Since Michigan lost by only 3 points, on the road, to the #1 team in the country, it didn't hurt their ranking much, and it leaves the distinct possibility of a rematch for the national championship (on a neutral field, to boot)
The rematch basically comes down to next week, when Notre Dame plays USC on the road. USC has the best change of overtaking Michigan in the BCS rankings, and a win over Notre Dame would guarantee that to happen. However, if Notre Dame pulls out the win, it increases Michigan's strength of the schedule to the point, where I don't think any other team can catch them.
A Notre Dame win over USC should be enough to guarantee a rematch, but there are still two SEC teams that overtake Michigan,depending on how the season plays out. In an ideal world, LSU beats Arkansas, and then Arkansas defeats Florida in the SEC championship. That scenario would guarantee a rematch.
Key Remaining Matchups:
- 11/24 Arkansas vs LSU 2:30 PM (An Arkansas loss would knock the Razerbacks out of contention)
- 11/25 Florida at Florida State 12:00 PM (A Florida loss would knock the Gators out of contention)
- 11/25 USC vs. Notre Dame 8:00 PM (A USC loss would knock the Trojans out of contention)
- 12/02 USC at UCLA 4:30 PM (If USC manages to get by the Fighting Irish, this is one last chance for a loss)
- 12/02 SEC Championship Arkansas vs. Florida 6:00 PM (One last chance for either Arkansas or Florida to lose)
Each of the three contenders (USC, Florida and Arkansas) have two chances left to lose. #3 USC has to play #6 Notre Dame, who is 10-1, with only a loss to #2 Michigan. #5 Arkansas has to play #9 LSU, who is 9-2 and then #4 Florida. #4 Florida has to play in-state rival Florida State, and then #5 Arkansas. There is a good chance all three teams will lose one more game. The most important matchup will be USC vs. Notre Dame, because if USC loses, there is a very good chance Michigan will play in the national title game, regardless of how Arkansas and Florida finish out the season.
The worst case scenario for Michigan is that they represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl against USC or Cal. It's been a very good season as a Wolverine fan, and regardless of how things play out in the upcoming weeks, I am proud of what this team has accomplished.