The Pinstripe Bowl has not been around long, as this year's meeting between Michigan State and Wake Forest will mark only the 10th edition, but it's already become one of my favorite bowls. Part of the reason for this is that, of the first nine games, five have finished as one-score games, including two that have gone to overtime.
More than that, however, is just how different it all looks. During bowl season, a lot of stadiums begin to look the same, but that's never the case with the Pinstripe Bowl. Not only is it played in Yankee Stadium, but it's usually quite cold! It's always jarring to see teams dressed in layers on the sideline after spending the previous week watching teams having fun on the beach somewhere. Also, it's fun to follow along with reporters covering each of the teams playing as they come to grips with the fact Yankee Stadium has an outdoor press box.
It's sure to be a fun day in New York for football and we've got you covered at CBS Sports with the matchups and storylines to follow, as well as some expert picks both straight up and against the spread.
Michigan State: Michigan State has run into a rough stretch compared to its recent standards. This is a program that, from 2010 to 2017, won at least 10 games in a season six times. It's one of only two Big Ten teams to ever reach the College Football Playoff. Yet, after going 6-6 so far this season, the Spartans find themselves at 13-12 dating back to last season. The Spartans went 4-5 in Big Ten play, but it's not just the record, rather how they attained it. The four conference wins came against teams that went a combined 16-32. As for the five losses, the Spartans blew a 28-3 lead over Illinois, but that wasn't the most embarrassing loss. The other four came against Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan -- four programs who are supposed to be the best of the best in the Big Ten. This is a tier Michigan State had been a part of for most of the decade. That wasn't the case this season, as the Spartans not only lost all four of those games, but lost each by an average of 29.25 points.
Wake Forest: It's hard to deny that 2019 has been a successful season for Wake Forest. At 8-4, the Demon Deacons are a win away from their first nine-win season since 2007. They've gone 30-21 since 2016, which is a significant step forward for a program that hasn't had a ton of success in football since joining the ACC in 1953. Still, as good a season as it has been, it feels like it could have been better. The Deacons lost three of their final four games, and while nobody will hold losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech against them, a 39-30 loss to Syracuse to end the regular season stings. It's also a byproduct of the Deacs losing top receiver Sage Surratt to an injury. Surratt has missed the last three games, and will not play in the bowl. Still, this is a Wake Forest offense that moves fast and has plenty of talent.
Event: Pinstripe Bowl
Date: Friday, December 27 | Time: 3:20 p.m. ET
Location: Yankee Stadium -- Bronx, New York
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Pinstripe Bowl prediction, picks
It's hard to trust Michigan State as a favorite, even if this is a winnable matchup for the Spartans. Their offense has just been so inconsistent throughout the season, and you don't know which version shows up here. As a result, I think the safest play is to take Wake Forest and the points. Pick: Wake Forest (+4.5)
Who wins Michigan State vs. Wake Forest? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you should back, all from the seasoned expert who has hit six straight picks involving the Spartans.