2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Preview

December 26, 2012

The Hawaii Bowl did it to me again.

It is safe to say that I will never again pick against June Jones when he brings a team to Honolulu, as this is the second time in the past four years that SMU has gone to the island and whipped a team that was heavily favored to win.

Not only did the lopsided loss make me look like a fool because of this article, but I also lost 33 points in the Bowl Mania game.

Today is a new day though, and I don’t think I have lost enough total points (37) to be considered dead in the water. I’m still in first place, and there is a lot of football left to be played this bowl season.

Here is the preview for the game taking place on December 26th.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Wednesday, 7:30 PM ET)

Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan

I don’t care what anyone says, this is one of my favorite bowl games on the schedule. I have actually attended the game in person and will make the argument that a bowl game played in a controlled climate is much more fun to watch than a game played in the freezing cold. Not only is it better for the fans, but the players are warmer as well which usually results in better football. Tonight’s game features the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Central Michigan Chippewas, and you usually have to wonder about the quality of such a game when both schools have to let you know where exactly in the state it is located. But I think this game has the potential to be very exciting…and besides, what else are you doing on Boxing Day?

There is nothing that really stands out about Central Michigan. Zurlon Tipton is a solid tailback and Ryan Radcliff brings some grit to the quarterback position, but for the most part the Chippewas are pretty average statistically. The only reason that Dan Enos’s team even got a bid to a bowl game is because Louisiana Tech didn’t accept an Independence Bowl invitation which set off a chain of events opening a spot for the Chippewas. But that alone could be enough to make Central Michigan players feel slighted, which can be an important motivation boost in a bowl game. In addition, the Chippewas are essentially playing a home game.

While level of excitement will be a determining factor in how well Central Michigan plays, there is no doubt that Western Kentucky is excited to be in Detroit. The Hilltoppers are making their first ever bowl appearance, and this season’s berth comes just a year after the team was passed over despite finishing with the same record (7-5) as it did this season. Western Kentucky is led on offense by running back Antonio Andrews, who has a shot of breaking the single season NCAA record for all-purpose yards set by Barry Sanders in 1988. However, while Andrews will be the fireworks for Western Kentucky, the defense will actually determine the overall success of the team. The Hilltoppers are one of the best defensive squads in the Sun Belt, and the team is being coached in this game by defensive coordinator Lance Guidry after former head coach Willie Taggart left for South Florida.

This game is interesting because it is very difficult to predict how it will turn out. If Western Kentucky is strong defensively, this game could be low-scoring. However, both teams have shown the ability to score in the high 30s and 40s, which suggests this could be an offensive shootout. I like Western Kentucky either way, and have the Hilltoppers for 11 points in Bowl Mania.

If you’d like to read more about this game, you can check out my article I wrote earlier today.

My Pick: 33-28 Western Kentucky

Remember, if you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. Or you can like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two games before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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