Three Big Ten teams play bowl games

Big Ten fans can settle in for a long day of bowl games on Thursday. 

There are four bowl games scheduled for Thursday and the final three all include a Big Ten team. It’ll be a big day for conference pride. 

The first game of the Big Ten tripleheader is Tennessee vs. Purdue in the Music City Bowl. The Volunteers are 7.5-point favorites at BetMGM in what should feel like a home game. Then Michigan State is a 3-point favorite over Pitt in the Peach Bowl, and Wisconsin is a 6.5-point favorite over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

Purdue pulled off some big upsets this season and won four of their last five, but it’ll be a challenge against a Tennessee team that is looking to cap a successful first season under new coach Josh Heupel. It’s hard to take Purdue knowing most of the crowd in Nashville will be wearing orange. 

The Michigan State-Pitt game is more notable for who won’t be playing. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III finished sixth. Both have opted out. While it’s in their best interests to avoid injury and get ready for the NFL draft, it takes a lot of wind out of this game. Michigan State is probably better suited to replace a running back than Pitt will be moving on from an excellent quarterback, and the Spartans seem like the right side. 

Wisconsin had a weird season, starting terribly, getting in Big Ten West contention and then falling flat in the season finale against Minnesota to let Iowa win the division. Still, Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst is 5-1 in bowl games at the school, a sign that his program values winning these games. Arizona State will be quite shorthanded due to opt-outs. Wisconsin is the right side at less than a touchdown. 

The Big Ten has bigger games upcoming this bowl season. But Thursday will…

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