Big Ten bowl capsules

  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 11:34 PM

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini

Gator Bowl

Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4)

11 a.m. today, ESPN2

Line: Georgia by 9

Nebraska wins if … the players rally behind embattled coach Bo Pelini, whose first five seasons each ended with four losses. Pelini’s squad has been decimated by injuries, but the young defense has made strides and will face a beat-up Georgia offense.

Nebraska loses if … the offense’s turnover troubles continue, especially with Taylor Martinez out, and Tommy Armstrong Jr. likely getting the start at quarterback. The Cornhuskers fell to Georgia 45-31 in last year’s Capital One Bowl.

 

Outback Bowl

Iowa (8-4) vs. LSU (9-3)

Noon today, ESPN

Line: LSU by 7 ½

Iowa wins if … the Hawkeyes’ underrated defense preys on true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, with Zach Mettenberger out because of a torn ACL. Iowa also needs to stop LSU’s talented running back, Jeremy Hill (1,185 yards, 14 touchdowns).

Iowa loses if … Jennings is as good as he looked leading a 99-yard touchdown drive to defeat Arkansas in LSU’s regular- season finale. The Hawkeyes went 4-1 in their final five regular-season games, but their offense isn’t built to win shootouts.

Capital One Bowl

Wisconsin (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2)

1 p.m. today, Ch. 5

Line: Wisconsin by 1 ½

Wisconsin wins if … the team’s 26 seniors refocus after a disappointing 31-24 loss to Penn State on Senior Day. A Badgers running attack, led by Melvin Gordon and James White, will be as tough as anything South Carolina faced in the SEC.

Wisconsin loses if … South Carolina’s monster defensive end Jadeveon Clowney helps the Gamecocks control the line of scrimmage, intensifying pressure on Wisconsin’s sophomore quarterback Joel Stave.

 

Rose Bowl

Michigan State (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-1)

4 p.m. today, ESPN

Line: Stanford by 6 ½

Michigan State wins if … sophomore quarterback Connor Cook makes big plays, as he did against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. Both teams have terrific defenses and strong running games, so Cook and Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan could be the difference.

Michigan State loses if … the Spartans can’t overcome Max Bullough’s suspension. The senior middle linebacker was a team captain and had started 40 consecutive games. The timing couldn’t be worse, facing a Stanford team that loves running between the tackles.

Orange Bowl

Ohio State (12-1) vs. Clemson (10-2)

7 p.m. Friday, ESPN

Line: Ohio State by 3

Ohio State wins if … the Buckeyes can slow Clemson’s passing game despite possibly not having cornerback Bradley Roby and top pass rusher Noah Spence. Otherwise Tahj Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant could have a field day.

Ohio State loses if … Clemson tightens up its suspect run defense against Carlos Hyde and the Buckeyes’ dynamic quarterback, Braxton Miller. The Tigers aren’t as talented defensively as Michigan State, but you can bet they’re studying that video.

JOE CHRISTENSEN

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