Bold B1G Bowl Predictions
Anybody can fill out a confidence pool and throw out some random predictions.
Instead of doing that, I took a deeper look at each B1G bowl matchup and decided to go out on a bit of a limb.
Here are some bold B1G bowl predictions for each postseason game.
1. Northwestern wins — The No. 13 team beats the No. 23 team. So bold, right? Well, Tennessee is an 8.5-point favorite against Northwestern because SEC. I don’t think Northwestern hits 21 points, but I think the nation gets a swift reminder of the defense that held high-powered Stanford to six points.
2. Tommy Armstrong passes for more yards than Josh Rosen — I know, Nebraska is one of the worst pass defenses in the country. But this actually isn’t as bold as it might sound. This is more about game flow than anything else. I think the true freshman outplays the Nebraska signal-caller, but I think the Bruins jump out to an early lead and force the Huskers to play catch-up. A couple of Armstrong turnovers give Rosen and Co. shorter fields to work with, and ultimately score.
3. Minnesota doubles six-point spread — The Gophers beat two MAC schools by three points this year, so this is actually saying something. Minnesota is finally healthy again, which they weren’t for most of the B1G season. I don’t think the Gophers blow out Central Michigan, but I think Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Co. flip the field consistently and fuel a rare comfortable win for Minnesota.
4. Indiana sets Pinstripe Bowl scoring record — The mark for the Hoosiers to break is 38 points. Many might not realize that IU actually had the B1G’s most prolific offense, which averaged 41 points in its final six games. Nate Sudfeld has the ability to pick apart a Duke secondary that won’t have All-American safety Jeremy Cash. Even though it might be the coldest bowl venue, IU can heat up in a hurry, with or without Jordan Howard.
5. Christian Hackenberg announces NFL decision immediately after bowl — Win or lose, I think Hackenberg is tired of dealing with the talk about his pending decision. Without another game to look at, I think we finally learn one way or another which side he’s leaning. Hackenberg isn’t exactly an open book in postgame pressers, so this would come as a bit of a surprise. Either way, it comes out.
6. Wisconsin, USC combine for 500 rushing yards — Against Wisconsin’s almighty run defense, how could that happen? Well, I think the Badgers’ attention will be on Cody Kessler and the USC passing attack. I also think Wisconsin gets Corey Clement back — with less pressure and distractions — and he looks like the playmaker that torched Rutgers for three touchdowns.
7. Florida doesn’t reach double digit points — The Gators boast one of the worst offenses of any Power Five team. Treon Harris wasn’t ready to be put in charge of the Florida offense, and in the last month of the season, it showed. Even without D.J. Durkin, I think the Michigan defense stuffs any attempt at a passing game. Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers — assuming he plays — have a field day and Michigan adds to the Gators’ offensive frustration.
8. Ezekiel Elliott DOESN’T lead Ohio State in rushing — Because J.T. Barrett does. Notre Dame is loaded defensively, but mobile quarterbacks gave the Irish defense problems in the regular season. You can bet that Urban Meyer is breaking down the tape from the Navy game, which saw Keenan Reynolds lead an attack that accounted for 318 yards on the ground. With the Irish set on shutting down the B1G Offensive Player of the Year, Barrett gives the Buckeyes a Michigan-like effort to jump-start the offense.
9. Iowa holds Christian McCaffrey to less than 110 yards from scrimmage — When was the last time the Heisman Trophy runner-up was held under that number? Against Northwestern in the season opener. Iowa will sell out to stop McCaffrey, which will obviously still be a challenge for a group of solid open-field tacklers. But I think Kevin Hogan ends up doing more of the damage for the Cardinal.
10. Alabama never gets a two-possession lead — Despite the claims of some — like Clay Travis — Alabama will not destroy the Spartans. No Mark Dantonio-coached team ever shows up unprepared, especially with a month to draw up a game-plan. I think this looks like the heavyweight fight we’re all hoping for. There will be no knockout punch delivered until the closing minutes of this one.