Present Iteration: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Past Iterations: Motor City Bowl, Ford Motor City Bowl
Toasting Town: Detroit, Michigan
Combatants: Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Holiday Equivalent: Trip With Relatives to Boring Local Museum
If you’re watching this game, you gambled on it. If you gambled on it, you’re a degenerate. A MAC team capable of punching above its weight. A Big Ten team susceptible to a good punch. Both teams within driving distance. This is the perfect Little Caesars Bowl. Buckle your seat belts.
Western Michigan Broncos [SRS 65]
Best Wins: Connecticut (73), Miami of Ohio (84)
Losses: at Michigan (9), at Toledo (31), at Illinois (53), at Northern Illinois, at Eastern Michigan (105)
Famous Alum: Tim Allen
The Broncos beat Connecticut on the road, lost by field goals to Toledo and Illinois and gave Michigan fits for a half. They have a Top 25 quarterback, Alex Carder, and a stable of good wide receivers. The best is Jordan White who led the nation in receptions per game (10.6), yards per game (137.2) and was second in touchdown receptions (16). Look for them to press that advantage with four and five-receiver sets and to use quick routes to diffuse Purdue’s pass rush.
Purdue Boilermakers [SRS 71]
Best Wins: Ohio State (34), Illinois (53)
Losses: at Wisconsin (7), at Michigan (9), Notre Dame (17), at Penn State (29), Iowa (36) at Rice (102)
Famous Alum: Ted Allen
Purdue is looking for its first winning season since 2007, when the Boilermakers beat Central Michigan 51-48 in this same bowl game. It has been an exciting few years. Even without Ralph Bolden, their running game should have success. Their pair of Akeems, Shavers and Hunt, have had success in spots. They can also run the read option with Caleb Turbush. Western Michigan is 118th in the nation in yards allowed per carry.
Key: Ricardo Allen covering Jordan White. This game should be close, decided, perhaps, by one big play. It is probable one of those two will be the one that makes it.
For Recreational Purposes: Western Michigan (+2)
[Photo via Getty]