Bowl Outlook: Pizza Bowl Licking Its Crust

The belief here is that if they can get to 6-5 heading into the Penn State game, Mark Hollis and his outstanding staff will work the back rooms to get the date in Tempe, prior to that game being played, foregoing a possible bid to the Champs in return.

What would officials for the inaugural Little Caesars Pizza Bowl do if they have their choice between either Michigan or Michigan State for the their December game?

Bowl director George Perles might be faced with just that choice as both schools lost their games Saturday and find their postseason hopes in a precarious position.

Michigan State, at 4-5 is in danger of missing a bowl altogether with three games left against pass happy Western Michigan, Purdue and perennial power Penn State.

The Spartans have lost five games by eight points or less and have had very little success stopping teams who put the ball in the air, something that Western, emboldened by Central Michigan's win over MSU, will certainly do.

MSU must win two of the three to even become bowl eligible, something that seems very iffy, but possible. Sweeping all three would earn them a trip to Orlando for the Champs Sports Bowl ahead of a 7-5 Minnesota on the strength of a win over Penn State, but other factors are in play.

Michigan was crushed by Illinois and old nemesis Isaiah "Juice" Williams who rushed for over 90 yards and threw two TD passes to lead the Illini to their first conference win and just their second overall of the season, 38-13 over the Wolverines. Reeling UM has lost two straight.

UM needs to beat Purdue next week at home because a road trip to Wisconsin and a date with Ohio State in Ann Arbor doesn't look like either would produce a win.

If UM gets its six win, they could likely produce a sellout against any opponent in downtown Detroit. Little Caesar's would welcome the Wolverines at 6-6.

At 7-5 UM would likely head to Tempe, AZ for the Insight bowl. In fact, some team is likely to get the Insight bowl at 6-6.

The bowl race shakes out this way at present:

Rose: Iowa 11-1
Capital One: Penn State 10-2
Outback: Ohio State 10-2
Alamo: Wisconsin 10-2
Champs: Minnesota 7-5
Insight: Michigan State 6-6
Little Caesars: Michigan 6-6
At Large: Northwestern 6-6

Not likely to be eligible; Illinois and Purdue with six losses respectively and Indiana, with five losses, needs an upset over either Wisconsin or Penn State.

The determining factor is which 6-6 team gets the preferred bid to the Insight.com bowl in Arizona is likely to be who travels the best.

Both Michigan State and Michigan alumni support their teams on the road and this could very well flip-flop because of former Spartans coach George Perles presence atop the Little Caesar's bowl administration.

But MSU did an impressive lobbying job to get out of the Motor City bowl and into the Champs Sports Bowl two years ago. The belief here is that if they can get to 6-5 heading into the Penn State game, Mark Hollis and his outstanding staff will work the back rooms to get the date in Tempe, prior to that game being played, foregoing a possible bid to the Champs in return.

Reputations and bowl prestige are on the line. Both are prime factors in which destinations that late deciding recruiting prospects' decisions. Don't expect any of the coaches of any of these teams that are still in the hunt for bowl bids to let their teams quit.


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