Big Ten Football bowl game previews and predictions

I really need to come through with my first perfect bowl season….7-0….let’s see how I can get there….my 78-19 record needs some 8’s in it and no 2’s….so here we go.

Friday, December 27th

Texas Bowl  Syracuse (6-6, 4-4)  vs Minnesota (8-4, 4-4)     6:00pm    ESPN:  Minnesota leads the all-time series vs Syracuse 3-1…this will be the first ever bowl meeting between the two schools.  It’s tough not to go with the Gophers here…When the Orange(men) played anybody of any value, they got beat.  More times than not, they got hammered.  They lost to Penn State and at Northwestern this season but those were the first two weeks of the year.  If you like teams that want to run the football, then get your DVR ready for this game….I like how Jerry Kill preps his team for bowl games and I think his defense will shut down the Orange(men) rushing attack.  The Gophers snap their five game bowl losing streak and beat Syracuse 35-23.

Saturday, December 28th

michigan football

Jeremy Gallon (Photo by: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl  Kansas State (7-5, 5-4)  vs Michigan (7-5, 3-5)     10:15pm     ESPN: This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Wolverines gave up five more yards than the Wildcats this year…Kansas State defense ranks tied for 36th in the NCAA (tied with Nebraska by the way) and Michigan is 37th…the Wildcats however are 11 places higher in total offense than Michigan is…so who had the tougher schedule?…at least KSU head coach can say that he beat all the teams he should’ve…well except maybe North Dakota State (but they are unbeaten and still alive in the playoffs)…they lost to Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma….For the last time, I will put faith in the UM coaching staff as it gets its team ready for a must win bowl game and they will get it done.  Michigan wins 45-41.

Wednesday, January 1st

Gator Bowl  #22 Georgia (8-4, 5-3)  vs Nebraska (8-4, 5-3)     Noon     ESPN2: The all-time series is tied at 1-1.  Including meeting in the Capital One bowl back on January 1st of this year…This wasn’t even a good game back in January….Georgia won by two TD’s…why would the Gator Bowl want this matchup?…because both schools put butts in the seats..that’s why.  Georgia’s schedule looks impressive…lost by three to Clemson, lost by 15 to Missouri, lost by 5 to Auburn…but the puzzling one is losing by 4 at Vanderbilt.  I know the Commodores are a bowl team…but still..that isn’t a game that Georgia usually loses.  One thing you cannot dismiss is the Dawgs have trouble with mobile QB’s…especially when you look back at those losses…Tajh Boyd at Clemson, James Franklin at Mizzou and Nick Marshall at Auburn…But will the QB play from Nebraska, whomever is playing be good enough to beat a three loss SEC team?…I don’t think so…Nebraska hasn’t proven itself to be consistent enough to win this game.  Georgia beats the same Big Ten team twice in 365 days..Dawgs win 35-21..

Outback Bowl  #16 LSU (9-3, 5-3)  vs  Iowa (8-4, 5-3)     1pm     ESPN:  Iowa has won the only previous meeting between the two schools back in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.  Ok…there aren’t many Iowa victories that stand out to me…the 1985 UM-Iowa game…Rob Houghton…the only other one was the 2005 Capital One Bowl vs LSU…when Drew Tate found WR Warren Holloway for a 56 yard TD as time expired to win the game was probably one of the best moments of the 2004-05 bowl season….but now Iowa gets to face the Mad Hatter coaching LSU..this is one of the rare seasons in which I really haven’t heard anything from or about the LSU Tigers this season…think about it….they were ranked pretty high early on too….they lost to Georgia, lost to Mississippi, then lost to Bama…this team hammered A&M and they have been the only team to have beaten Auburn this year…athletically, LSU is superior…they have a 3000 yard passer and an 1100 yard rusher…I think Iowa hangs, but the Tigers skill position players will be better than Iowa’s…and the Hawkeyes will have trouble moving the ball.  LSU wins 31-20.

Capital One Bowl  #9 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2)  vs #19 Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2)     1pm     ABC:  This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.  The Badgers come into this game with the 6th ranked defense in the NCAA and allowing just 294 yards per game…the Gamecocks aren’t far behind at 18th and allowing 345 yards…but offense is where the Badgers hold an edge…Wisconsin is 18th in total offense and SC is 33rd…but I also doubt that the Old Ball coach has seen a team that likes to run as much as Wisconsin does…they didn’t play Bama or Auburn…plus, I think coach Andersen is a little upset at the Badgers last outing…the home loss to Penn State…I think that the Badgers will come out upset and wanting to prove a point….Badgers shut down the South Carolina defense and rush for 270 yards.  Wisconsin wins 33-25.

big ten footballRose Bowl  #5 Stanford (11-2, 7-2)  vs #4 Michigan State (12-1, 8-0)     5pm     ESPN:  Michigan State leads the all-time series vs Stanford 3-2…they have only met once in a bowl game and that was the 1996 Sun Bowl that Stanford won 38-0…and that was their last meeting.  Michigan State will be playing the PAC 12 equivalent of itself when it faces the Cardinal on January 1.  The Spartan offense is as good as it needs to be, but the Cardinal offense plays just as physical as the Spartan defense plays.  This matchup will remind a lot of old-timers of throwback football…run the ball, only throw of you have to…don’t forget the TE’s or the FB’s and play great defense…To go along with everything else that has happened in the last 5 years or so….everything lately seem to be coming up Sparty…so I can’t really see them losing this game either….if they somehow could’ve gotten into the National Championship game, they would’ve won that too….but on January 1st, the Spartans will beat Stanford 8-3 in a blowout win. The game won’t be as close as the score indicates either.

Friday, January 3rd

Orange Bowl  #12 Clemson (10-2, 7-1)  vs #7 Ohio State (12-1, 8-0)     8:30pm     ESPN: Clemson has won the only meeting between these two schools…Let’s call this matchup Rocky II….it was around 35 years ago when Clemson LB Charlie Bauman intercepted an Art Schlichter pass and was soon after slugged by Ohio State legendary coach Woody Hayes for doing so after Bauman was tackled on the Buckeye sideline.  Woody Hayes was fired the next day.  These teams are a lot alike in the sense that they both have offenses that can strike from anywhere on the field…and they both have defenses that will allow that to happen at any time…although for the second straight week I could’ve swore I heard OSU coach Urban Meyer say “We have some things we need to work on defensively..we’ll get that done”….yeah..ok Urb…good luck with that.  I like the Buckeyes to win though…Braxton Miller wants to show everyone he is better than Clemson QB Tajh Boyd…they will both have huge games…but Braxton gets the W…Ohio State beats Clemson 56-50.

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