Big Ten Football bowl week preview and predictions

Michigan Football QB Devin Gardner

Big Ten Football Bowl Season Preview

First and foremost…my most sincere and happiest of Holiday greetings to everyone this season….spend your time with your family and friends….when push comes to shove…that’s all that matters…..enjoy your time.

Now…on with the football..

My Record:   67-30…….69.1%

Minnesota (6-6, 2-6)  vs  Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)    Friday, December 28th     ESPN    9:00pm:  The Red Raiders lead the all-time series with the Gophers 1-0 beating them in the Insight.com Bowl in 2006 44-41.  Minnesota will be trying to end a 4 game bowl losing streak on Friday night…I would like to rename this bowl the Who-can-get-out-of-town-the-fastest Bowl….was it Gopher WR AJ Barker who was the team leader in in receiving yards (577) and TD receptions (7) or was it former Texas Tech coach Tommy Tubberville who left Lubbock for the….college football hotbed of the University of Cincinnati….there have been a lot of “What the?” moments this college football season…but none really got me thinking more than Tubberville leaving Texas Tech for Cincinnati….that athletic department must really be messed up to have a coach like that leave….despite all the troubles, the Raiders still have enough talent on the field to beat Minnesota…Red Raiders win 45-17.

Michigan State (6-6, 3-5)  vs  Texas Christian (7-5, 4-5)   Saturday, December 29th    ESPN   10:15pm:   The Spartans lead the all-time series 1-0 with a 26-19 victory back in 1953 in East Lansing.  This could be a pretty important bowl game for both of these teams…it could be a nice step forward going into the 2013 season…both teams have sound defenses…both have offenses that underachieved in 2012 and both would love to win this game and use it for momentum…the nuts and bolts of it though is here…I’m not sure if Michigan State has played a defense as tough as the Horned Frogs….and TCU head coach Gary Patterson knows that if they can contain LaVeon Bell then his chances of winning increase greatly….looked for stacked boxes and more blitzes than Santa can shake a candy cane at from the Frogs….I like TCU to win one of ugliest bowl games of the season…TCU wins 11-6.

Northwestern (9-3, 5-3)  vs  Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4)    Tuesday, January 1st    ESPN2    12:00pm:   This will be the first meeting between the two schools….both schools are in the middle of the pack in the NCAA in total defense..NW is 52nd and MSU is 59th..the Wildcats have the edge in total offense….and I think this is the year that Pat Fitzgerald gets the 9 game bowl losing streak off of his university’s back…Kain Colter and Venric Mark will be too much for the Bulldogs to stop…Northwestern also had a pretty stout defense in 2012…against the run, they were 18th in the NCAA…and that probably will improve because the Bulldogs are awful at running the football…but Big Ten fans…this will be the only game that your conference will win…so revel in it…go out and buy Northwestern Wildcats 2013 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl Champs t-shirts.  The Wildcats win and up the expectations in Evanston with a 45-37 breath-taker…

Purdue (6-6, 3-5)  vs  Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4)     Tuesday, January 1st     ESPNU     12:00pm:  Purdue leads the all-time series vs Oklahoma State 1-0…the Boilermakers beat the Cowboys in the 1997 Alamo Bowl 33-20….Mike Gundy brings his “man” show to Heart of Dallas Bowl to battle with the Boilermakers…Patrick Higgins will call the plays for Purdue while newly hired coach Darrell Hazell, who is coaching the Kent State Golden Flashes for one more game, will not officially join Purdue until after his bowl game on Sunday, January 6th.  I know the Gundy thing happened over 5 years ago…but it’s just one those things that is hard for me to let go…Purdue with an interim coach, puts its modest two game bowl winning streak (not to mention an undefeated record vs OSU) on the line…Purdue just can’t have anything left in the tank…a lot of these bowl games are very tough to figure out…what is the Boilermakers state of mind?..will Oklahoma State be ready to play?…if so why?..it’s hard to tell…but if any semblance of the Purdue team I saw this year shows up….the Cowboys win…OSU beats the Boilers 48-24.

Michigan (8-4, 6-2)  vs  South Carolina (10-2, 6-2)     Tuesday, January 1st    ESPN     1:00pm:  The all-time series between the two schools is tied at 1-1…each team beat the other on the road…this will be the first neutral site meeting…Al Borges…as far as I am concerned, you are calling plays for your job…with the exception of the Bama game (but I think you could have done more in that game) you have cost your team the ND game, the Nebraska game, the OSU game and you were INCREDIBLY lucky to win the Sugar Bowl last year…you have almost 5 weeks to put together a game plan that illustrates all of your teams strengths…please use your time wisely…granted this will be your toughest test this season…so it’s been said…with no real running game to speak of and a passing game that is in its late experimental phase, you certainly have a tough road to travel….the winning score will probably be a defensive stand…both offenses have Herculean struggles for vast majority of games…imagine how this game would look had Marcus Lattimore not been hurt?….now THAT is scary…Gamecocks beat the Wolverines 10-6.

Nebraska (10-3, 7-1)  vs  Georgia (11-2, 7-1)     Tuesday, January 1st     ABC     1:00pm: The Corn leads the all-time series 1-0 with a 45-6 victory in the 1969 Sun Bowl…see folks…this is another one…I think we pretty much know what we are going to get from the Corn..but how does Georgia come into this one…?   Are they really going to be fired up to play a Nebraska team that got their butt handed to them in the “Big Ten title game”….how can you tell?…I would be shocked if Nebraska is in this game in the 3rd quarter…if they are half of the Bulldog defense must’ve been injured…The Dawgs may be sleepwalking through the 1st half, but they will rebound in time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat…I also predict a 3 turnover day from Corn QB Taylor Martinez…the SEC (Georgia) will again dominate the Big Ten (Nebraska)…Georgia wins 36-29.

Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4)  vs  Stanford (11-2, 8-1)     Tuesday, January 1st     ESPN     5:00pm:  The Badgers have never lost to the Cardinal….4 wins and a tie…the Badgers won the last meeting in Pasadena on January 1st 2000 17-9….You talk about interesting…Brett Bielema left his perch…high atop Mt Cheddar Jack in Madison to take a job in the swamps of Arkansas?….Really?…it must’ve been for a lot of cheese…and he left a lot of cheese…I think we will find out a lot about what Bielema brings to the table with this move…other than an incredible hunger for dairy products…I know he was hired by Barry Alvarez and with him staring down at his every move, Brett ran the offense Barry ran…Run it and play slightly better than average defense….but is that really what Bielema wants to run?…we now get the chance to find out…I am not so sure that style (we will call it the eat-n-run offense) will work so well in the SEC…so how many years will he be there?…I say two and a half….oh yeah..Stanford wins the Rose Bowl 23-20.

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