I’m not so sure it’s that far out of reach. As long as Michigan keeps on par with OSU and more importantly, beats them in AA, I think they’ll jump them in the S Curve.
I don’t see Xavier or Cincy jumping either Michigan school, specifically for monetary reasons. What I can see, is placing them both in the same bracket to play each other in round 2 should they both advance.
That to me leaves MSU or Michigan for the second spot with Purdue. It all boils down to keeping pace on record with the teams 5-12 in the Big Ten. From there, I really believe the Purdue games are the ultimate determining factor. Assuming Michigan knocks off OSU in AA, if MSU beats Purdue at home and Michigan loses at Purdue, MSU goes to Detroit. If MSU loses to Purdue or Michigan wins at Purdue, I could very easily see Michigan jumping them on the S Curve.
Long LONG way to go, but for all the above I’m making the assumption these teams are on par Big Ten record-wise.