Fans from both the Michigan Wolverines and the Kansas State Wildcats have many things to be happy about this year. The year of 2013 may not have brought either squad exactly what they had aspirations of achieving but both teams are fortunate enough to be participating in a Bowl game this season. Not just any bowl, the two teams will be squaring off in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. To some the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl may not conjure up memories of some of the more prestigious bowls in college football history, but the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will be offering fans and athletes alike of the two programs a reprieve from the frigid temperatures of their home states.
For any fans in search of beautiful weather, Tempe Arizona the site of the game, is offering temperatures at a high of 68 degrees on game day. In comparison the Wildcats will be leaving behind highs of 43 degrees on game day and the Wolverines will undoubtedly not miss the high of 25 degrees at game time in Ann Arbor. What does this warm weather mean? This warm weather means a game that will feature a surprising display of offense by both teams which should make for an extremely entertaining football game.
Both the Wildcats and the Wolverines average over 33 points per game in 2013 and neither team features a particularly stifling defense. Warm weather and the excitement of a bowl game will provide the perfect atmosphere for both of these offenses to have large days. Additionally the time off may have seen two coaching staffs recruiting vigorously for their programs, but both Wolverine Coach Brady Hoke and Wildcat Coach Bill Snyder have undoubtedly been energetically game planning as well. Two veteran coaches both are well aware of the importance of momentum in a highly passionate and competitive bowl game. Momentum will come from that first score at each subsequent point change.
Another momentum changer is of course is takeaway’s. Defenses should be well aware of the gambles quarterbacks who have been sidelined for a couple of weeks are likely to take down the field. An interesting statistic to keep an eye for this contest is the frequency in which each of the two participants turn the football over. The Wildcats are currently in last place in the Big 12 in the category of ball security turning over the football an average of twice per contest. The Wolverines are not a whole lot better with only the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Penn State Nittany Lions turning the ball over more in the Big Ten. The Wolverines turn the ball over at a rate of 1.67 times a game.
For the Wildcats, quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams will have the main responsibility of maintaining possession of the football. Both quarterbacks have been productive for the Wildcats in 2013 but Waters, the transfer from Iowa Western Community College, struggled with nine interceptions in 2013 his first year with the team. Sams threw for four interceptions this season. The Wolverines have not shared as many snaps under center this season, but their quarterback Devin Gardner definitely was guilty of being a bit careless with the football early in the season. Gardner has 11 this year.
Ultimately, the game may come down to how legendary coach Bill Self can contain Gardner and all of the explosive weapons he has positioned around him, including but not limited to Jeremy Gallon, Devin Funchess, and Fitzgerald Toussaint. In the end, the Wolverines will have a bit too much talent for the Wildcats to contain.