One of the more intriguingly under the radar games this college football bowl season is the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. It’s a match-up of 6-6 (4-5 in the Big Ten) Michigan State and 8-4 (4-4 in the ACC) Wake Forest at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on December 27.
It kicks off at 3:20 p.m. eastern, and it will be televised by ESPN. Despite having a worse record, worse conference record and an overall massively disappointing season, the Spartans are still favored in this Big Ten/ACC Challenge being staged at the home of the New York Yankees, and it’s easy to understand why.
The Spartans are being priced most places about -3.5, with a total for the game set at about 50.5 or so. So when you look at college football predictions against the spread you can see that the bookies are expecting/predicting a Michigan State victory 27-24 on the day after Boxing Day. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two schools, and it features one side, Wake Forest, which has won its last three bowl games versus another side, MSU, which has emerged victorious in five of their last seven bowl appearances.
Adding to the intrigue in this one- it’s being staged in a cold weather climate, in a baseball stadium, on very historic grounds.
“Playing in New York for a bowl game will be a new experience for our program, and it should be a really fun atmosphere to be right in the city during the holiday season,” said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio of the upcoming Pinstripe Bowl.
“We’ll also have the chance to play in a unique venue in Yankee Stadium.”
“Every bowl trip we’ve had has been a tremendous experience for our players, and I’ve heard only great things about how the Yankees organization runs this entire event.”
Not many Michigan State fans are excited about their football team, and that’s easily understandable. They finished with their division this season and needed to win their last two, against the Big Ten East’s soft underbelly in order to back into a bowl game. And last year’s bowl appearance, a loss to Oregon in one of the ugliest, least watchable football games you’ll ever see, won’t fire anybody up.
So why are they favored over Dave Clawson’s team? Well, first of all, fifth in a rough and tough Big Ten East is superior to third in the weak ACC Atlantic division. Also, take a closer look at the Demon Deacons results this regular season.
They went 4-0 in the non-conference, but feasted on the likes of super weaklings like Rice, Presbyterian and Elon. No power five school should ever lose any of those games, and WF completed their out of conference slate with a three point win over Utah State.
The only elite team they played this season, Clemson, crushed them 52-3. The second strongest team, arguably, on their slate was Virginia Tech, and the Hokies won that game pretty comfortably. So that 8-4 is rather misleading, and the 6-6 Spartans are deservedly favored in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.