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Little Caesars Pizza Bowl 2012 picks and predictions

Heading into the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl 2012, most experts seem to like the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to defeat their opponent, the Central Michigan Chippewas. The game will be played Wednesday, December 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

On Wednesday, December 26, one of the more intriguing small-school match-ups of this bowl season will take place, when the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Central Michigan Chippewas get together in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit. The Hilltoppers finished 7-5 this season, while Central Michigan won their last three regular season games to get bowl eligible at 6-6.

With that, let's take a look at what some of college football's top experts are saying about this game. Please note that most predictions were placed prior to the announcement that Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart was leaving the school to coach at South Florida.

Here are the picks and predictions:

NBC Sports' John Tamanaha likes the Hilltoppers in this match-up, citing Western Kentucky's ability to run the ball against a Central Michigan defense which allowed over 43 points per game in their six defeats. Western Kentucky features running back Antonio Andrews, whose 1,609 yards rushing ranked him eighth in college football in 2012.

Over at CBS, five of six experts (not to mention the site's "prediction machine") selected the Hilltoppers as well. The only dissenting vote was senior college football columnist Bruce Feldman, who took the Chippewas.

Meanwhile, ESPN Insider's Will Harris calls Central Michigan "the 2012 bowl season's weakest team" and took Western Kentucky to win 34-24.

This year's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.