Winning is only way to title game
Mailbag: Wolverines' postseason scenarios run gamut from BCS to Capital One Bowl
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan enters November with a ton of buzz and momentum in both of its major sports.
The football team is still in contention for a berth in the first-ever Big Ten championship game. The men's basketball team is in the preseason Top 25, has an emerging star in Tim Hardaway Jr. and looks poised to put together elite recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013.
With that in mind, WolverineNation takes your questions. Remember, the 'Bag is only as good as the questions you ask, so tweet them away to @wolverinenation or email at email@example.com. Mailbags run on Wednesdays, and we always look forward to hearing from you, our readers.
Casee, Michigan: If Michigan and Michigan State win out, MSU would still go to the Big Ten Championship, even though they lost to Nebraska (and let's say Michigan beat Nebraska). State would have two losses, one in conference, where Michigan would have only one in-conference loss. How does that work?
So how does Michigan reach the Big Ten title game? If the Wolverines win out and Michigan State loses one more game, they are in. A three-way tie between Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska -- so long as the Wolverines beat the Cornhuskers -- also gives the edge to Michigan. Only two teams in the Legends Division control their own fate: Iowa and Nebraska. If either wins out, it's in. Welcome to the land of divisions.
That make sense? Something tells me this might all get more confusing before the season is over.
Jon, Zeeland, Mich.: What is the latest on Mitch McGary? Do you expect a Mitch McGary announcement this week?
A: Yes, I expect a McGary announcement. He's down to three schools -- Michigan, Duke and Florida -- and the Wolverines will be a player. No matter what happens, the fact Michigan is in the conversation for an elite player such as McGary is another signal this program is returning to the status it last enjoyed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A McGary commitment for Michigan would be huge and would take a good 2012 class and turn it into one of the nation's best.
David, North Carolina: It might be because of social media (Twitter) that the relationships between players are closer, which I think is huge. Do you see that between the players? What would you say is more likely: Trey Burke averages 10 ppg or 25 ppg? We're all very excited about Trey Burke. What one player would you compare his game to (Please give player and era -- i.e. Nate Robinson at Washington).
A: Don't think Twitter has much to do with the closeness of this particular team -- fans see it more because most of them tweet and interact with each other. I'd say these guys are close because, well, they like each other a lot. That chemistry is huge -- it is something that has been a trademark of every good John Beilein team in the course of his coaching career.
If Burke averages 10 points a game, that's a really good sign for Michigan -- especially if he's the third-leading scorer at that point. I think that is a much more realistic goal than 25 points a game. If Burke does that he'll be in the NBA in 2012-13.
As a player, tough to say, because Burke hasn't played a college game yet. But of players I've covered, he reminds me a lot of Tory Jackson, the former Notre Dame point guard from Saginaw, Mich., except he's a better shooter than Jackson ever was. But he has similar speed, similar vision and could develop into a similar defender. Plus, Jackson was forced into playing as a freshman -- much like Burke likely will be. Don't hold me to the comparison, but that's what stands out after thinking about it for a little bit.
Spicy Bob (@SpicyBob) via Twitter: What are chances that (Devin) Gardner is starting quarterback next year?
A: I'd say approximately five percent, on the high side. I say that only because I'm a big believer in you never say never. And it is certainly possible Michigan opens up a game in 2012 in the Gardner/Denard Robinson formation, which would technically make Gardner the starting quarterback for that game. However, unless Robinson requests to move positions (not happening), leaves early (not happening), or is injured (that's where most of the five percent comes in) I have a tough time seeing Gardner replacing Robinson at quarterback until 2013.
Paul (@talpostal) via Twitter: Mike, reaction to Kim Kardashian filing for divorce? What's your Halloween costume? Bowl prediction?
A: Hitting the important stuff here. Didn't have much of a Halloween costume this year -- went basically as a guy wearing a shirt, tie and coat to a party. Said I was a businessman waiting for a bus that never came. Sad to hear Kim Kardashian filed for divorce. Thought they were going to make it.
Bowl prediction: Right now the Capital One Bowl. Have a hard time seeing the Big Ten getting two BCS teams right now, figuring Boise State, two from the SEC, Stanford and Oregon from the Pac-12, two from the Big 12 and the Big East, ACC and Big Ten auto-qualifiers. There is a lot of football left, but right now I'd go with the Capital One Bowl and a 9-3 record entering it.
Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mikerothstein.
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