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Little Caesars Pizza Bowl preview

Another game in the NCAA Bowl series previewed by James Jack, @materialista27. Read more of his work on his dedicated College Bowl site.

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Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Wednesday December 26th, 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers


The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (known as the Motor City Bowl until 2009) is played at 65,000 seat Ford Field in downtown Detroit. Ford played host to Super Bowl XL.

The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl features a team from the Mid-American Conference (the MAC Champions, although that team is not required to accept the bid; as this year the top 5 teams in the MAC have much better bowls to play in) playing a team from the Big Ten Conference. If the Big Ten does not have an eligible team, the game will feature a team from the Sun Belt that meets the NCAA requirement of at least six wins. In the event that the Sun Belt does not have an available team, an at-large team can be chosen. This year the Big Ten had 9 of 12 teams with a 6-6 or better record, however Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play due to their indiscretions. Last year Western Michigan and Purdue made for an entertaining game despite the poor quality of football on show. Let's hope we get a similar game this year.

Central Michigan finished with a 6-6 record, beating compass rivals Eastern Michigan, but they were downed 42-31 by a miserable Western Michigan side. Their 5 other losses were to teams going bowling this season, and despite only facing one ranked opponent in Northern Illinois, the Chippewas were embarrassed by an average of 20.6 points.

That said, it's kind of my duty to find some kind of positive about this game in general and this team in particular. That's a pretty tough job, but I suppose the fact that they rank 53rd in the nation in passing yards per game with 243.1 is just about the best we can do. Senior QB Ryan Ratcliff has thrown for over 2900 yards and 20 TDs and only 9 INTs, his favourite target appears to be wide receiver Titus Davis who burst out with 208 yards in that beating by Western Michigan. Despite those figures, the real only strength of this side is tailback Zurlon Tipton who's amassed nearly 1400 yards and 19 TDs this year, nearly 900 of those yards have come in the second half of the season along with 13 of the touchdowns. For as long as they can, Central Michigan will run the football.

Western Kentucky compiled a respectable 7-5 record in the Sun Belt, 3 of those defeats came at the hands of teams above them in the Sun Belt standings, and 1 more came in Tuscaloosa and the other, a disappointing loss to Florida Atlantic at home. What beggars belief is that when head coach Willie Taggart left a fortnight ago to join the University of South Florida, WKU went and hired former Arkansas Razorbacks coach and all-around scumbag Bobby Petrino. Anyways they are a slightly better football team than Central Michigan and for the second time in as many bowl games, we're on record watch. Running back Antonio Andrews will get plenty of opportunities with the ball as he makes a bid to set a single-season NCAA record for all-purpose yards. Andrews, who rushed for 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns, also has 957 return yards and 2,977 overall. The junior needs 274 yards to surpass Barry Sanders' mark of 3,250 from his 1988 Heisman Trophy winning season.

FOR CENTRAL MICHIGAN TO WIN

Keep the WKU defense guessing, they are a balanced if not entirely successful team, they have to make use of their rushing and passing attack to have any chance in this game, their own defense is pretty anemic and the Chippewas have to keep it off the field for as long as possible.

FOR WESTERN KENTUCKY TO WIN

Give the ball to Antonio Andrews, he's carried this team on his shoulders for the second half of the season, and if he can replicate that form in this game, the Toasttoppers can get the win which in same contrived and manufactured way will be accredited to All-American scumbag Bobby Petrino. That'd be very unfair on Lance Guidry, who has the type of record as a head coach that makes Roman Abramovich foam at the mouth. Guidry will have his charges fired up and ready to hit the ground running just like he did when in charge of Miami Ohio two years ago.

VERDICT

It's hard to get excited for this game, as both teams are pretty awful, and as such this probably the worst game I'll be previewing in this series.

ADVICE

Western Kentucky -6

Over 56.5 points

DRINKING GAME

Take 1 drink every time the team in the booth says Western Michigan or Central Kentucky/

Take 2 drinks when Antonio Andrews makes a 20 yard play.

Finish your drink when there is a subtle or otherwise reference to a motorcycle.

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