Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
Minnesota is a 5 win Bowl team this year, led by interim-turned 3 year signed HC Tracy Claeys. This game is a somewhat intriguing matchup between a P5 and G5 school. CMU has thrown the ball successfully against teams with comparable pass defenses to MINN's. The same can be said for MINN versus CMU's pass defense. I think the key match up here is Minnesota's run offense versus CMU's defense. MINN in the B1G has faced a really tough schedule of defenses this year, the majority of them with better run defenses than CMU has. MINN has run the ball very well against teams with average and below run defenses, which is is where CMU ranks at 71st. As such I expect MINN to get things going on the ground, which will open things up for their passing game. The MINN offense ended the season positively trending at +42% on both the run and pass. Their reward for this? Newly minted HC Claeys fired the OC and QB coaches. That sounds like a douchey maneuver and makes me wonder if personal feuds were involved here. At the same time as their offense was improving their defense was trending down at even higher negative rate. Expect CMU to pass a lot in this game, as they are already one of the highest pass % teams in the FBS as it is. Their offense was trending up at season's end as well. I think the coaching turnover for MINN penalizes them at least a couple of points against the line, and the subconscious shame of being a 5 win Bowl team might not inspire them to greatness in this game either. Still, it's always hard to handicap psychology, and as such I'm passing on this game.