Dashing Through Ten Bowls...
Hard to believe we are almost through football season and into B1G hoops season. Time flies when you're having fun. It will be a busy holiday season for the greatest conference in college sports as ten, yes TEN teams are going bowling.
Dan Meyer is picking with me for the first time all season. Which is great EXCEPT I deleted the email with his picks! Sorry Dan. Hope you still have 'em!
Without further ado, my picks (Dan's to follow) and warm holiday greetings for a fantastic Christmas and New Year!
Little Caesar's Bowl - Western Michigan v. Purdue, 12/27 @ 4:30PM on ESPN
Purdue is thrilled to be in bowl season, if not to be going to dank and damp Detroit. A few player no-nos are depleting the roster a bit and you have to expect that the Broncos will be ready to raise the roof at Ford Field. WMU should have beaten Illinois and was really some early big plays against away from a possible to the wire finish with Michigan. I like Western's offense against this defense and sorry Boilers, the first black eye for the Big Ten this bowl season. Western Michigan 34 - Purdue 27.
Insight Bowl - Oklahoma v. Iowa, 12/30 @ 10PM on ESPN
Well, a lot of folks were wondering if Iowa might bite a disinterested OU squad. I was leaning that way until Marcus Coker got the hook for the game. I think this is a chance for Oklahoma to finish strong and make a statement for next season. Iowa just doesn't have the horses, especially with last year's Insight Bowl hero Coker left behind for the trip. What is it with Iowa RBs at this time of year? Closer than expected but an 0-2 hole for the B1G to start the bowl campaign. Oklahoma 38 - Iowa 28.
Meineke Car Care Bowl - Texas A&M v. Northwestern, 12/31 @ 12PM on ESPN
Is this the year the Wildcats break free and get that elusive bowl win (first since 1949)? The Aggies are in a coaching transition and while at time they looked like a Top 15 team this season, the swoons have been maddening. Northwestern fought off a tough start to finish strong and has great motivation in this one. I like Northwestern to get over the hump and beat future SEC member A&M in a barn burner. Northwestern 41 - Texas A&M 38
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - UCLA v. Illinois, 12/31 @ 3:30PM on ESPN
How about we call this the "Neither Team Deserves to Go" Bowl, or the "This is an example of why 35 bowls is too many" Bowl! Seriously. UCLA is 6-7 and between coaches. Illinois is 6-6, on a six game losing binge and in between coaches. I'm not impressed. I like Illinois to get a win though to build momentum for 2012. Illinois 23 - UCLA 14.
Ticket City Bowl - Houston v. Penn State, 1/2 @ 12PM on ESPNU
Houston went from BCS shoe in to bowl game afterthought. Penn State got the hose from the bowls because of something beyond these players' control. The Cougars are without their head coach. The Nittany Lions are in a similar boat. One team scores at will. The other stops teams at will. With the rust of the down time, defense is usually sharper in these games and I'm going to give the nod to Penn State... although the altercation between teammates that has Matt McGloin questionable is giving me pause. Penn State 17 - Houston 14
Gator Bowl - Florida v. Ohio State, 1/2 @ 1PM on ESPN2Ahh the Urban Meyer Bowl. Given the recent news that Ohio State will not bowl in 2012-13, it makes this that much more important to the Buckeyes. I haven't been at all impressed with the Gators this season and think Boom, Braxton and Posey rule the day. Ohio State 30 - Florida 20.
Outback Bowl - Georgia v. Michigan State, 1/2 @ 1PM on ABC
Much like last year's Capital One Bowl, this is one of the best non BCS matchups of the bowl season. The difference? The teams are very evenly matched in this one. Both lost in their Conference Championship Games, though Michigan State was more stung by their loss than UGA. The motivation for MSU is the 0fer they are riding. As in 0-4 under Coach Dantonio in bowls, and 0-5 in the last five. Motivation is there too to wipe out the stigma of last year's debacle. I think Michigan State turns it on in the second half and puts a nice beating on the SEC for the B1G. Michigan State 31 - UGA 17
Capital One Bowl - South Carolina v. Nebraska, 1/2 @ 1PM on ESPN
This is an interesting one. South Carolina would be the pick if Lattimore was still churning out yards. But I like the way that Nebraska can ride the legs of T-Mart and Burkhead. The Cornhusker D and special teams can also shine. I like a low scoring but huge win for the B1G over the SEC. Nebraska 18 - South Carolina 17
Rose Bowl - Oregon v. Wisconsin, 1/2 @ 5PM on ABC
The Granddaddy of them all. A game I so wish my Spartans were in. And frankly, a game that I think would have been better for the Big Ten matchups wise. It will be interesting to see how the size and strength of UW fares against the speed of the Ducks. UW will probably be without their O.C. but still has Wilson and Ball. Both teams are hungry for a win here and I think it will be a close game for 3 quarters. Problem is, the Badgers are a lot like Stanford in style and I don't think that cuts it in this game. Oregon 45 - Wisconsin 33
Sugar Bowl - Virginia Tech v. Michigan, 1/3 @ 8:30PM on ESPN
This one should be called the "Neither Team Deserves the BCS" Bowl. At least the Hokies got to their conference title game... but I digress. I'm really not sure what to expect here. I think both teams could explode on the other and bring electric QB play to the fold. In what looks to be an even match on both sides of the ball, I'm going with Beamer Ball (Special Teams) to be the difference. Va Tech 30 - Michigan 28.