This year’s Little Caesars Bowl gives a look at two teams we don’t get to see often–Central Michigan and Western Kentucky–which can make things tougher on bettors, but have no fear, we’ve done the research for ya and we know who’s gonna take this one.
Central Michigan comes into the contest as a very middle-of-the-road type team. Not only did they go 6-6 (4-4 in the MAC conference), but they also rank near the middle of the nation in most offensive and defensive categories, including total yards (67th) and points scored (64th). The Chippewas are giving up more than 33 points per game, which will likely be too many to win a game against a bowl bound team such as Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers are appearing in their first ever bowl game since making the jump to the FBS in 2009, so they’ll certainly be hungry for a win, considering also that they did not receive a bid last year at 7-5. In the few short seasons in the big leagues, Western Kentucky has already constructed a potent offensive attack and has recruited plenty of weapons that they will be sure to unleash in a multitude of ways today.
Their versatility and balance (205.7 YPG passing, 186.2 YPG rushing) stems from their primary weapon, running back Antonio Andrews, who needs just 274 total yards today to break Barry Sanders’ NCAA record for a single season. Andrews has already piled up 1609 yards on the ground and nearly 1,000 on kick returns this season, accounting for nearly 3,000 in total. He’ll obviously be the focal point of the WKU attack again today and if not contained, such give the Hilltoppers plenty of scoring opportunities.
Central Michigan has its own superstar back in Zurlon Tipton, who has rushed for nearly 1,400 yards this season, averaging more than six yards per carry. So, it may come down to which team can control the ball and avoid turnovers, while executing their offense like they have all year.
Despite Central Michigan’s prowess in some areas, I think that team will be Western Kentucky. With experienced head coach Bobby Petrino at the helm and with a explosive offense in place, the Hilltoppers should be able to topple the Chippewas today. This may be WKU’s first bowl appearance, but expect them to make it count by covering -6 points in the win.