I hate to say this about any game, but this should be the easiest bowl win for the entire conference. Frankly, with Minnesota’s horrific offense and porous defense, that is somewhat insulting to Iowa State fans. With stagnant offenses on both sides of the ball, this game will come down to field goals and punting, neither of which are areas where the Cyclones of Iowa State excel. I expect Minnesota to be able to get good field position and use that to kick plenty of field goals. Whoever has the most accurate kicker should win this game; wow, that is sad.
Minnesota 15, Iowa State 3
Somehow, these two teams ended up on the NFL Network. They will be televised at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 31.
Northwestern (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5) in the Outback Bowl
Two paragraphs and a poll later and I am still shocked that Northwestern is in the Outback Bowl despite Wisconsin’s better record. That said, however, I am happy with this match up for Northwestern. In the last 60+ years, the Wildcats have not won a bowl game, and it might finally be their time. The defense has played against the spread many times this season, which should help them against the Tigers. Their offense, though non-existent at points of the season, came through in the major games. Unless Auburn decides to play like they did against Alabama (unlikely), this game will probably be a decent win for Northwestern.
Northwestern 27, Auburn 17
This game will be televised on ESPN at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 1.
#13 Penn State (10-2) vs. #12 LSU (9-3)
This, frankly, is a hard game to predict. Both teams look good on paper, but both also have clear flaws. With the exception of LSU's accidental loss against Mississippi (seriously, that should not have been a loss), both teams look the exact same. They both had good offenses and defenses, until they came up against the best teams in their conference – at that point, they disappeared. If Penn State focuses on a running game, they should be able to beat the Tigers. However, if they are forced to throw the ball, the strong secondary of LSU should easily stop the Nittany Lions. I expect this one to be close, but baring a stupid mistake by Les Miles (likely), LSU should eke out a victory.