Michigan heading to Outback Bowl

After Sunday's mini-surprise with the Capital One Bowl, Michigan moved up a spot in the pecking order and will face an SEC opponent in the Outback Bowl. According to a release, Michigan will face a "Top 10" SEC foe to be announced later today.

The Wolverines (8-4) likely will face South Carolina on Jan. 1 in Tampa. Brady Hoke's team makes its first trip to the Outback Bowl since 2002, when it beat Florida 38-30.

Northwestern looked like the Capital One Bowl's pick Saturday night after Wisconsin stomped Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. But sources told ESPN.com that Big Ten and SEC leaders lobbied for the title game losers -- Nebraska and Georgia -- for the Capital One Bowl.

The Capital One Bowl couldn't select Michigan ahead of a Nebraska team with two more wins than the Wolverines. The Outback Bowl was able to pick 8-4 Michigan ahead of 9-3 Northwestern, a team the Wolverines defeated Nov. 10 in Ann Arbor.