The key here is the Big Ten putting a second team into the BCS (which Michigan has a lot to say about).
The Gator Bowl will share, with the Insight Bowl, the third and fourth pick in the Big Ten Conference after the BCS.
The Gator Bowl and the Insight Bowl will each submit, to the Big Ten Conference, their team selection…Should each Bowl desire the same team, the selection order will be decided by the flip of a coin..
[from the Gator Bowl press release distributed to U-M media]
I think most projectionators are still assuming that the Gator gets pick #3. That’s false.
All these sources above assume two Big Ten teams will make the BCS and it’ll come down to Michigan and Penn State for those third and fourth spots. Assuming Penn State is the team of choice (JoePa’s last game, beat Michigan, etc.), then it’s likely both bowls will select the Nittany Lions it will come down to the coin toss to determine who gets them.
The bigger issue for Michigan: If the Wolverines drop their next two games and Northwestern can take down the sinking Illini ship this weekend, the Cats will end up with better conference and overall records and could nudge Ol’ Mich out of that fourth slot. Northwestern to the Gator Bowl!