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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 2012 Odds: Frogs favored in defensive match-up

If the odds-makers are correct, TCU and Michigan State could bring football back fifty years when they face off in Phoenix.

Dave Reginek

TCU may be in the Big 12, but they are not of the conference, at least not yet.

That's the biggest take-away from the opening line of their matchup with Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (fantastic name, I know). While the Frogs are 2 point favorites, the big story is the over/under of only 41.5, a far cry from the 49-45 shoot-outs the conference has become known for.

The Spartans, like the Frogs, are built around their defense, as they've given up only 16.3 points a game.

However, their offense, despite two game-breakers and future high draft picks in RB Le'Veon Bell and TE Dion Sims, has struggled mightily to replace QB Kirk Cousins, who graduated last season. As a result, they come into the bowl game with a 6-6 record, with five of those losses coming by a combined 13 points.

With Gary Patterson turning to a far more conservative offensive game-plan in the wake of QB Casey Pachall's departure, this game could be decided by which team wins the turnover margin and gives their offense a short field. Neither one has given any indication they'll be able to consistently move the chains against a top-flight BCS caliber defense, which both Michigan State and TCU have.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.