You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Check out local connections and pick winners for the New Year's Day college football bowl games

By Pete Cunningham

With the New Year comes the best day of the college football bowl season. In addition to Michigan's matchup against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, there are five other bowl games being played, all of which have connections to the area.

Check out the local connections to the New Year's Day bowl games and make predictions by filling out the form below. Is there a connection we missed? Fill in the blank in the form and get a bonus point toward your picks total. Those with the best record will be recognized on on Wednesday, when a similar article will come out about the final six games of the bowl season.

Congratulations John VanBlack Ypsilanti and Robert Hehr of Saline, both of whom had identical 16-7 picks records in the pre-New Year's Day Bowls.

You'll get a head start on your New Year's Day Bowl picks, check back on Wednesday to see local connections to the final six bowl games of the season and make picks for those games as well.


Former Skyline player Jordan Woods, above, is a freshman wide receiver for Purdue

What: Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Who: Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas.
When/coverage: Tuesday, Jan. 1, noon.
Local connection: Former Skyline High School star Jordan Woods is a freshman wide receiver for the Boilermakers. Woods had 45 receptions for 1,163 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior for Skyline in 2011. He will be redshirted after not seeing the field for Purdue as a freshman. Gator Bowl.
Who: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)
Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville. Fla.
When/coverage: Tuesday, Jan. 1, noon, ESPN2
Local connection: Northwestern defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz is a Michigan native and earned three varsity letters at Michigan from 1967-69. He started for Michigan's 1969 Big Ten championship squad that played in the Rose Bowl. Hankwitz began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan under Bo Schembechler (1970-72)and during his time in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines won two Big Ten titles had a 30-3 record, three top-10 national rankings and a 1971 Rose Bowl appearance.

What: Capital One Bowl.
Who: Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3).
Where: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
When/coverage: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ABC.
Local connection: Nebraska freshman defensive back LeRoy Alexander played at Toledo Whitmer High School under current Saline High School coach Joe Palka. Alexander was teammates with Palka's son, Tyler Palka, and Michigan defensive end Chris Wormley. Nebraska junior fullback Mike Marrow spent the 2010 season at Eastern Michigan, though he never played having transferred from Alabama. Marrow transferred to Nebraska before the 2011 season.

What: Rose Bowl.
Who: Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2).
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
When/coverage: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 5 p.m.
Local connection: Stanford special teams coordinator Pete Alamar was the offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan for three seasons from 2000-02.

Thumbnail image for tripodi-chelsea.jpg

Chelsea High School alumnus Joe Tripodi, above, is the offensive line coach for Northern Illinois.

What: Discover Orange Bowl.
Who: Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2).
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami.
When/coverage: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m.
Local connection: Chelsea High School graduate Joe Tripodi was recently named the offensive line coach for Northern Illinois. Tripodi has been a graduate assistant for the Huskies for the past three seasons. The Orange Bowl will be Tripodi's first game as a full-time assistant after being promoted when dave Doreon left Northern Illinois to take the North Carolina State job. Tripodi was an all-state football player and track athlete at Chelsea High School and coached defensive line for Bulldogs during the 2008-09 seasons.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.