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Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters, right, opened Outback Bowl practices as Michigan's No. 1 quarterback.

Michigan football mailbag: QB Brandon Peters preparing for Outback Bowl

Rachel Lenzi

Have Michigan football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Michigan mailbag to talk all things Wolverines. This week, we discuss Brandon Peters’ probable start in the Outback Bowl, if Michigan is the 2018 Big Ten Conference favorite and Chase Winovich’s hair color for the bowl game.

Is Brandon Peters starting in the Outback Bowl? — Ryan Markham, via Facebook

Who is the quarterback for the Outback Bowl for Michigan? — Gary Rogers, via Facebook

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said prior to the start of Outback Bowl practices that “we’ll start practice with Brandon as the No. 1 quarterback.”

Michigan has been pretty much airtight when it comes to naming its starting quarterback, especially as of late. Typically, the fans and the media find out right before the first snap of a game who will be the starter, after weeks of anticipation and questioning.

Peters is practicing; Michigan released a video Tuesday of its first practice for the Outback Bowl, with footage of Peters throwing. Take from that what you will.

Harbaugh, meanwhile, is also thinking long-term when it comes to his quarterbacks, especially with the addition of Shea Patterson for 2018. He issued a certain challenge to Peters last week.

“As I told all three of the quarterbacks at the same time, the only thing that’s guaranteed here is an opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “If I was the mindset of Brandon Peters, I would say, ‘Brandon, this is how you should think.’ He’s the starting quarterback, he should take this job and run with it and nobody’s going to take that away from him.”

Is Michigan the Big Ten favorite next year? — Brandon Grierson, via Facebook

On paper, the Big Ten is stacked. Here are some of the top teams, in no particular order: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin …

Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt released his “Way (WAY) Too Early” Top 10 for 2018, and put Michigan at No. 3 — two spots ahead of Ohio State. (Klatt also advocated for Michigan’s quarterback play, particularly Brandon Peters.)

Given the number of returning starters next season, including defensive end Rashan Gary, linebacker Devin Bush and the addition of quarterback transfer Patterson (whose eligibility still has not been determined), Michigan has a shot to be among the 2018 favorites for the conference title.

There’s also a few bowl games that need to be played, and a strong Outback Bowl showing will help Michigan’s cause to be considered as a Big Ten favorite. Once we get through those and spring practices, the prognostications should be sharper. Let’s revisit this question in January, and again in April.

Is Chase Winovich’s hair going to be orange for the Outback Bowl? – Billyro Rose, via Facebook

Winovich began a fundraising effort for the ChadTough Foundation with a modest goal of $15,000. If he reached that, the defensive end said he would dye his hair orange. Several teammates have joined the cause, and it’s not only become a touchstone for the Michigan fan base and the players, but also one of college football’s current feel-good stories.

The campaign has raised nearly $140,000 (you can continue to donate through Winovich’s CrowdRise Page), which will go toward research for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), an inoperable tumor on the brain stem. Children who are diagnosed with DIPG have, at best, a year to live after an initial diagnosis.

So, yes, expect Winovich’s hair to be bright orange. Ditto for Maurice Hurst, Grant Newsome and Devin Bush. Defensive coordinator Don Brown is also expected to dye his mustache orange for the cause.

Do we know if anyone is sitting out the bowl game yet? — Brian Yonkoski, via Facebook

We don’t know if anyone has decided to sit out the Outback Bowl, but Harbaugh said last week that Hurst plans to play in the bowl game next week. Hurst is a fifth-year senior and a defensive tackle who is projected to be a first-round draft pick.

Offensive lineman Mason Cole is a true senior who will play in the Outback Bowl, as well. Winovich will also play in the bowl game, yet has not publicly declared if he will forgo his final year of eligibility for the NFL.

Have a question about Michigan football? Tweet us @Landof10Mich and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Michigan football mailbags here.