Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and Belk Bowl Previews

December 27, 2011
By K. Becks

I don’t think that I’ve sat this well this early in the College Bowl Mania game since I started playing it five seasons ago.

With a 5-3 record and just 16 points behind first place, I couldn’t ask for much more thus far.

Well, that’s not completely true. I would’ve liked for San Diego State to win the New Orleans Bowl, but that will be forgotten if I win anyways.

Here is the preview for today’s games. For the first time since the opening weekend of the bowl game, fans will get more than a single helping of college football in one day.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Western Michigan vs. Purdue

There are three reasons why I love this bowl game regardless of who is playing in it. One is that it is indoors, and for some reason I love the games played in domes. The second reason is that this game always seems to provide some late game excitement, such as a last second field goal to win the game. The third reason I love this bowl game is because this year, I am going to get to see it in person.

The Western Michigan Broncos have a secret, and they are going to let the rest of the nation in on it this evening. Jordan White leads college football in receptions and total yards on the year, and is second in yards per game and touchdowns. However, because he plays in a MAC school that isn’t a household name, he is relatively unknown. After this game, there is a pretty good chance that he won’t be. The Broncos have a very powerful offense that is capable of scoring 60+ points in a game (as they have done twice already this season). Purdue brings in a defense a little more athletic than most of the MAC offenses who have been trying to stop White and Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder, but they will still provide an offensive spark in this game.

In order for Purdue to win, they will need to keep up offensively with what Western Michigan is able to do. The Boilermakers are capable of doing this, because the Broncos have a terrible run defense, which is where Purdue excels. However, their best rusher Ralph Bolden tore his ACL in the Indiana game and will be unavailable for this game. Someone else on the Boilermaker offense is going to have to step up, and big, if they want to keep up in what should be an offensively dominated ballgame. 

Western Michigan should have the motivation since they don’t get to play in a bowl game that often, and I don’t like the fact that Purdue is without their top rushing option. The Broncos are going to have to make a few stops on defense, but I think that their offense will be electric in this game and will shock the Boilermakers. I have Western Michigan for 1 point in the College Bowl Mania game in a minor upset.

Final Score: 41-38 Western Michigan

Belk Bowl

Louisville vs. NC State

Both of these teams played are coming into this bowl game hot. NC State won three of its last four games, including the season finale against Maryland in which the Wolfpack had to overcome a 31-point deficit in order to win. Louisville may have missed out on a BCS bowl, but still won five of its last six and played its best football near the end of the year. In other words, motivation should not be a factor in this game.

Louisville is a very interesting team. They are last in the Big East in points scored per game (21.8) but are second in the league in points allowed per game (19.2). While the Cardinals get it done of defense, in four of their last five games they managed to score at least 27 points (their only loss being the game in which they failed to score that many). In order to win this game, Louisville is going to need to force NC State quarterback Mike Glennon into making bad decisions. Glennon is what makes the Wolfpack offense click and can make the Cardinals pay if they sit back and let him throw.

NC State will be relying on Mike Glennon a lot in order to win this game. Glennon is involved in the majority of the Wolfpack’s offensive production, as NC State ranked next to last in the ACC in yards per game on the ground. This will be a difficult task against a solid Louisville defense, but will be made easier due to the fact that the Cardinals do not force that many turnovers. As long as Glennon does not force anything, he should be able to have a solid day and keep his team in the game. NC State is essentially playing a home game (it is being played in Charlotte) and will have the crowd behind them if the game comes down to the final minutes.

This one could be considered a toss-up, because both teams are pretty even. However, I like the fact that Louisville finished off the season so strong. NC State cannot be counted out no matter how big of a deficit they face, but I believe that Louisville’s defense can hold a lead if they have one heading into the fourth quarter. I have Louisville for 12 points in the College Bowl Mania game.

Final Score: 24-17 Louisville

- K. Becks

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