The Sweep

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With a bevy of explosive playmakers in the fold like Jeremy Maclin (above), Missouri's offense is a thing to behold.
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

Northwestern (9-3) vs. Missouri (9-4)
Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

 
Reason To Watch: When the Tigers' spread offense is clicking, they're as fun to watch as any team in the country. QB Chase Daniel, WR Jeremy Maclin, TE Chase Coffman and Co. combined to average 43.2 points per game this season. Northwestern's spread attack could put up points as well on a Missouri's porous defense (99th nationally).
 
Keep An Eye On: Northwestern DE Corey Wootton. The 6-foot-7 junior posted figures to follow in the footsteps of Luis Castillo as Northwestern's next NFL defensive lineman. His nine sacks pace a much-improved Wildcats defense that ranks 13th nationally with 33 sacks.
 
Sideline Prodigy: On Dec. 9, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald, the national defensive player of the year in 1995 and '96, became the youngest-ever inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame. At 34, he remains the youngest head coach in Division I-A, yet he has led the Wildcats to their first nine-win season since his own senior year.
 
Final Analysis: Northwestern's defense has been much improved this season but still lacks the overall athleticism of teams like Ohio State (which beat the Wildcats 45-10) and Michigan State (37-20). Missouri, with its abundance of elite skill players, figures to prove the oddsmakers smart in setting this as the biggest point-spread of any bowl.
 
The Pick: Missouri 41, Northwestern 20

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