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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Preview: TCU, Michigan State Will Not Bring the Points

Both the Horned Frogs and Sparty have great defenses. Their offenses? They both have great defenses


Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Why it exists: Do you really think any college football fan is going to Buffalo Wild Wings based on their commercials?

The teams: TCU and Michigan State

How TCU got here: As a defense-minded team in an offense-minded league. The Horned Frogs are at the top of the rankings in most defensive categories in their first season in the Big 12, but near the bottom of most of the offensive categories. That and a relatively cushy nonconference schedule (Grambling, Virgina, at SMU) will get you seven wins even if you do something crazy like lose to Iowa State at home. There are, as you might imagine, not very many offensive starts for TCU. But here are a couple of defensive names for you to watch: Jason Verrett, who has six picks and 14 other pass break-ups, and Devonte Fields, who leads the team with nine sacks.

How Michigan State got here: Despite one of the worst offenses in the B1G, which is saying something. Sparty ranks 89th in the FBS in total offense and 107th in scoring offense. Le'Veon Bell, who runs for 137.3 yards a game, is still one of the best running backs in the country -- but there's really not that much else to back him up. They do kick a lot of field goals -- Dan Conroy leads the B1G in field goals. (This is not unimportant; I believe it's one of the divisional tiebreakers in the B1G, but they just didn't get that far this year.) That said, State ranks in the Top 10 nationwide in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, passing efficiency defense and passing yardage defense. Their resume is not incredibly impressive either -- it includes two directional Michigans -- but at least they beat eventual B1G Champion Wisconsin.

College football fans care because: This is it until Monday.

SEC fans care because: This is as much defense as you're going to find in a non-SEC bowl game.

Watch this game if...: You're still awake and don't need that much help to stay that way

cocknfire's pick: TCU 15, Michigan State 10

Line: TCU by 1.5