Back in the first week of August, three Michigan seniors enumerated their goals for the upcoming season:

Bring home a National Championship.

Hoist a Big Ten Championship Trophy.

Beat Ohio State.

Oh, and win their bowl game.

So far, the seniors are 0-3 – the same as their career bowl record.

And now, the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 is unranked Michigan’s last chance to salvage any of those preseason goals.

The only obstacle?

A 9-3 Florida team quarterbacked by the lone sophomore in NCAA history to take home the Heisman Trophy – man-child Tim Tebow.

The trio of running back Mike Hart, quarterback Chad Henne and left tackle Jake Long all spurned the NFL for one last chance to cement their legacy.

On the individual side, there’s no question they did just that. Hart and Henne will leave Michigan as the career leaders in several statistical categories in their respective positions.

Meanwhile, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr always made it a point to praise Long, an Outland Trophy finalist and first-team All-American.

Carr said the trainers told him Henne (shoulder) and Hart (ankle) will both be ready to go for the bowl game.

Speaking of Carr, this coming New Year’s Day will also be his last roaming the Wolverines’ sideline. The face of the Michigan football program for the past 13 years announced his retirement Nov. 19.

“I admire Lloyd Carr,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a teleconference. “I’ve had the chance to meet him, and I have a great respect for him.”

But the reputations of the three decorated seniors and outgoing coach have been marred by late-season failures the past four seasons.

0-4 against Ohio State.

0-3 in bowl games.

The Wolverines still have a chance to alter the latter, even though some feel the three seniors have already done enough to etch their names in Wolverine lore.

“I don’t think that will be how they look at it,” said running backs coach Fred Jackson regarding the winless record against Ohio State and in bowl games. “They’ll look at each year being a year based on how well we did, and just go to a bowl game and win a bowl game and send them out that way.”

After all the heat Carr and his seniors have endured this season with the 0-2 start and the 0-2 finish, an upset win might be just the way to end the unpredictable season.

Michigan (6-2 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) will arrive in Orlando the third-largest underdog in the bowl season (Florida is a 10-point favorite).

Beside the clear mismatch Tebow and the Gator spread offense bring to the field, the Wolverines, who are already unranked, stand the chance of finishing outside the Associated Press Top 25 for just the second time in the last 19 years.

But these seniors don’t need to be reminded.

They were members of that other team. They lost to Nebraska in the 2005 Alamo Bowl.

And this coming Jan. 1 will be their chance to make good on one last goal.

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