Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Bowl Previews: Part IV

Part IV of our bowl previews. Part III was yesterday.

#26: Capitol One Bowl (January 1, 2011)
Alabama Crimson Tide (9-3, 5-3 SEC) vs. Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten)
GUGS: 44.4

Eddie:  Not surprisingly, this year's BCS 11-1 screw job finds their way into the 26th most interesting game out of 35.  Oddly enough, they're underdogs.  (37) Michigan State has a decent offense at 28.4 +/- 17.3 PPH and a respectable defense at 4.6 +/- 17.0 PPH.  On the other hand, (4) Alabama is absolutely ferocious defensively, commanding a ridiculous 10.6 PPH advantage over the Spartans.  The Crimson Tide is also dramatically more efficient offsensively, sporting an 8.1 PPH advantage.  This game rolls in as the RBA lock of the bowl season.  Alabama wins, 34-17, with 86.1% confidence.
Justin: For a New Year's Bowl that features two elite teams, GUGS thinks this is one worth skipping. Why? Put simply, (4) Alabama is much better than its record indicates -- they were 3 bad plays away from being up 42-7 on Auburn, remember? -- and the (35) Spartans aren't as good as their record indicates. Michigan State gives up 5.1 PPH on offense and 6.7 PPH on defense. TFG says that the Crimson Tide take this one in a walk, 36-26, with better than 5-out-of-6 chances that Alabama wins. You'd be hard-pressed to find another bowl game as lopsides as this, with perhaps the exception of ...

#25: Holiday Bowl (December 30, 2010)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, 6-2 Big XII) vs. Washington Huskies (6-6, 5-4 Pac-10)
GUGS: 45.0

Justin: .... this one. (12) Nebraska blew a huge lead in the Big XII title game and missed out on the Fiesta Bowl, meaning they play two days earlier against even lesser competition than UConn. For all the press that Jake Locker got, TFG has never thought too highly of him. Expect the Nebraska defense to, well, do what they did the first time these teams played this year. Everything about this game screams "mismatch", from Nebraska's 6.5 PPH advantage on offense to their 6.7 PPH advantage on defense. This will not be close, and there's no real reason we should be playing this game in the first place. Nebraska by 10+, with 85% confidence.
Eddie:  RBA agrees with Justin on this one.  (11) Nebraska is consistent on defense at 4.6 +/- 9.4 PPH.  Their offense is a little flaky, depending on who is playing quarterback, but otherwise acceptable at 32.4 +/- 20.2 PPH.  (51) Washington is neither of those things, sacrificing 7.7 PPH offensively and 10.0 PPH defensively.  This was a poor matchup dictated by too few bowl-eligible Pac-10 teams, and it will manifest in a 35-17 Nebraska victory with 74.6% confidence.

#24: Fiesta Bowl (January 1, 2011)
Connecticut Huskies (8-4, 5-2 Big East) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2 Big XII)
GUGS: 45.1

Eddie:  The Fiesta Bowl comes in as the first BCS game on the GUGS scale.  (9) Oklahoma outguns (40) UConn in pretty much every facet of the game.  Their offense holds a 10.8 PPH advantage over the Huskies. Their defense has a 4.7 PPH advantage.  Nothing about this game suggests its going to be competitive.  Oklahoma's tempo should only emphasize the disparity.  Oklahoma should pick up its first BCS win in a long while, 31-17, at 83.9% confidence over the helpless Huskies.
Justin: Once again the Big East sends a middling team to a BCS bowl under the guise of "the Big East Champions" (they've really got to stop doing that). But it looks like until TCU joins the Big East -- yes, I just typed that and, no, it's not a joke -- we get UConn/Oklahoma on New Year's Day. (49) UConn has an exceedingly average offense that clocks in at 18.2 PPH; this is unfortunate, since the (7) Sooners have the fifth-best defense in FBS, allowing only 11.1 PPH. Oklahoma combines that with an effective offense (23.1 PPH) but the real stand-out on their stat sheet is their speed. Oklahoma averages 183 plays per game, which has a tendency to wear down opponents. UConn plays slightly quicker than average, yet still doesn't crack the 170 plays-per-game mark. Expect the Sooners to quite literally run away with this one, 36-27, in a quick but ugly game.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(4)Alabama36 (35)Michigan St.26 84.6 (4)Alabama34 (37)Michigan St.17 86.1
(12)Nebraska36 (72)Washington26 85.2 (11)Nebraska35 (51)Washington17 74.5
(49)Connecticut27 (7)Oklahoma36 81.5 (40)Connecticut17 (9)Oklahoma31 83.8