Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Matchup: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Bowling Green Falcons
Date/Time: December 26th, 6:00 ET
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Odds from Bookmaker
Point Spread: Bowling Green -4.5
The Bowling Green Falcons won the MAC this season, and they have earned the right to play a second straight game here at Ford Field in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Their rivals the day after Christmas will be the Pittsburgh Panthers, who are trying to prove they are worthy of carrying the ACC banner in a bowl game.
Mediocrity has followed the Panthers for years, and that has followed them into the ACC this season. To Pittsburgh’s credit though, it did beat the Duke Blue Devils back before we knew that the Dookies were good, and it beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Syracuse Orange to boot. Two of those three wins were on the road as well. QB Tom Savage might not have had the best collegiate career in the world, but at least he is an experienced fighter at the QB position, and he is one of the leaders of this team. If WR Devin Street sits out of this game with his elbow injury, it would be a huge concern for sure. That would leave WR Tyler Boyd as the only truly excellent receiving option the team has. The running backs on this squad are great as well, and the defense was a lot sturdier than 27.2 points per game suggests. The club allowed 374.1 yards per game, ranking just 42nd in the land, and that’s probably a very good representation of what we can expect.
There aren’t many teams this year from the middling conferences which proved to be better than the Falcons this year, especially when you look at the total overall stats. Few can say that they ranked in the Top 30 in the land in total offense (472.5 yards per game, 23rd), scoring offense (35.4 PPG, 27th), total defense (308.7 yards per game allowed, eighth), and scoring defense (14.8 points per game, fifth). Granted, there were plenty of toss games in here against teams like the Massachusetts Minutemen, Akron Zips, and the likes, and there weren’t many fantastic games either. However, the MAC wasn’t a terrible conference at the top this year, and the win over the Northern Illinois Huskies is as good of a victory as any team has had in this conference this year. The issue? Head Coach Dave Clawson was hired by the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and he has already jettisoned many of his assistants to come with him to Winston-Salem. The assistants will all stay onboard for this bowl game, but it’s tough to imagine that the rest of the team is really all that excited to play for a bunch of coaches who are on their way out.
There is some history here between these teams because they aren’t separated by all that much real estate. Bowling Green pulled off the upset at Heinz Field back in 2008 in a game in which it only amassed 254 total yards of offense. The Panthers have covered and won their other two previous meetings in 1999 and 2000. Pitt has lost its last two bowl games by 22 and 21 points respectively, though both games were the BBVA Compass Bowl. This is at least a different location instead of going to Birmingham for three straight years. Bowling Green hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2004 GMAC Bowl against the Memphis Tigers.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.
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