Now that we’ve gotten most of the boring bowl games out of the way, we can get to the good, juicy ones.
Today’s schedule gives us three ranked teams and a bowl between old foes. Let’s get into them:
#23 Pittsburgh vs Northwestern
2 PM, New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Who: Pitt RB James Conner, NW QB Clayton Thorson
What: Everyone knows and loves Pitt for a couple of reasons. One, they beat Clemson and two James Conner. After beating cancer, Conner has been back and playing for the Panthers all season, a true inspiration to all. Conner leads the team in rushing which is no surprise. The Panthers air game doesn’t seem to be their strong point despite QB having over 2k throwing yards. On the other side of the field, Northwestern has done damage in the past couple of years. While this year was shaky, this team is talented. QB Clayton Thorson has nearly 3k yards and his favorite target, Austin Carr, has almost 1,200 reviving yards. The trick to this game will be if Northwestern can keep up with the quick offense of Pittsburgh. The lucky side for Northwestern comes from the fact that Pitts defense has been awful against the pass game, second worst in the FBS to be exact. This game comes down to if Northwestern can score to keep up with Pittsburgh.
My Pick: Pittsburgh
#16 West Virginia vs Miami
5:30 PM, Russell Athletic Bowl
Who: WV QB Skyler Howard, Miami QB Brad Kaaya
What: This could be a huge game for Brad Kaaya. He needs only 310 yards to get to 10k on the all time list joining some elite ACC company. WV has other plans for Kaaya. With a powerful defense, the Mountaineers are looking to stuff Kaaya and keep the ball out of Ahmmon Richards hands. On the other side of the ball, the Mountaineers are also set on offense. With QB Howard playing as a RB, he’s a duel threat back there. Can the Miami defense hold him? WV is putting up around 240 yards per game, can they be stopped or is this a game full of Mountaineers in the end zone?
My Pick: West Virginia
#19 Utah vs Indiana
8:30 PM, Foster Farms Bowl
Who: Utah RB Joe Williams, Indiana QB Richard Lagow
What: “Sack Lake City” is coming for Indiana. With 40 sacks, Utah is dangerous on defense. Will star QB Lagow be able to handle it? Lagow is poised and controls his backfield well. With almost 3,200 yards this season, Lagow could end his career at Indiana with the single season passing record. Not only is his arm this teams key, but they also have a solid running game. So while Utah has that powerful defense, how will the offense hold up? Despite some inconsistencies in throwing, Utah has a solid ground game with Williams. Williams can pound through defenses but with Indiana and their 4-2-5 alignment, how will this play out?
My Pick: Utah
Texas A&M vs Kansas State
9 PM, Advocare V100 Texas Bowl
Who: A&M QB Trevor Knight, KS QB Jesse Ertz
What: If Kansas State can run the ball, this might be their game. If Texas A&M defense can create plays. this might be their game. So we’ve got the not very good defense of Texas A&M, against a mediocre Kansas State offense. How does this even play out? Well, Knight and the Aggies need to make plays. The offense needs to get ahead with a solid, balanced plan of attack. Knight has RB Treyvon Williams ready to attack on the ground. Kansas State has Ertz though. Their #1 QB and their #1 rusher. If Ertz can get through the Aggie defense, this could be his game to win. If the Aggie defense can get back to stopping the run game, they might shut down the Wildcats run game.
My Pick: Texas A&M