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Big Ten: Outback Bowl Picks Michigan, Brandon Peters Healthy & Atop the Depth Chart, Tarik Black's Status
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4 Dec 2017 04:53 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan Wolverines quarterback Brandon Peters. (Image Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Around the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten:

New Year’s Bowl

At the end of the day, the Outback Bowl had a choice between Michigan and Michigan State and despite a worse record, they went with the Wolverines.

"We're tied in with the Big Ten and we're tied in with the Southeastern Conference, because both conferences are loaded with excellent inventory," Outback Bowl CEO and president Jim McVay said. "On the Big Ten side, we were looking at a couple of teams that you discussed (Michigan, Michigan State)."

Pitting Michigan versus South Carolina is a rematch of the 2013 Outback Bowl.

"So, whatever the decision, whatever the vote is from the board/ selection committee, that's who we're taking," McVay said. "We're very fortunate to have South Carolina and coach Will Muschamp, (and) the University of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh in our game.

"This is going to be a good one. We're excited about it."

Like the Wolverines, the Gamecocks finished the regular season 8-4, with Michigan approaching a double-digit favorite for the January 1st tussle.

Brandon’s Back

On Sunday, Michigan headman Jim Harbaugh reveled that quarterback Brandon Peters has cleared the NCAA’s concussion protocol and that he begins bowl practice as the starter under center.  

"We'll start practice with Brandon as the No. 1 quarterback," Harbaugh said.

A redshirt freshman, the highly-touted Peters had missed most of the second half of Michigan’s loss at Wisconsin and their season finale against rival Ohio State due to the concussion suffered against the Badgers.

In limited action, Peters completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 486 yards, 7.59 yards per pass, and four touchdowns to no interceptions. In comparison, his replacement senior John O’Korn, has completed 53.2 percent of his passes for 956 yards, 6.13 yards per pass, and just two touchdowns to six interceptions. The offense was simply better with Peters, despite his inexperience.

Black (Probably) Not Back

It’s not official, but it appears Brandon Peters won’t have freshman receiver Tarik Black to throw to on New Year’s Day.  

The wide receiver has returned to regular-team activities according to Jim Harbaugh, who opened the door for Black to suit up when he said, "A good possibility he could play in the bowl game," in a teleconference.

However, he appeared to backtrack when weighing playing Black versus preserving his redshirt.

"He's already played in four games this year, and right now the rule is that if he's only played in four he can get this year back as a medical redshirt," Harbaugh said. "As I sit here now, I would probably say Tarik wouldn't play. We'll get the year back."

Three actually, as Black injured his foot in Week 3 against Air Force when he caught a career-high five passes. Through three games, Black led the team with 11 receptions and his size, as well as big-play potential was missed this season. While his return would provide a major boost to the passing offense you can understand if Michigan decides to use a redshirt on the talented pass catcher.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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