Several sports Web sites have made predictions on whom Akron will play in the Motor City Bowl. The game has a "tie-in" for the seventh-best Big 10 school and the MAC Champion. Four Big 10 teams are tied with seven wins. Minnesota, however, likely is the conference's worst seven-win team. The Golden Gophers are 4-4 in conference play, while Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern are 5-3.
Only once in the bowl's eight-year history has a Big 10 team participated. While I'd love to see the Zips tested against a Big 10 school, media outlets are saying it won't happen because Ohio State and Penn State won't use one of the conferences seven tie-ins if they both are accepted to BCS bowls.
Media outlets disagree on what team will slide into the Big 10's spot. CBSSports.com predicts it will be New Mexico. ESPN.com predicts it could be Houston or Memphis. An AP story from Albuqueque acknowledges New Mexico's chances and brings in the possibility of Connecticut and Louisiana Tech. A story on FoxSports.com says it could be Memphis or New Mexico.
Zips fans should hope Akron plays the biggest-name team possible. Assuming Minnesota goes to a better bowl, that is probably New Mexico - a team that averages 38,000 in home attendance.
Everyone seems to think Penn State will play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl and Ohio State will play Charlie Weis' Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl. If OSU gets stiffed, a Minnesota/Akron bowl game will be most likely.
The game versus Maryland starts Saturday at 1 p.m. I don't know of any TV coverage. However, the game will be on radio (1350 AM).
If the Zips win, the Final Four should be televised on ESPN or ESPN2. Of course, I'm sure you Zips fans will make the trip (like I will) to North Carolina for the national semifinals.