News also has MSU playing LSU, but in the Citrus Bowl. ESPN’s David M. Hale and Bryan Fischer of NBC Sports also have MSU in the Citrus Bowl, squaring off against Auburn.
Hale’s counterpart at ESPN, Kyle Bonagura, has MSU taking on Washington in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego.
The Holiday Bowl is a popular destination for unranked Michigan (8-3, 5-3), which likely can improve its standing with a victory over rival and eighth-ranked Ohio State (9-2, 7-1) on Saturday in Ann Arbor. CBS Sports and Sports Illusrated have Michigan meeting Stanford there, while SB Nation sees Michigan facing Washington State, and the Sporting News has the Wolverines playing Washington there.
Bonagura of ESPN also has Michigan playing in California, but in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27 in Santa Clara, Calif., also against Stanford.
Michigan-Stanford makes for an attractive matchup, obviously, as the last two college head-coaching stops for Jim Harbaugh.
Hale and Fischer of NBC Sports still see a New Year’s Day bowl in Michigan’s future, placing the Wolverines in the Outback Bowl against Mississippi State.
The Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit figures to have a team representing the state Dec. 26, with Bonagura of ESPN (facing Western Kentucky), Palm of CBS Sports (Middle Tennessee State), and Fischer of NBC Sports (UNLV) sending the Broncos to the Motor City.
Single of Sports Illustrated and Kirk of SB Nation has Central Michigan playing at Ford Field, against Utah and Utah State, respectively.
The Quick Lane Bowl is slated to be a matchup between the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten, but the Big Ten might not have enough eligible teams to fill the bid, opening the door for CMU or WMU to play near home.
BOWL PROJECTIONS FOR LOCAL TEAMS
Dollar General Bowl (Dec. 23, Mobile, Ala.): Central Michigan vs. Georgia State
Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, Detroit): Western Michigan vs. Western Kentucky
Foster Farms Bowl (Dec. 27, Santa Clara, Calif.): Michigan vs. Stanford
Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28, San Diego): Michigan State vs. Washington
Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 22): Central Michigan vs. North Texas
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Utah
Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla.): Michigan vs. Mississippi State
Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla.): Michigan State vs. Auburn
Camellia Bowl (Dec. 16, Montgomery, Ala.): Central Michigan vs. Troy
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee State
Holiday Bowl: Michigan vs. Stanford
Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs. LSU
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 22, Boise, Idaho): Western Michigan vs. Colorado State
Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Utah
Holiday Bowl: Michigan vs. Stanford
Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs. South Carolina
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Wyoming
Quick Lane: Central Michigan vs. Utah State
Holiday Bowl: Michigan vs. Washington State
Outback: Michigan State vs. Mississippi State
Frisco Bowl (Dec. 20, Frisco, Texas): Central Michigan vs. Wyoming
Western Michigan vs. Wyoming: Western Michigan vs. Utah State
Citrus Bowl: Michigan State vs. LSU
Holiday Bowl: Michigan vs. Washington
Frisco Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Houston
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. UNLV
Citrus Bowl: Michigan State vs. Auburn
Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. Mississippi State