We are taking a look at the bowl games with the Big Ten. There are a few big ones on New Year’s Day. Find out how we think the Big Ten will fare in the next couple of weeks.
Friday, December 27, 2013: TEXAS BOWL
Minnesota (away) vs. Syracuse (home): Minnesota has had a terrific season so far and they’ve over achieved expectations making people realize the Gophers are for real. Their secondary is amongst the best in the country, and offensively they have balance in the air with QB Philip Nelson and on the ground rushing the football with David Cobb. Syracuse is in the ACC finished the season 6-6. The Orangemen QB Terrel Hunt has done a solid job managing football games this season passing for 1450 yards and 10 touchdowns. Syracuse RB Jerome Smith will be the biggest playmaker for the Orangemen leading his team with 11 touchdowns on the season. Minnesota is the better team, should’ve played in a bigger bowl game and will play pissed off. The Gophers should win this game by two or more touchdowns. #JYPREDICTION: Minnesota
Michigan (home) vs. Kansas State (away): Kansas State finished the season at 7-5 as they face a Michigan team who pushed Ohio State to its limit the final game of the regular season but failed on a two point conversion to defeat the Buckeyes, finishing the year 7-5. Michigan has new life, that’s what bowl games are about. A chance to play on a national stage and show pro scouts, even those from your conference what to expect next season. Wolverine QB Devin Gardner will the most talented player of the field, and hopefully he can lead his football team to victory. Gardner has been inconsistent this season, but he has a chance to make a statement against a solid Kansas State football team. Jake Waters leads Kansas State in passing yards throwing for 2,198 and 15 touchdowns on the year. He is complimented by RB John Hubert and duel threat QB Daniel Sams. This game means everything for Michigan in recruiting, confidence, and national prestige for next year. Wolverine head coach Brady Hoke will do a good job preparing his football team, but at the end of the day Michigan has to play to their potential. Show the fight and effort they gave against then #2 Ohio State. #JYPREDICTION: Michigan
Nebraska (home) vs. #22 Georgia (away): Ameer Abdullah have been pretty much unstoppable all season. Abdullah have rushed for 1568 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Nebraska sits at 8-4 because of their reliable running back who opens up so much for the offense. Defensively, the Corn Huskers have improved every game despite being so young. They work hard to make plays and the defensive unit of Nebraska is an aggressive bunch. Georgia who also finished the year 8-4 did suffer some key injuries throughout the season. Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray has played tremendous all season passing for 3,750 yards and 26 touchdowns. Georgia can put points on the board quickly, and with RB Todd Gurley it balances Georgia’s offensive attack. We have the Big Ten Conference trying to regain respect as one of the elite football Conferences in the nation, but they have to go through the SEC. If Nebraska can sack, and make Aaron Murray feel uncomfortable in the pocket, I will be a huge win for the Corn Huskers. I don’t think Georgia QB Aaron Murray will get his jersey too dirty against Nebraska. #JYPREDICTION: Georgia
Iowa (away) vs. #16 LSU (home): Iowa (8-4) goes up against a talented LSU (9-3) team with speed, playmakers, and a good QB in Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger, on the year, has passed for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Tigers have athletes on both sides of the football, but offensively their big time RB Jeremy Hill may be the best and most skillful player on this LSU football team. Hill has rushed for 1,185 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He has great hands catching the football out the backfield, protects well, and if you give Hill some space in the open field he will make things happen. Iowa is a physical football team who grinds out games and can wear you down. They have somewhat of a traditional football style that works because its intimidating, it keeps the Hawkeyes close in games, and QB Jake Rudock will find a way to pull out a win if he has the opportunity. This Hawkeye defense is stingy. Iowa defensively will not give up too many points, they hit hard, and the trust/chemistry each player has in the other person on the football field is amongst the best I’ve seen throughout the Big Ten season. Hawkeye FB Mark Weisman has had a great year, and his production on the field usually results in positive things for Iowa. I do believe Iowa has a chance to win this game, especially if they can force LSU to play at their pace. In the four losses Iowa have had, each of those teams got great production from their quarterback. I think LSU QB Zach Mettenberger will pull out the victory in a close game against the physical Hawkeyes. #JYPREDICTION: LSU
#19 Wisconsin (away) vs. #9 South Carolina (home): This will be one of the most exciting games in the entire bowl season to watch. As a player and competitor, this is one of those games that if you feel you are elite, you come out and show it against these kind of programs. The environment for this game will be insane, and the energy on the field will bring out the best in these players. Both Wisconsin (9-3) and South Carolina (10-2) have great coaches, tradition, and players who go to the NFL from these Universities understand what it takes to make it at the professional level. Wisconsin has played consistently well throughout the season. Earlier in the year, the Badgers were robbed against Arizona State but it didn’t stop this team from coming prepared to play every week. Badger QB Joel Stave received the Sports Invasion Big Ten Most Improved Player Award. Stave has gotten better each week as a passer, a leader, and his confidence in the pocket has improved since the first game of the season. Stave’s play has helped the talented running backs Melvin Gordon III and James White with the tremendous season each of them finished up with this year. Traditionally Wisconsin defense has always been good, and this year is no exception. On the other side of the field, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has future lottery pick in DE Jadeveon Clowney. Last year against the Big Ten, Clowney dominated Michigan in the bowl game and made NFL general managers drool over the possibility of this young man being apart of their franchise. The Gamecocks are led offensively by QB Connor Shaw who passed for 2135 yards and 21 touchdowns this year, Also RB Mike Davis who rushed for 1134 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wisconsin is a complete football team with players at every position who can get the job done. The Badgers pull out the win over South Carolina in an exciting game. #JYPREDICTION: Wisconsin
We will be posting previews of the BCS bowl games as they get closer. Be sure to tune in for my thoughts on the Rose Bowl and the Orange bowl!