Games We’re Watching – Week 13
A number of games with sizeable Texas Bowl implications will take place across the Big 12 and Big Ten tomorrow. Here’s a quick look at the games we’re watching and the effects they could have as we approach Selection Sunday, just over two weeks away.
Michigan (7-3) @ Iowa (6-4) –
We’ll be making the trip to Iowa City to watch these two potential Texas Bowl teams square off at Kinnick Stadium. The Wolverines survived a double overtime scare in Evanston last week, somehow rushing their field goal team onto the field in just 11 seconds in time to kick the game tying field goal before topping the Wildcats two overtimes later. The Hawkeyes had the weekend off after securing bowl eligibility with a win over Purdue on November 2nd. The Hawkeyes’ record is somewhat deceiving; their four losses are to teams with a combined 42-3 record (Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State).
Player(s) to watch: Iowa RB’s Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock: On what is looking to be a frigid, windy day in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes may look to establish the ground game early. A strong run game will have the added benefit of keeping the Michigan offense off of the field, something they’ll likely want to accomplish after Michigan QB Devin Gardner was able to lead the Wolverines to 513 yards of offense in a 42-13 blowout win last season. The Hawkeye run game got off to a strong start, running for over 200 yards in each of their first five games, but struggled over the second half of the season before gashing Purdue for 318 yards two weeks ago.
Bowl Implications: Both Michigan and Iowa remain in the realm of our projected selection, and this game could go a long way to deciding who makes it to Houston. The winner could play their way out of the game, however both teams could also end up in a potential logjam of four 7-5 & 8-4 teams at the back of the Big Ten that could go anywhere from the Outback Bowl to the Texas Bowl.
Other Notable Big 12 & Big Ten Games:
Oklahoma @ Kansas State: 11:00 AM Fox Sports 1 – Kansas State, who remain the favorite for the Big 12’s Texas Bowl spot, hosts #20 Oklahoma after the Sooners became the latest victim to the surging Baylor Bears last week.
#4 Baylor @ #10 Oklahoma State: 7:00 PM ABC – Should Oklahoma State pull off the upset, it could send two Big 12 teams to the BCS and leave us looking at-large for our Big Ten opponent. There’s sure to be a lot of scoring in this one so don’t miss the de-facto Big 12 Championship on ABC.
#19 Wisconsin @ #25 Minnesota: 2:30 PM ESPN – The Golden Gophers have enjoyed an incredible season under difficult circumstances and are looking to pull the upset against a Wisconsin team that boasts one of the most powerful running games in the country. A win by the surging Gophers may lock them in for their first spot in a New Years Day bowl game since the 1962 Rose Bowl.