Little Caesars Bowl – Pittsburgh Panthers vs Bowling Green Falcons
Date and Time: Thursday 12/26/13 at 6:00pm on ESPN
Game Line: Bowling Green -4 (from JustBet)
Saturday’s Little Caesars Bowl NCAA Football Analysis: After lighting up the scoreboard in the MAC Championship game, Bowling Green earned a trip back to Ford Field for the Little Caesars Bowl for the second year in a row. The Falcons will be playing for a school record tying 11th straight victory when they face Pittsburgh in Detroit with interim coach Adam Scheier calling the shots. Scheier replaces former coach Dave Clawson who took a job to coach Wake Forest. He was previously the teams special teams coach, Eastern Illinois’ Dino Babers will be taking over next year. Senior line backer turned quarterback Matt Johnson got the best of Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch as Bowling Green handed then number 16 Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game, 47-27. Johnson posted career highs with 393 passing yards and five touchdowns in Bowling Green’s fifth straight win. The Falcons rank fifth in the nation at 14.8 points per game allowed and they’re averaging 35.4, 27th in the country on offense. The Pitt Panthers posted signature wins over Notre Dame and Duke before dropping four of six games to end their first season in the ACC. They are lead by senior quarterback Tom Savage who has thrown for 2,834 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has been sacked an FBS-high 41 times this season and keeping him upright against a high level defense could prove a challenge. If they can keep him up right, receiver Tyler Boyd is fourth in the conference in receiving yards and broke Larry Fitzgerald’s freshman record of 77 receptions this season. Star defensive tack Aaron Donald, who is one of the best defensive linemen in the country will be a key factor for the Panthers on defense. He won 4 awards this off season and is the most decorated player in school history, a difference maker who will need to get to the quarterback if Pittsburgh is going to have success in this game. Despite his heroics, the Panthers are giving up 27 points per game, one of the worst in the ACC and against an offense that has improved every week this season they will need help to cover this spread and win this game.
Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green NCAA Football Picks: Bowling Green -4 and under 50
Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green Game Prediction: 27-20 Bowling Green
What to expect in the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl: If you haven’t gotten the chance to see the Bowling Green defense this season, they’re an elite squad and can shut down any offense in the country, especially a mediocre rushing attack like the one Pittsburgh features. Offensively, Bowling Green has steadily improved as the season went on with Johnson at quarterback and it is safe to assume he continued to practice and improve in the three weeks since the last time they played. Bowling Green is better than Pittsburgh on both sides of the ball and it will show in this game that won’t be as close as the final score.