The season is now over. We don’t need to project anymore wins or losses just who’s going where this bowl season. We’ll all know for sure tomorrow but until then here’s my best take on what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing happening this bowl season.
Breakdown: Well we already know this matchup given the results of the championship games. I actually think this will be a lot closer then most estimate. It should be a traditional smash mouth game given the limitations of both quarterbacks and the dynamic duos in the backfield. I don’t think Wisconsin though will be able to hold up over 60 minutes. Stanford’s D has shown they will. The Cardinal have perhaps the best front 7 outside the SEC.
Breakdown: Northwestern was so close to being undefeated this year and this is their reward? Yikes or should I say that’s rather appropriate if they want to be elite. This is a rematch of last year’s Meineke Car Care Bowl although with distinctly different styles. Johnny Manziel has to be licking his chops given Northwestern’s inability to stop mobile quarterbacks although the Wildcats option based rushing attack won’t be stymied by SEC speed. I think it comes down to the secondary’s and that’s where the Aggies have a big advantage.
Breakdown: This should be one of the best bowl watches during the “second season”. Michigan will probably stay with Devin Gardner at quarterback as they transition away from Denard Robinson but expect “shoelace” in a variety of formations. South Carolina will have to decide which quarterback they want to use to attack the Michigan D. I expect Connor Shaw‘s power running game to be the call especially given the Marcus Lattimore injury. Michigan’s depth isn’t its strong suit.
Breakdown: Talk about two teams that will want to play this one ASAP. Nebraska was demolished in the Big Ten Championship game while Mississippi State started off strong but faded badly late in the season. Nebraska will clearly want to run the ball with the Rex Burkhead/Ameer Abdullah backfield to stay away from the solid Bulldogs secondary. This game should be close and could come down to the kicking game.
Breakdown: Sparty is lucky to even be in this game and they’ll be ready to play. TCU changed quarterbacks and styles through their season. This is more of a running team now. I think Michigan State will be able to wear down an overrated TCU defense.
Breakdown: Purdue clearly came into this season with high expectations but they failed to live up to them. However, they still have some pros on defense and a decent run game. Baylor meanwhile has an explosive passing attack but they can’t play a lick of defense. It should be an entertaining contrast of styles!
Breakdown: Ok, no more sugar coating. This is a game you’ll want to avoid. Minnesota is breaking in freshman Philip Nelson and he has struggled. They have a solid defensive line though that should be able to contain whichever mobile quarterback Iowa State goes with. Both teams are the definition of mediocre.
Like my article? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter (@tmichaelcronin). I look forward to your thoughts.